It is a destiny that endures even as more tangible assets have thinned to the point where the one-time clamour of shipbuilding and steel-making has been reduced to a whisper.
Sir Alex Ferguson's retirement as manager of Manchester United serves as reminder that great Scots continue to be produced and still prosper in foreign fields. They do so by not only failing to lose the accent of their youth but by employing the best characteristics of their homeland and of the illustrious personalities it produces.
One of the joys of football is that the measurement of greatness is so imprecise.
The cups can be counted, the goals tallied but the definitive statements still owe more to personal feeling rather than to any statistic. It is what adds the energy to any football argument.
The debates rage on without a certain answer but it does not stop the fan from asking the question.
The candidates for the best manager in the world are as wide as planet football itself. Is Sir Alex Ferguson the best ever?