Class is permanent: A proper centre-forward. In the era when Norman Hunter would bite your legs, Big Joe would give you a nasty suck. He was so irredeemably Scottish that his dental work was a national heritage site. He played with big clubs – Leeds United, Manchester United, AC Milan and, er, Morton – and was an important player for each of them. He will be remembered most fondly, however, for his exploits on national duty. The handball incident against Wales that led to qualification for the 1978 World Cup is still a matter of some mystery, at least according to Joe who has never spoken about whether it was him who handled the ball rather than Dave Jones. He also, wondrously, scored the goal against Czechoslovakia in 1973 that meant Scotland qualified for a World Cup for the first time in 16 years.
View from the terracing: He is like Jaws, though obviously much more threatening.
29. Pat Crerand 1939-
Show me your medals: With Manchester United won two league titles, the FA Cup and European Cup. Capped 16 times.
Class is permanent: Left Celtic after a fall-out, though Paddy in a tizz would have fallen out with the Dalai Lama. He was as strong in his opinions as he was in the tackle but his greatest attribute was his passing. In a Manchester United side that glittered with genius, Crerand was the orchestrator. In the old right-half position, he set the tempo for United play and was never shy about coming to the rescue if the talents of George Best, for example, were being threatened by a psychopathic full-back. He was gently teased over his lack of pace but his speed of thought and accuracy of pass, especially over long distances, was more than an adequate compensation. A real player.
View from the terracing: We are going for man-for-man marking. Paddy, you take the snail.
28. Richard Gough 1962-
Show me your medals: Won championship with Dundee United; nine titles, three Scottish Cups and six League Cups with Rangers. 61 caps.
Class is permanent: A perennial winner, he was the leader of the Rangers nine-a-row team. His Scotland ambitions ended after a row with Andy Roxburgh but he enjoyed an extended career. He was powerful in the air, quick and decisive on the ground and relished the physical battles. He was the chief organiser of "the team that drinks together, wins together" ethos that was so much part of that era but he was committed to an extraordinary level of fitness. Gough was a natural captain, a skilful defender and an inveterate winner. Formed by Jim McLean at Dundee United, emboldened by Tottenham Hotspur, he found a natural home at Ibrox.
View from the terracing: Haw, Goughie. Only Rab C is allowed to wear a bandage on his napper in Govan.
27. Alex McLeish 1959-
Show me your medals: Won European Cup Winners' Cup and European Super Cup, three Scottish titles, five Scottish Cups and two League Cups. Played for Scotland 77 times.
Class is permanent: The granite pillars on which Fergie's Aberdeen side was built were Big Eck and Willie Miller. They not only demonstrated a keen defensive soundness but both were the personification of a distilled will to win. McLeish was a dominant centre-half whose nose was the biggest indication of how he earned his living. He was, though, sound on the ground and his anticipation was under-rated simply because it was compared to that of his defensive partner. He was also capable of scoring goals, with a delicate chip in a cup final against Rangers being perhaps the most memorable. Central to Aberdeen's setpieces, whether defensively or in attack. An outstanding defender, too, for Scotland.
View from the terracing: He's got a coupon like a City Bakeries Hallowe'en cake.
26. Willie Bauld 1927-1977
Show me your medals: With Hearts, he won a title, a Scottish Cup and two League Cups. Earned three caps.
Class is permanent: Bauld deserves his place for his singular ability but he is also exalted because of his close association with Jimmy Wardhaugh and Alfie Conn. Distressed Hearts fans can take this recognition for all three. Bauld was a prolific goalscorer, notching 355 in 510 matches for Hearts. Although only standing 5ft 8in, he was outstanding in the air and linked to lethal effect with the other members of The Terrible Trio. He joined Hearts from Musselburgh Athletic and started with a hat trick against East Fife in 1948. Bauld was known as the King of Hearts and his reign stretched until 1962.
View from the terracing: One of the greats whose reward was to keep the club safe for Vladimir.
25. George Young 1922-1997
Show me your medals: With Rangers six titles, four Scottish Cups, two League Cups. Won 53 caps.
Class is permanent: The influence of Georgie Young was so all-encompassing that he was believed to be the man who picked the national team. If so, he decided that he knew who should be first man to earn 50 caps for Scotland. And that would be George Young. His build and face suggested that he was a centre-half, though he also played at right-back to accommodate Willie Woodburn. He was rarely mistaken for an interior designer. He was strong but also skilful and served his club in 428 matches becoming an integral part of the Iron Curtain defence. An inspiring leader for both club and country, spending his career with Rangers from 1941-1957.
View from the terracing: Haw, George, any chance of a game for Scotland?
24. Gordon Strachan 1957-
Show me your medals: With Aberdeen, two titles, three Scottish Cups, the European Cup-Winners' Cup and European Super Cup; one FA Cup with Manchester United; won second and first division championships with Leeds United
Class is permanent: A player of extraordinary energy and under-rated craft, he was both the beating heart of Fergie's Aberdeen and the sage head of Howard Wilkinson's double title-winning Leeds side. Strachan originally auditioned for the role of fiery-headed winger but his game grew and he became a midfielder of substantial influence. He was a leading member of that Fergie band who relished coming to Glasgow to defeat the Old Firm. Strachan could run, shoot, dribble and pass but he had that indomitable will that is the requisite of the top player. Alternately emotional and thoughtful, he could be a mesmerising presence on a football field.
View from the terracing: Ladders for Gordon. He wants to scale a hoarding.
23. Ian St John 1938-
Show me your medals: With Liverpool he won two first division titles, one second division, one FA Cup. Earned 21 caps.
Class is permanent: The Motherwell forward was one of the first Scottish pillars of the Shankly revolution. He had the nous of a creative midfielder and the predatory instincts of a natural striker. St John lost his father at a young age and his self-reliance as a character helped him rise to the very top as a young man. He formed a strong bond with Bill Shankly to their mutual benefit. St John's diving header that won the FA Cup against Leeds in 1965 was a defining moment for the Liverpool side as it was the first time the trophy had been brought back to Anfield. Conspicuous, persistent success followed and St John was central to that.
View from the terracing: Jesus Saves. But St John scores the rebound.
22. Alan Hansen 1955-
Show me your medals: Won first division championship with Partick Thistle; at Liverpool won three European Cups, eight league titles and two FA Cups. Played 26 times for Scotland.
Class is permanent: Another prominent member of Clan Liverpool. He was a stylish centre-back who was capable of bringing the ball from defence but who did not shirk the more physical duties. His style was relaxed but his focus was strong and unrelenting and took him from Sauchie to the pinnacle of European football. With Kenny Dalglish and Graeme Souness, he was part of a Liverpool dressing-room that ensured one had to be a character to survive. Liverpool created a dynasty of success with King Kenny and Souness, the Prince of Darkness. Hansen was the thoughtful adviser to this court and a resilient defender of its rights. Crucial to a period of extraordinary success.
View from the terracing: Have seen mair agitation in a koala bear with an under-active thyroid.
21. Willie Miller 1955-
Show me your medals: With Aberdeen, European Cup-Winners' Cup and European Super Cup, three titles, four Scottish Cups and a League Cup. Won 65 caps.
Class is permanent: Miller-McLeish were a defence team that made Perry Mason look incompetent. Miller, too, was prone to the odd cross cross-examination of a match official and successfully argued his case with words and deeds. The defender was also the master of intervention, the exemplar of the well-timed tackle. The softest thing about him, too, was his teeth. His galvanised will and his resilience in the front line led Aberdeen to a period of dominance that was extraordinary. Miller was part of a side that neutered the Old Firm. This was all the more spectacular given that Miller was a Glasgow boy who fancied a career as a striker. The paradigm of a club legend.
View from the terracing: Haw, Wullie have you bumped into Alan Hansen recently?
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