Grand Slammers recognised in Greatest Team, while Heriot's exciting seventies full back is The Herald readers' favourite

Greatest Team (sponsor Lloyds TSB Scotland)

15 Gavin Hastings

14 Arthur Smith

13 G P S McPherson

12 Jim Renwick

11 Andy Irvine

10 John


9 Gary


8 Peter


7 Douglas Elliot

6 John Jeffrey

5 Alastair McHarg

4 Gordon Brown

3 Iain Milne

2 Colin Deans

1 Ian McLauchlan

Greatest Player (Lloyds TSB) Andy Irvine

Greatest Try (Aon Ltd) Jim Calder

Greatest Coach (Stortext (UK) Ltd)

Ian McGeechan

Lifetime award (Lloyds TSB) Jim Telfer

Spirit of Rugby (Famous Grouse)

Bill McLaren

Unsung hero (Harmony Recruitment and Development Ltd) Alex Hastie

Attacker (PJMP Architects)

G P S McPherson

Defender (Scottish Rugby)

Scott Hastings

Kicker (Aitken & Niven) Peter Dods

Bravery award (Xansa)

Sandy Carmichael

Greatest captain (Lloyds TSB) Peter Brown (pictured)

Inspiration to a rugby generation and perhaps even to an entire nation, Andy Irvine, Scottish rugby's first acknowledged ''superstar'', was named last night as his country's Greatest Ever Rugby Player at the Lloyds TSB Murrayfield Legends ceremony at Holyrood Palace.

At a glittering affair attended by Scotland greats past and present, Irvine was presented with a magnificent replica of the Calcutta Cup by the Princess Royal in front of more than 1000 guests.

Over recent weeks, some 80 names have been nominated in The Herald by a panel assembled to supervise the awards for consideration and many thousands of votes cast by readers.

Reader power was the decisive factor in Irvine missing out on selection in his preferred position at full back in the Greatest Ever Team, Gavin Hastings picking up some 68% of the votes.

However, the man who became a household name as much for his astonishing performances as an amateur competing against professionals on BBC television's Superstars programmes in the seventies, was a clear choice as the Greatest Player.

Like Hastings, he is, among the very few Scottish rugby players who have become acknowledged worldwide, his performances with the Lions, as part of Willie John McBride's 1974 ''Invincibles'', who went unbeaten around South Africa and in New Zealand, earning him great acclaim in both those countries.

The regard in which Irvine was held by his team-mates was perhaps best summed up by the assessment of the late Gordon Brown, his compatriot in the Invincibles. ''There was always a philosophy of 'Get the ball to Andy','' Brown once told me of Scotland's approach to back play in the seventies.

Some may dispute his selection on the basis that Scotland never won so much as a Five Nations' Championship during his time. Irvine was on the bench when the 1984 Grand Slam was won, but played in none of the matches and Scotland went on to claim only their third Grand Slam six years later.

Yet how much inspiration he offered to the players who achieved both those triumphs, in particular the likes of David Johnston, Roger Baird and Keith Robertson in the 1984 team and the Hastings brothers, Tony Stanger and Iwan Tukalo in the 1990 team, can only be guessed at. For many Scots, his thrilling counter-attacking gave the sport a new dimension, as observed by Bill McLaren, the incomparable rugby broadcaster and a member of the Legends panel.

''Whenever Andy Irvine got the ball the commentary was lifted,'' he said. ''Sometimes he made your hair stand on end with the things he tried, but I like the kind of player who explodes when you don't expect him to, even if it is bound to backfire sometimes. To watch Andy Irvine play when you had witnessed games like the one in which there were 111 lineouts was wonderful.''

The team selection did, though, reflect the qualities which earned those Grand Slams, Colin Deans, Iain Milne and John Rutherford included from the 1984 side and John Jeffrey, Gary Armstrong and Gavin Hastings from the 1990 team.

Phil MacPherson, also selected as the Greatest Attacker, was the standard bearer for the 1925 Grand Slammers, while the efforts of Douglas Elliot and Arthur Smith as players and leaders during the troubled fifties, were recognised.

Given the difficulty the Brown brothers initially had in being selected for the same Scotland side, replacing one another in the starting line-up and during matches before eventually playing alongside one another, ''Broon frae Troon'' would have been delighted to know he was chosen in a team captained by big brother Peter.

He would, too, have been delighted to have been scrummaging behind Ian McLauchlan, and arm in arm with Alastair McHarg, yet another fellow Ayrshireman.

The fourth member of that outstanding front five of the seventies, Sandy Carmichael, was just edged out by Iain Milne. However, no-one could have been a more worthy recipient of the Gordon Brown Bravery Award than Broonie's former West of Scotland, Scotland and Lions team-mate.

The achievements of Scotland's greatest coaches, Ian McGeechan and Jim Telfer, were also celebrated, while the aforementioned McLaren discovered he had, as a panellist, overseen the selection of all categories bar one when he received the Spirit of Scotland Award, due acknowledgement of his efforts in promoting Scottish rugby across the globe.