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It was a good weekend for a couple of Scottish footballers in Italy. Lewis Ferguson, the former Aberdeen midfielder, glanced in a trademark header for Bologna in Saturday evening's 2-2 draw with Salernitana, for his fourth goal in 21 Serie A games since departing Pittodrie for the Stadio Dall'Ara last year. Meanwhile, Lana Clelland chipped in with a goal of real quality as her Sassuolo side beat Sampdoria 3-0 a few hours prior to Ferguson's strike.

They are not the only Scots making a name for themselves in the country, though. It has also been a season of promise for Josh Doig, another who decided to swap Scotland for La Dolce Vita last summer. Doig has relished his first campaign at Verona where he has talked favourably about the quality of life, the football, and just generally how much he is enjoying the experience. The speed of his adaptation has brought interest from a number of Italy's top clubs with Inter Milan, Lazio and champions-elect Napoli all said to be interested in the left back.

The three aforementioned players will have their stories told – along with Christy Grimshaw, the AC Milan midfielder – in an SFA documentary, Forza Scozia, which airs tonight at 7pm on the Scottish National Team's YouTube channel.

There is one notable absentee from the programme, however, and that is Liam Henderson, the former Celtic midfielder who is now at Empoli after spells at Lecce, Verona and Bari – who seems to have failed to make the line-up by dint of the fact he no longer gets the call from Scotland despite winning caps all through the age groups.

Of course, Scottish footballing connections with Italy are not confined to a handful of present day players. Graeme Souness had a two-year spell at Sampdoria where he won an Italian Cup in a team that contained Roberto Mancini, Gianluca Vialli and Pietro Vierchowod while his fellow Scotland international Joe Jordan still recalls fondly his time at AC Milan.


It hasn't always been such a cosy relationship for Scottish footballers in Serie A, however. Denis Law spent the 1961/62 season at Torino where off-field issues created more headlines than his on-pitch prowess. It was a time when Italy was way ahead of British football in its attitudes to diet, training and looking after oneself properly. Many of the rigours that were entirely alien to the alcohol-dominated football environment that Law had come from.

He was joined in Turin by Joe Baker, the legendary Hibernian goalscorer. Born in Liverpool to a Scottish mother and an English father, Baker spent his childhood growing up in Motherwell. While he was English by birth, he was Scottish by nature and he proved to be a natural bedfellow for Law.

In more ways than one, it seems. Law and Baker would have a tempestuous experience during their short lived stay in Italy. Torino had lavished big money to sign Baker from Hibernian and Law from Manchester City and there was considerable expectation about what they might bring to a club that was still feeling the effects of the Superga air disaster which wiped out an entire team 12 years earlier.

Law started quickly, scoring four goals in his first six matches, but it was to prove a false dawn. The space on the pitch that both men liked to thrive in was curtailed by the Catenaccio system that was so prevalent in Serie A at the time. Law would score just six more goals for Torino in that league season while Baker – a prolific goalscorer at every club before and thereafter – registered a mere seven in 19 matches.

With the air heavy with anticipation, the Italian press watched Law and Baker's every move, which often involved socialising in the city's nightspots. The two men struggled with the constant intrusion and cameras pointed in their direction. One evening, Baker punched one of the paparazzi and the following day's papers were full of the pictures. Soon after, Baker wrecked his new Alfa Romeo sports car after a night of heavy drinking with Law and his brother Joseph. He almost killed himself and was so hysterical after thinking he had killed Law that he had to be sedated by the ambulance crew before they took him to hospital. Such were his injuries that he never played for Torino again and was sold to Arsenal later that summer. Law joined him in returning home to a club where he would have considerably greater success . . . Manchester United.

Thankfully, these are changed days for our Scots abroad.