Scotland once had incredibly big ambitions on the world football field - now its reputation is apparently confined to pies. As HUGH MclLVANNEY remembers Britain's three greatest football managers — all Scottish, all dead — we ask, are the glory days gone forever?
'.‘.’:':133 Brian Donaldson
14 THE “ST .". 2'3: BAN 1997
The tartan army: Scottish football giants Bill Shankly, Matt Busby and Jock Stein
()NCli l'l’()f\' A time. Scotland could claim to be an influential leader in the world of football. .\'o. seriously. The idea of European silverware landing in Scottish trophy cabinets was less of a fantasy then than now and the production of top-drawer managers and players who could excel beyond our own borders was a matter of fact. These days. Kilmarnock’s award of Britain‘s top half-time pic (with llibs a close second) is the only honour we have worth its salt.
In a three-night Arena documentary Bus/1v. SIP/II And Shank/y — The [football Ari/(U1. Scottish soccer’s golden years are revisited. Created by top sportswriter Hugh Mcllvanney. it celebrates the era when the trio guided their clubs. Manchester L‘nited. Celtic and Liverpool respectively. to domestic and European success. Both Busby and Stein brought the European Cup to Britain while
'In most generations you could say there was at least one Scot who could get in the Brazil side, but there isn’t one today who would have a prayer.’ Hugh Mcllvanney
oal- en years
Shankly led his side to [FliliA ('up glory.
Paired with these achievements. they were linked by upbringing. All three were born in Lanarkshirc and were as familiar with the grim darkness of the coal mines as they were with the frivolities of the training ground. While Shankly and Busby spent a relatively short spell down the mines before being good enough to begin earning a living from the game. Stein only came up for the air of full-time football aged 27. .‘ylcllvanney shares more than their passion for football — brother of writer William. he is from an Ayrshire mining family.
"l‘he biggest thing they brought to football was the strength of personality/C explains \lcllvanney. ‘Matt Busby never had to shout — a raised eyebrow would be enough to frighten Paddy (.‘rerand. And although Bill could come on like a sergeant—major. he would provide the