bullets and Bob Paisley fired them while Bill stayed in the background like a nuclear deterrent. Jock could do plenty of shouting but the players were simply terrified of letting him down. They knew his standards and how great he was at his own job. They were mortified at the thought of embarrassing themselves in his eyesf
But what of the legend that Stein once took his squad down the mine shaft to show them real life‘.’ ‘Jock told me once that he thought everyone should go down the mine once to see what real darkness is.‘ recalls Mcllvanney. ‘If he felt the players were hanging around the snooker halls too much a wee visit to a pit four or five hundred fathoms down was something they wouldn’t fancy.’
Have these happy days gone forever? Will we ever see the likes of that Mighty Trinity again‘.’ Will there be a time when being drawn against the likes of Grasshoppers. Bronby or Hamburg. teams which the Bushy Babes. the Lisbon Lions and Shankly‘s Side would have had as a breakfast /I()I'.S‘ (I'rmtt'res, does not cause palpitations in Scottish hearts?
‘Nobody with any sense would say that Scotland won’t produce any more good managers.‘ believes Mcllvanney. ‘but the fact is that men with that strength of connection to the working-class roots of the game are unlikely to emerge again as football gets bigger financially and in terms of television coverage. The focus of the game is getting narrower in that those who run football tend to be produced by football whereas these men were produced by the working class in the broadest sense.‘
Statistics such as one in eight managers in England are likely to prefer porridge to Shredded Wheat for breakfast indicate that the gravy train of top-flight bosses has not yet congealed. Newcastle United’s Kenny Dalglish. having won league titles with both Liverpool and Blackburn: and Alex Ferguson. who has lifted the Cup-Winners Cup with Aberdeen and his current club Manchester United. are the obvious candidates to keep alight the torch initially flared by their legendary Scottish predecessors. The jury is still ottt on George Graham and Graeme Souness while the Old Firm rivals Walter Smith and Tommy Burns have much to do to mould their sides into fearsome opponents for the likes of Juventus. Barcelona. Ajax and Alania Vladikavkaz.
Then there are our players. Oh dear. our players. In post-match baths across England. there once was a time when you could hardly hear yourself asking for the soap for the strains of Flower Ol'Scm/and emanating from the mouths of former Celtic team-mates. Now. if a player makes it over the border. the likelihood is that his first nickname will be The Judge due to the inordinate time spent on the bench. The players Scotland now produce are. in the immortal words of Archie Macl’herson — ‘Simply. Not. Good. Enough.’ Several factors have contributed to this sickening malaise and horrible demise.
‘When European legislation came in stating that three non-nationals only could play in Europe. the top clubs decided not to take any Scots.‘ offers John Colquhoun. Rector of Edinburgh University. ex-President of the Scottish Professional Footballers’ Association. Sportsr'mw pundit. newspaper
columnist and. occasionally. Hearts player. ‘We‘ve also got to look at the mediocre foreigners coming to our game. It‘s hard to argue against the likes of [Celtic's] Di Canio and [Rangers'] Laudrup. but when you look at the some of the players coming over. all it is is a cheap quick fix. lf clttb directors who are
struggling to pay the wages have the choice of
a half-decent player from the lower leagues for a few hundred thousand or a free Scandinavian. then it‘s no contest at all.‘ Hugh Mcllvanney sees a broader context for the pitiful state of affairs. "There are a variety of rival pursuits for young people now whereas we used to play for twelve hours on a Sunday without a proper pitch or ball. go home for our dinner and come back to start
again.‘ he recalls. ‘Local authorities and clubs could have done a great deal more to nurture interest in the game and maybe there will be some revival. These factors apply in other countries too but the decline here appears particularly extreme.
‘In most generations you could say there was at least one Scot who could get in the Brazil side - maybe Denis Law or Jim Baxter or Jimmy Johnstone — but there isn't one [today] who would have a prayer.’
Messrs Ronaldo, Bebeto and Romario can sleep soundly.
Arena: Busby, Stein and Shankly is on BBC2, Fri 28, 9.30pm; Sat 29 and Sun 30 Mar, times the. See Sport, page 77.
SIX OF THE BEST
Scottish players and managers who have put the wind up the world's goalposts.
The man who looked gutted after back- heeling his beloved Man Utd into the second division while playing for Man City in 1974 is probably the most cringeworthy pundit in football history. Quite where that accent comes from is a mystery.
Almost better known for his boozeathons than his amazing ball skills, Slim Jim taunted the English with his juggling feats in 1967’s famous 3—2 victory. crowning the Scots as world champions.
Jinky hated aeroplanes and defenders hated him as he tended to leave them in knots. He gained 23 Scottish caps — one more than Tom ‘Jaws‘ Forsyth and fifteen less than Stewart McKimmie. for crying out loud.
Once Lord of the Jungle, then King of the Kop. Kenny cracked up in public under the strain rumoured to have been induced by llillsborough and Heysel. The joy on his face when scoring has been replaced by an apparent dourness which the media loathe.
Great managers don‘t have to have been great players as Fergie stoutly proved. Famous for helping Aberdeen break the Old Firm stranglehold in the 80s and for an unhealthily red nose. A strained relationship with Dalglish makes English football a lot of fun.
Aside from a pocket ofAberdeen nutters. the death in l‘)‘)5 of Scotland‘s last great winger ttnited Scottish football. His greatest goal was shot on a dodgy hand-held camera in the illustrious Dryborough Cup Final when he made monkeys out of the Celtic defence before firing home.
21 Mar — 3Apr l997THE lIST15