The countdown continues as we rank the Top 50 Scotland Internationals. 

As supporters across the country have their say, we spoke to a number of voices across the Scottish football media landscape to see who tops their list. 

Luke Shanley, Sky Sports

There are so many legends that could make this list but, like a few others, I’ve gone for players I have watched for Scotland in my lifetime. I feel I have to explain that!

1. Jim Leighton

I have always played in goals and growing up, two goalkeepers were huge inspirations for me.

The first is of course Jim Leighton who is the second most capped Scotland player of all time and for good reason. He kept an astonishing number of clean sheets – 42 in 91 games – and that is a quite incredible record.

There was almost two spells to Jim Leighton’s career. He was a very good goalkeeper for Aberdeen in the ‘80s and had a difficult spell mid-way through his career at Manchester United, then after the World Cup in 1990 a lot of people thought his career may be over, not just his international career. To then come back to Scotland, play for Hibernian and get back on the international scene and then have the campaign he did to help us to Euro 96 and then later put in the performance he did against Sweden to get us to the World Cup in ’98 was truly special.

2. Andy Goram

I’ve watched a lot of the replayed Euro 96 games through lockdown and Andy Goram came in having not played much in qualifying and, to be fair to manager Craig Brown, he made the right call putting Goram in when you see some of the saves and performances he put in.

He wasn’t the biggest of goalkeepers but could produce some staggering saves which almost anyone else of his statures simply shouldn’t be able to. He was just a top goalkeeper and I think he was pushed on by the good goalkeepers around him, he was Scotland’s player of the year in 1993 and I think the only way to describe him was world class.

3. John Collins

Perhaps our most technically gifted player in the 90s. With over 60 caps and to hit double figures for goals too shows that. He was key in the campaigns to get us to Euro 96 and the World Cup in 98. He was playing in France when we qualified for the World Cup in France and to take that penalty against Brazil, with that pressure on his shoulders, and to coolly slot it away shows his class.

He is just a guy that was a real class act on the pitch and, although I’ve gone for two goalkeepers at the top of my list, is also responsible for one of the best saves I’ve seen when watching Scotland. His handball on the line against Netherlands was important as we got a point, but he also got away with it as well.

4. Darren Fletcher

There are a number of reasons Fletcher makes it. The flick to McFadden against the Netherlands was a moment for me that I just thought ‘these two are really special’. There was a level of expectation on Fletcher in a Scotland shirt that I think was unrealistic, yes he was part of a swashbuckling Manchester United side but the job he did for Scotland was extremely underappreciated. Looking back now I appreciate everything he did for the national team a lot more.

He’s the third most-capped Scotland player with 80 caps and I genuinely believe he could have eclipsed 100 had he not been so unfortunate with the illness which kept him out for a spell. He’s such a good talker of the game, such a class act and I think everyone in Scotland should be proud of all he’s achieved.

5. James McFadden

I think McFadden is one of the best players to have played for Scotland from ’98 onwards, or as I call it ‘the non-qualifying era’. He is so unfortunate not to be in the Hall of Fame having just missed out on his 50th cap, but I just think he had it all. He had the cheek and the swagger but he backed it up and then some.

I was in Paris that night. He was up top on his own, it was always going to be a long night but the rest is history. It typifies everything about being a Scotland supporter and the passion and memories that come with it and, thanks to James McFadden, we’ve all got a memory that will last many lifetimes.

Si Ferry, Open Goal

This was not easy, I tell you that! Some top players have to miss out I'm afraid so here it goes...

1. Kenny Dalglish

Best British player of all time.

A lot of people might look at this and think that because I’m only 32 I didn’t appreciate Dalglish fully, but when I was young a friend of my dad’s knew I had an interest in football so gave me a DVD to watch and study - it was all about Kenny Dalglish. I must have been about 10 at the time and I couldn’t stop thinking ‘this guy is Scottish?!’

It’s not just what he did for Liverpool though, some of the goals he scored for Scotland were unbelievable. I’m not talking tap-ins, he was slamming it in to the top corner with his right foot or left foot. To be voted the greatest player ever for Liverpool in the history of a club like that says everything you need to know. A legend.

2. Paul Lambert

My footballing hero. I was lucky enough to get to see Lambert up close when I was at Celtic and the way he conducted himself and his mentality was incredible. Add to that the way he played on a football pitch and I honestly think he was underrated in Scotland.

He was such a top player and speaking to him was easily one of my favourite Open Goal interviews. Not many people would go on trial to an unknown club and then to go to Dortmund is something most Scottish boys would be too afraid to do at that time and that age, so to do that and win the Champions League 12 months later says it all. He had utter belief in his ability, he was such an intelligent player.

3. Jim Leighton

When I was young I loved going in goals when playing with my mates and I would always pretend to be Jim Leighton - so much so I used to steal Vaseline from my house and slap the full bottle on my eyebrows!

He was a genuinely top goalkeeper and back then I thought he was world class, some of the saves he made for Scotland were unbelievable. It says a lot that Sir Alex Ferguson took him to Manchester United too.

4. Colin Hendry

Anyone that is brave enough to pull off a barnet like Hendry’s needs to get in to my top five. But seriously though I remember watching him when I was a young boy and seeing him on TV it genuinely felt like he was about 7 ft tall. He was the captain, he’d throw himself at everything, he was aggressive and strong, a throwback to old fashioned centre backs. You don’t see many people now who just love to defend like he did and you could see how much it meant for him to play for Scotland.

5. James McFadden

The type of player we don’t produce very often in the country and I wish we produced more. To me it seemed like he’s a guy who didn’t seem to listen to anyone else on the football pitch – he wasn’t a robot who would pass the ball five yards all the time, he’d try and entertain and play the game he wanted to.

I probably watched Scotland the most when Faddy played to be honest. It wasn’t a great period for the national team but some of the football Faddy played was incredible. I remember the goal when Darren Fletcher flicked it back to him following the corner against Holland, then there’s France of course.

Jane Lewis, BBC Scotland

I feel I need to explain some background to my selections as there will be people reading my choices in disbelief that Kenny Dalglish, Billy McNeill or Willie Miller didn’t make my five.

Quite simply, I wasn’t really into football when I was a wee girl. It wasn’t until I was 16 or 17 that I stared to gain an interest in the game, fast becoming a fan. So, while I’ve seen all the archive footage showing Sir Kenny as a genius on the ball, scoring some fabulous goals, I really felt for this selection I had to go with players I actually watched playing for Scotland.

1. James McFadden

A bit like another man on this list, James McFadden was, well to quote former Scotland manager Berti Vogts “a cheeky boy”. His was a terrific talent, who when on the ball, had fans up off their seats, expecting great things. He was skilful and an entertainer, who scored one of Scotland’s most iconic goals of recent times. His stunning goal against France in Paris will live long in the memory. He was a favourite with the Tartan Army, giving fans something to cheers amid some gloomy times.

2. Colin Hendry

His blonde locks made him a stand out on the pitch, but he’s one of my picks because of his strength, commitment and bravery. Every time he played for Scotland you got the feeling nothing meant more to him. He was fearless and fearsome, a perfect combination for a defender. On the pitch he had a unique presence and was well respected. Add to that his qualities as a leader, and he chipped in with the odd goal too.

3. Ally McCoist

Ally McCoist was, and still is, a hugely likeable character, a chirpy chappy who delivered on the pitch, much like McFadden. He was a prolific striker for Scotland, with 19 goals in 61 appearances. He looked like he savoured every moment he played in a Scotland jersey, such passion was clear when he scored against Switzerland in Euro 96, running off to celebrate with his manager Craig Brown. Even when he was coming towards the end of his international career, his achievements on the pitch and his infectious personality off it would have made him an integral part of any Scotland squad.

4. Gary McAllister

Living in England during my teens and early twenties, I saw a lot of Gary McAllister on my Telly playing for Leeds and Coventry. For club(s) and country he was such an elegant player, whose precise passing of the ball was a joy to watch. He seemed to be constantly dishing out instructions on the pitch, showing terrific leadership. While many Scotland fans were unable to forget THAT penalty miss, in my book he retired from Scotland duties far too soon. Later in his career he showed grit and determination to prove the doubters wrong, I think he could have done the same for his country.

5. Kim Little

Where to start? Well maybe with her Scotland stats. 137 caps and counting, and 59 goals and no doubt counting!

Kim Little is a special talent, who’s made it to the top of the women’s game through her natural skills and determination.

She’s been an integral member of the women’s Scotland squad for over a decade, scoring vital goals and assisting in others. She’s also fought back from serious injuries to regain her place in the squad, showing her resilience. Her incredible achievements in the game means she’s a true role model for young girls, who can now dream big.

Tam Cowan, Off the Ball

It wasn't easy putting these five in order. Some decisions were easier than others but overall, it's a top five full of quality.

1. Davie Cooper

The greatest player I've seen in claret and amber so, naturally, I was thrilled and very proud when he got back into the Scotland squad after joining Motherwell in 1989. His hugely important penalty v Wales in 1985 was coolness personified.

2. Archie Gemmill

He was my first Scotland hero as the ‘78 World Cup is the first one I remember. Must have seen his goal against Holland 500 times but, honestly, it never fails to give me goosebumps.

3. Sir Kenny Dalglish

One of Scotland's truly world class players, who can forget his goal against Spain in 1984? Should have got his knighthood when the referee blew the full-time whistle.

4. Jim Baxter

I never saw him playing a single game, but any Scot who plays keepy-uppy against England at Wembley goes straight into my selection.

5. Gordon Strachan

Absolutely loved watching him at club and international level, a terrific wee player with bags of skill. Responsible for our greatest ever goal celebration after his strike v West Germany at the Mexico World Cup.

David Tanner, TV presenter and talkSPORT’s Scottish football correspondent

1. Sir Kenny Dalglish

My earliest memory of watching football on the telly was Wembley in 1977 and King Sir Kenny scored the winner. I was in the enclosure at Hampden when he scored his last international goal – and his best – when we thumped Spain on the way to the World Cup; if only Kenny had been fit enough to play at Mexico’86. I was also present when the Kaiser honoured the King - Franz Beckenbauer flew to Glasgow to salute the founder of the 100-cap club. Almost 40 years on, he is still the only club member in the men’s game.

The best player in England for a over a decade – only Bryan Robson got close – Sir Kenneth’s medal haul elevated him above his rivals. Big goals in the biggest games, including the tournaments – he had unlimited ability and levels of cunning and determination that made more than a mere great. It made him a great winner. Scotland owes Jock Stein a great debt for helping shape Kenny at Celtic, in a generation of great quality, he was streets ahead. My hero.

2. Denis Law

Dalglish counts Denis as his hero and that’s good enough for me. I’m currently working on a TV documentary about The Law Man and when I hear the esteem that people like Joe Jordan hold him in, you realise that Denis was beyond exceptional. How many people have three statues cast in their honour during their lifetime?

I am often asked if I’m ever starstruck – I have met Messi, Ronaldo, Cruyff, Pele and Maradona, but Denis is the only footballer to make me catch my breath!

Despite playing his entire career in England (save for a season at Torino), the Aberdonian was fiercely passionate about wearing the dark blue.

Lightening quick – which made him dangerous in the air and on the ground - and steadfastly brave, Denis’ 30 strikes from 55 caps is a remarkable goals-to-games ratio for international football.

3. Graeme Souness

If Kenny was the King, nobody told Graeme because there was an air of majesty about him as he ruled the midfield area at Hampden. His range of passing put him in the world class bracket, add his immense leadership skills, his fearlessness and battling qualities, you had the complete player. I was at the game Graeme ‘sorted out’ Wales midfielder Peter Nicholas, I know that is several postcodes away from Political Correctness, but ALL great teams need an enforcer. Let’s be honest, the best Scotland teams were reinforced by a ferrous element in their build. Unusually, Graeme had both steel and silk in his make-up.

Even in his 60s, Souness is the best pundit on TV. I hosted a live event with Graeme recently, when he spoke you could hear a pin drip and in a room with 700 people in it. That’s gravitas.

4. Joe Jordan

He scored at three World Cup finals for Scotland. Need I go on? I’m too young to remember Joe’s winner against Czechoslovakia in 1973, but that sent us to our first World Cup in 16 years – our first of five-in-a-row. Joe, therefore, helped define an era. He scored in a win over England in 1974 just before the finals. Big moments need big players.
Joe played for Leeds when they were the best, then Manchester United and AC Milan. As a Gourock boy, I should add that he started at Morton.

Those images of big Joe with his front teeth removed are iconic. My first Scotland replica top had a number nine on the back – Joe had to get in my famous five for that alone!

5. Jim Baxter

My very first career interview was with Jim Baxter – I was 16 and he was generous with his time and his answers. I vividly recall him describing how much playing for Scotland meant to him – his performance at Wembley in 67 is arguably the best our country has seen. He scored a double at The Empire Stadium 4 years earlier, the 1962 side were considered the best Scottish side of them all by Bobby Moore.

Apologies to Lawrie Reilly, Dave Mackay, Jimmy Johnstone Danny McGrain, Sandy Jardine, Billy Bremner, Willie Miller, Alex McLeish, John Robertson, Charlie Nicholas, Richard Gough, Paul McStay, Mo Johnston, Ally McCoist, Gary McAllister, John Collins, James McFadden and Darren Fletcher – all wonderful footballers. And the list goes on.

Eilidh Barbour, Broadcaster


This was so difficult but I’ve gone for players I’ve watched for the national team. It would be easy to say the likes of Denis Law and Kenny Dalglish but I can’t honestly say I saw them enough. To make it slightly harder I’m going for players I’ve grown up watching.

1. Darren Fletcher

This is probably the only pick of mine that went straight in without much thought needed. I just think he is an incredible professional, utterly dedicated for club and country and, despite not having the same success in a Scotland jersey as he did for Manchester United, he more than merits top spot for me.

He turned up for everything, always wanted to represent his country and had so much passion. He could easily walk in to the Scotland dressing room now and command respect, motivate and get the best out of any teammate and that is an incredible trait.

2. Kim Little

A player that has achieved so much in a Scotland shirt. Similar in ways to Darren Fletcher, she is an incredible professional and it is no surprise she has racked up as many caps as she has. I think she’s one of the most naturally gifted footballers to come out of Scotland in the last 15 years or so. Because she plays for the Women’s team I think she’s perhaps underrated, but just look at the achievements.

Playing in a World Cup, at the Olympic Games, pulling on the Great Britain shirt, she scores massively important goals and she drives and inspires the team. She’s so humble yet is an absolute superstar. In the Women’s game she’s got to be considered world class.

3. James McFadden

Big goals in big moments, what more can you say? He was a bit of a maverick on the pitch and was so exciting to watch. He could change or win a game and having a player like that is so valuable at any level of the game, let alone the heights Faddy reached.

It’s so easy to use the France goal as an example but it sums up his importance. We were battered that day and yet, from nothing, he wins us the game. For me, he was one of the few truly exciting talents of my time watching the national team.

4. Erin Cuthbert

It feels strange selecting a player who is only 21, but it would feel worse leaving her out! I described McFadden as exciting, but Cuthbert is the same. She can take a game by the scruff of the neck and change the outcome in the blink of an eye.

She covers so much ground, her work-ethic and fitness levels are unbelievable and it just feels she can do almost anything in a game, from unbelievable goals to incredible runs and commanding leadership, it’s scary to think how good she could become and may even move up this list in years to come considering how young she is.

5. Any of our goalkeepers!

I feel like I’m cheating here but I simply couldn’t pick one and I certainly couldn’t pick none of them either! We’ve been so fortunate in this area of the pitch for so long and you just have to look at the names here: Leighton, Goram, McGregor, Marshall, Gordon.

We’ve had so many top class keepers over the years who have saved us on many, many occasions. I caught the tail end of Leighton and Goram and the quality of keepers we’ve even had in more recent times shows you we’ve always been rather fortunate in this area of the pitch, so I’ll go for a position at number five because I simply can’t pick between them all.

Gordon Duncan, Clyde Superscoreboard

1. James McFadden

The only real talisman the national team has had since France 98 and a shining light in a difficult era for Scotland fans.

Produced some of the national team’s most memorable 21st century moments, carrying the hopes of a nation at times.

Once told me a story on the official Scotland podcast about how he used to really thrive on being able to hear the plastic seats snapping back into an upright position as fans rose in expectation when he picked up the ball - that just about sums up the impact he had for Scotland fans of my generation.

2. Ally McCoist

That fine strike against Switzerland at euro96 was the first goal I ever saw Scotland score at a major tournament and it’s stayed with me ever since.

Found the back of the net another 18 times to become the country’s 5th highest scorer of all time. Craig Brown has since spoken about the regret of not taking McCoist to France in 1998 and just maybe he could’ve been the man to make the difference.

3. John Collins

Simply have to include the only Scot to score against Brazil at senior men’s international level in my lifetime. As an 8 year old living in England during France 98, that penalty hitting the back of the net was as good as it got for me that summer. A relentlessly hard worker with the technical ability to match.

4. Andy Robertson

It’s not often Scotland fans can claim one of our own as amongst the world’s best in his position. Having gone from Hampden ticket seller to national team captain in the space of 6years or so, hopefully Robertson’s next Scotland chapter sees him lead the team back to a major tournament. It’s hard to ignore club successes with an English Premier League winner’s medal recently added to the Champions League one from last season.

5. Colin Hendry

Does he make my top 5 purely because of his luscious blonde locks? There’s a bit more to it, but it’s definitely a factor. Having unfortunately only witnessed the team play at one World Cup, it makes sense to include the man who led them out in France. His cap haul of 51 is made even more impressive when you consider he didn’t earn his first until the age of 27. Always showed exemplary levels of passion, commitment and dedication. Braveheart right enough.