Merseyside Tartan XI
Ahead of the Liverpool v Everton FA Cup Semi Final on Saturday here's our choice for the all time Scottish Merseyside Select side.
1. George Wood (Everton)Wood started his career at East Stirlingshire for whom he scored a goal from his own penalty area against Queen of the South's English goalkeeper, Allan Ball. Quite ironic really given Wood's later Everton connections. Wood moved to Blackpooll in 1972, for £10,000 , as cover for John Burridge. After spending time in the Reserves, Wood made his debut in April 1972, in a 2-0 home victory over Oxford Utd. He then spent the next four years jostling for the No. 1 jersey with Burridge, eventually establishing himself in 1975-76 after 'Budgie', later of Hibs, was sold to Aston Villa He was signed by Everton for £150,000 in August 1977. He was the Goodison Park's side first-choice goalkeeper for the next three seasons, making over 120 appearances and making his debut for Scotland against Northern Ireland on 22 May 1979. Wood also played for the Scots at Wembley but after John Wark gave the visitors the lead Wood conceded in injury time in the first half, ironically after a Liverpool fan in a Tartan Tammy invaded the pitch causing extra minutes to be played. A renewed England went on to win the game 3-1. Wood was signed by Arsenal in August 1980 for £140,000, earmarked as the successor to Pat Jennings, with whom he shared the first-team goalkeeper's spot for the next three seasons, making 61 appearances in goal for Arsenal. However, Jennings' longevity counted against Wood and he was unable to supplant the Irish veteran; Wood was given a free transfer in May 1983. He joined Crystal Palace and was their first choice keeper for the next four-and-a-half seasons, making 192 league appearances, and winning the "Player of The Year" award in 1986. Wood joined Cardiff City in January 1988, where he made 67 league appearances, and ended his league career with a loan spell at his old club Blackpool in 1989, and a single season at Hereford in '90/91. He then had stints at non-league Merthyr and Inter Cardiff (a side he later managed). 2. Sandy Brown (Everton)251 games for Everton with 11 goals and unfortunately an OG in a Merseyside derby before he left Everton in 1971. The Scottish utility man was signed from Partick Thistle for £38,000 in September 1963. The athletic hard man played in several positions. Harry Catterick saw his ability to read the game and played him in front of the back four when it was needed. He was most effective as an overlapping full-back but also played as an emergency attacker and scored against Real Zaragoza in a European game during the 1966-67 season. In fact he played in every position during his Everton career, including goalkeeper against Newcastle United, after Gordon West was sent off. He played four games on Everton's way to the 1966 FA Cup Final but didn't play at Wembley and missed out on a winner's medal. He did achieve silverware though, picking up a League Champions medal for the 1969/70 season with Everton. 3. Steve Nicol (Liverpool)As a player, Scottish International Nicol was a significant member of the all-conquering reds team of the 1980s, with whom he won five League titles, three FA Cup winners medals, and the 1984 European Cup. After 14 years with Liverpool, Nicol also played with several other English teams, including Notts County and Sheffield Wednesday, before emigrating to the United States in 1999. He later became a Coach in the MLS. He was the only defender to score a hat trick in the English Premier League. 4. Graeme Souness (Liverpool)Souness was player-managing Rangers against Celtic in the 1989 Scottish Cup final (Celtic won 1-0) while the all-Merseyside FA Cup final of 1989 contained seven Scots involved in the game played amongst the emotional aftermath of the Liverpool-Forest Hillsborough semi-final. Liverpool beat Everton 3-2 after extra time to lift silverware. The quintessential enforcer and 'hard man' Souness starred for Liverpool in the first half of the 80's before moving to Sampdoria of Italy and then Ibrox. His return to Liverpool as manager was not so successful but Liverpool did win the 1992 FA Cup under 'Souey' when they beat Sunderland in the final at Wembley.5. Ron Yeats (Liverpool)Yeats was an Under 15 Schoolboy international who played for Aberdeen Lads clubs when he was signed by Dundee Utd. Previously, he worked in a slaughter house before he turned professional. Yeats, a stockily-built 6 ft 2 in central defender, was bought by manager Bill Shankly in 1961 from United and was immediately installed as captain as Liverpool gained promotion from the Second Division. Shankly later described Yeats's arrival, along with that of striker Ian St John (also in 1961), as the "turning point" as Liverpool began their quest to compete with — and beat — the best in England and in Europe. Liverpool won the League title in 1964 and then picked up their first-ever FA Cup a year later, beating Leeds2-1 in the final at Wembley. Yeats was gleeful as his lifted the trophy, though he suffered disappointment at the same time as Liverpool lost in the European Cup semi final to Inter Milan. 6. Alan Hansen (Liverpool)Now one of the best-known TV football pundits in Europe it is sometimes easy to forget what a good player Hansen was. He signed signed for Liverpool from Partick Thistle in 1977 and played for the reds until 1991 winning 8 League titles and numerous other honours from FA Cup to League Cup to European Cup. Scottish International Hansen famously said he ''waited for the phone to ring'' after he left Liverpool imagining he would be approached for a managerial role somewhere in the UK but the call never came and Hansen became a fixture on SKY then the BBC with his no-nonsense analysis of top flight English matches. 7. Pat Nevin (Everton)One of the seven Scots involved in the all-Mersey FA Cup final of 1989 where he helped the blues claw back a 2-0 deficit to send the game into extra time. Current Motherwell manager Stuart McCall came on as a sub to score twice for The Toffees. Nevin gave good service to Clyde, Chelsea and Everton at the peak of his career and gained Scotland caps, the 7th of those coming around the time of the 1989 FA Cup final, when he helped Scotland beat Cyprus 2-1 at Hampden to more or less insure Qualification for the 1990 World Cup in Italy. Scotland clinched qualification with a 2-0 Hampden win over France. Nevin too has carved out a career as a pundit of some note spreading himself across BBC Scotland TV and Radio, Channel 5 and BBC 5 Live.8. Kenny Dalglish (Liverpool)King Kenny is on the brink of bringing both major cups in England back to Anfield as Liverpool manager in 2012 despite recent flak over his side's league performances. Signed as a replacement for Hamburg-bound Kevin Keegan in 1977 from Celtic, Dalglish became a reds legend on the field of play and is in his second spell as Liverpool manager. Any football fan knows about Dalglish's achievements and there is very little we can add when it comes to tributes. Managed Liverpool to a 3-2 win over Everton in the emotional '89 Cup final. 9. Graeme Sharp (Everton)He became an Evertonian when he was signed from Dumbarton in 1980. Sharp was regarded as good in the air and able to hold the ball well and distribute it to provide more scoring opportunities for others than for himself. He formed successful scoring partnerships with Andy Gray, Adrian Heath and Gary Lineker. In the 1984–85 season Sharp scored 30 goals in 54 matches. In 426 appearances for Everton (21 as substitute), Sharp scored 159 goals to set a post war goalscoring for Everton which has yet to be matched. Only Dixie Dean (pre WW II) has ever scored more goals for the club than Sharp did. He did not walk into the first team at Everton and by the end of the '80/1 season had still made just six league appearances for the club. But then came new manager Howard Kendall, who soon selected Sharp as a regular striker and was rewarded handsomely as Sharp netted 15 goals in 29 league games. The goals continued to flow over the next nine seasons. Sharp's greatest achievements were as part of the Everton team which in 1984 won the FA Cup (he scored the first goal in the final), in 1985 and 1987 won the League title and also in 1985 the Cup Winners Cup. In October 1984, he scored the lone goal in Everton's first win at Anfield since 1970. He was on the losing side in the FA Cup finals of 1986 and 1989, with both of these finals being won by Everton's deadly rivals Liverpool. His key role in this golden era led to his inclusion in Everton's "Greatest Ever Team", following a poll in the club's 125th anniversary. 10. Ian St John (Liverpool)Ex-Motherwell forward St John scored many vital goals for Liverpool, which included the flying, whiplash header that he hammered past Leeds goalie Gary Sprake to win the FA Cup in 1965, Liverpool's first FA Cup. A League championship followed in the 1965/66as the Anfield club finished 6 points clear of Leeds, Ian chipped in with 10 goals from 41 outings. St John and the rest of Liverpool tasted defeat, however, as they were beaten in their first ever Euro final, Borrusia Dortmund beat them 2-1 at Hampden in the Cup Winners Cup. St John was selected to play for Scotland 21 times, making his debut, as a Motherwell player, in a 3-2 friendly victory over Germany at Hampden in May 1959. The first of his 9 goals came a year later, again, at Hampden, but this time in a 3-2 friendly defeat at the hands of Poland in May 1960. Like the vast majority of Shankly's first great team, St John was at his peak during the mid-1960s. And as he entered his thirties during the latter years of that decade his form and fitness began to dip - until the end came - as it did for several other members of his side - with the shock FA Cup defeat at Watford on 21 February 1970. St John later managed Motherwell and formed an on-screen TV partnership with Jimmy Greaves as they became the top on screen football pundits of the 1980's.11. Duncan Ferguson (Everton)Certainly one to be filed under 'cult heroes' Ferguson won the FA Cup with Everton in 1995, competed in the qualifying stages of the Champions League in 2005, also with Everton, and participated in the UEFA Cup in 1999 with Newcastle and 2005 with Everton. He was capped for Scotland seven times but made himself unavailable for selection in his national team due to a dispute with the SFA. He has scored more goals than any other Scottish player in the FA Premier League. Ferguson was noted for his aggressive and highly-competitive style of play, which resulted in nine red cards and a three-month prison sentence following an on field assault of Raith's John McStay in 1994 while Ferguson was playing for Rangers.
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