Welcome to Last Word on Football’s Team of the Decade series. Today we look at the players and manager who have made it into the Scotland team.
It was a decade full of ups and downs for the Scottish National side as the wait to qualify for a major tournament continues. However, despite their struggles to reach a major tournament, there were plenty of exciting performances and quality goals for the fans to enjoy.
Scotland Team of the Decade
Manager – Gordon Strachan
Scotland had a total of four managers during the past 10 years. Gordon Strachan takes the title of manager of the decade. Strachan enjoyed four very good years in charge of the national team and, although they failed to qualify for the World Cup or the European Championships, he gave Scotland an identity. His four years brought exciting football and Strachan finished with a 47% win rate from his 40 matches in charge.
Formation – 4-4-2
While many Scotland managers have preferred a 4-3-3, we have chosen the 4-4-2 to accommodate Scotland’s best players of the past decade.
Goalkeeper – David Marshall
Current number one David Marshall has been a consistent, solid servant for the Scotland team. With the side having a vast array of talented goalkeepers, Marshall had to stand out and he was integral during Scotland’s Euro 2016 qualifying campaign. He was restored as the number one in 2019 after a string of excellent performances for Wigan Athletic.
Right Back – Steven Whittaker
Steven Whittaker has been a consistent servant for Scotland since making his international debut in 2009. Since then, he has made 31 appearances, with his most recent coming in 2016. He did earn a recall in September 2017 but was an unused substitute.
Centre Back – Grant Hanley
Norwich City defender Grant Hanley has been a regular in the Scotland squad since making his international debut in 2011. He has made 29 appearances for his country, scoring once.
Centre Back – Charlie Mulgrew
Charlie Mulgrew’s robust, tenacious style of play has always been a favourite of the Scotland fans. He has been a regular in the squad since his international debut in 2012. Mulgrew’s leadership qualities were rewarded in 2018 when Scott Brown retired from international football.
Left Back – Andrew Robertson
The Scot from humble beginnings has been the mainstay in the squad since making his debut in 2014. He has made 34 appearances thus far and was given the captain’s armband when Alex McLeish was re-appointed as manager in 2018. Robertson remains an integral part of the squad now led by Steve Clark.
Right Midfield – James Forrest
Celtic winger James Forrest has been a consistent performer for his country since his international debut in 2011. He has featured in all of Scotland’s qualifying campaigns. His first international goals took an age to arrive, with Forrest breaking his duck in a Nations League clash with Albania in 2018. Forrest has five goals in 34 appearances for his country.
Centre Midfield – James McArthur
Crystal Palace midfielder McArthur was a player Scotland fans thoroughly enjoyed watching. The midfielder was tenacious and regularly played with his heart on his sleeve. His 32 appearances during his seven years playing for the Scottish national side brought ups and downs. He was consistent and thoroughly deserves his place in the Scotland team of the decade.
Centre Midfield – Darren Fletcher
A Scotland team of the decade wouldn’t be complete without loyal servant Darren Fletcher. Fletcher was another consistent performer and leader for Scotland, Fletcher was a regular in the Scotland side until his international retirement in 2017. He made 80 appearances and led by example with the captain’s armband never too far away from him. He took the captaincy in November 2009 and didn’t look back, playing important roles in several of Scotland’s qualifying campaigns.
Left Midfield – Robert Snodgrass
The talented playmaker was a regular for Scotland during the past decade making 28 appearances. He made his debut in 2011 and helped Scotland in several qualifying campaigns. Snodgrass retired from international duty in October 2019. His most memorable moment was a winner against Croatia in 2013, which was Croatia’s first home defeat in five years. While injuries may have halted further caps for Scotland, Snodgrass was a loyal servant who could bring something different.
Striker – Leigh Griffiths
Celtic striker Griffiths makes the team for his memorable performance at Hampden Park against England. The striker scored two stunning free-kicks that were arguably their goals of the decade. He was outstanding on that day and has thrived in a Scotland shirt. Griffiths has made 19 appearances and scored four goals since his international debut in 2012.
Striker – Steven Naismith
The Scotland team of the decade is completed with the reliable Steven Naismith. The Hearts attacker has been a consistent performer for Scotland making 51 appearances scoring ten goals. Naismith has been a regular in the Scotland squad in the past decade. He thoroughly deserves his place in this team.