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Three reasons to cheer new-look Scotland

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Jim Spence | 13:15 UK time, Wednesday, 24 February 2010

Craig Levein's first squad as Scotland manager should earn plaudits for the message of hope it sends out to all non-Old Firm players.

Every Scottish football fan should be delighted at the inclusion of the three Dundee United players: Andy Webster, Garry Kenneth and Paul Dixon.

Their selection is proof that, if players are playing at their best, it needn't matter that they don't ply their trade at Celtic or Rangers.

From left: Dundee United defenders Andy Webster, Garry Kenneth and Paul DixonForm and form alone will be the yardstick for the new Scotland manager, and that is enormously refreshing, because it has not always been the case.

All three deserve to be in the Scotland squad on merit.

Webster, before his recent calf injury was heading back to his imperious best, strolling through games with composure and class; organising, commanding and bringing a real presence to United's backline.

Kenneth has the physique and aggression to mix it in any company and his inclusion in the squad will see his stock continue to rise.

And Dixon has the pace, the will to win and the ability to deliver set-pieces and crosses with the precision which are a vital part of the game.

As a Dundonian, forgive me for a moment of pride in my native city, but Charlie Adam's inclusion is also richly deserved.

Finding a new lease of life at Blackpool, Charlie's technical ability often previously under appreciated, is now to the fore.

His move to a bigger club in the English Championship is guaranteed if he continues his current progress.

Charlie, I think, has lacked self belief in his ability. He should not; he is a technically gifted player who has a tremendous eye for a pass and a great left foot.

So, pass marks all round for Levein who is off to a flier in his first pick.

He has also judged it just right with the Rangers and ex-Rangers players.

The new Scotland boss has shown shrewd judgement in his first call ups.

After the disappointment of recent times for the national side, hopefully better times are just around the corner.

Comments

  • Comment number 1.

    ''His move to a bigger club in the English Championship is guaranteed if he continues his current progress.

    Charlie, I think, has lacked self belief in his ability. He should not; he is a technically gifted player who has a tremendous eye for a pass and a great left foot.''

    I think this highlights how poor some of our players are at the moment, if he was that good he would moving to a premiership team and not a 'bigger championship club'

    sigh...

  • Comment number 2.

    hmmm..... why should I be delighted? Webster does have ability, and has played at international level before - but the other two are unknown at international level, and to be honest every scotland fan i speak to doesn't feel delighted. They are ambivalent at best. Lets save delight until they have shown they are good enough.

    I cant help but feel that this whole blog entry is just a case of a dundee united fan getting excited that there may be some players at his club good enough to be getting in the scotland squad again.

  • Comment number 3.

    I can't say I ever rated Webster much when he was a Scotland regular, although that might have been more a case of me feeling Russell Anderson was being unfairly overlooked and Webster was only there because he partnered Elvis in defence at club level. Still, when the alternative is Calamity Caldwell, then I'm less inclined to moan. As long as Berra starts getting his chance, I'm happy.

    Onto the point at hand. The optimist in me wants to think that, yes, this shows we finally have a manager who realises good players exist outside of the Old Firm and Edinburgh, and considering Levein is an intelligent man, I'm pretty sure this is indeed the case.

    However, the pessimist in me would point out that these three Dundee United players are being picked by the man who was, until recently, their boss. Would the same apply to those playing well for Aberdeen and Motherwell? (okay, arguably there's no such thing as an Aberdeen player playing well at the moment, but that's not the point...).

    The test will come when another situation arises as a few years ago when Anderson was easily the best defender (and, indeed, the best Scottish player, being the sole Scottish nominee for the 06/07 POTY award) in the SPL, and yet was lucky to get in the Scotland squad, let alone picked in the starting line up. It'll be interesting to see if Darren Barr starts getting a look in - it's almost a shame he's signing for Hearts actually, as it would have been a good test to see if a Falkirk player would get picked.

  • Comment number 4.

    Looking at the squad Levein has picked I would say that it should hearten fans of provincial clubs. Webster deserves to be there on ability and form, no doubt about it. Dixon has been touted as a potential Scotland cap in a problem position by many neutral observers, not just United fans.

    I can understand some of the gripes about Kenneth. I think Levein HAS picked him mainly because he knows him from his United days. Levein needs a solid start and picked those he knew he could count on, and this is the reason he called up Hartley too, who is getting on a bit and not playing at the highest level. Furthermore, Kenneth is exactly the type of player Levein likes all over his teams - big and strong, so this obviously counts in his favour too.

    What is certain is that there will be no repeat of years gone by, when non-OF players were virtually ignored. Barry Robson is the best recent example I can think of - he played magnificently for United for 18 months, scoring goals, winning matches single handedly and only scraped into the odd squad during that time. The minute he signed for Celtic, and only briefly / occasionally matched his United form he was in every squad and actually played as often as not.

    It also seems obvious to me that Levein is picking those he feels are committed to the cause, and are not going to drop out of the squad for any reason. Imagine the furore if he had picked Ferguson, only for him to decide he didn't want to come back after all? Similarly McGregor with his injury doubt - the last thing Levein wants is for boys to start pulling out, damaging morale etc.

  • Comment number 5.

    ok hold on just a minute you say "Craig Levein's first squad as Scotland manager should earn plaudits for the message of hope it sends out to all non-Old Firm players" but 7 out of 13 Rangers first team players eligable got selected (and that 13 includes young wilson, fleck, the "injured" mCcregor, and andy webster) which is over half of Rangers eligable players. Whilst Celtic have had 1 out there 4 eligable players selected, and thats including the injured maloney, caddis and wilson. So in all thats 8 out of 17 eligable old firm first team players selected (with 5 of them either being injured or youngsters) so i dont understand why your saying the team selection sends a message to non old firm players? when infact it says to current old firm players, if your eligable and have had a few games for an old firm first team then theres a 50% chance you will be selected to play for Scotland, which i imagine is a MUCH MUCH higher percentage than any other 2 teams in the world with eligable players? ...you should change your ABOUT THIS BLOG section to start with "they pay me to watch Dundee United and talk Dundee United" *sigh*

  • Comment number 6.

    As a St Mirren fan and Scotland fan I think it is good there are a few more non-OF players than normal; but we have Rangers' reserve goalie in the squad despite hardly playing first team football all season, and Whittaker included as well despite his club form. And i disagree massively with letting all the Rangers players back in who disrupted George Burley's squad: Lee McCulloch was officially withdrawn from consideration because he was getting on a bit and wanting to concentrate on club football... now 2 years later and 2 years older he is happy to be included again! Something doesn't smell right about that one Jim! Disagree with Boyd being let back in the squad - its a basic thing in football that the manager picks the team rather than a player being allowed to chose which manager he fancies playing for. Ferguson was captain on international duty during boozegate, then V-sign gate and went to press giving briefings against the SFA immediately before important Scotland qualifiers, he blew it 3 or 4 times over but is seemingly welcome back and McGregor has had boozegate, V-sign gate, has a court case about assaulting a female and has been the victim of an assault while on a night out (months after boozegate - lesson learned yet Allan?). Wouldn't have any of them back in the team ever again and the amount of combined disruption by the Ibrox 4 during the last campaign makes it staggering they are all welcome back again if they fancy turning up. Whether the players like it or not they are role models if they are in the Scotland squad and all 4 players have set horrible examples and should be kept away from the future squads. Message to Craig Levein: wise up!

  • Comment number 7.

    Jamie Langfield? Arguably on better form than Marshall (although I've only seen him a few times on the TV, so possibly a harsh judgement).

    Can anyone describe Alexander as a "form player"? He's hardly played a game. Langfield has had ten clean sheets, and had the most clean sheets last season in front of a wobbly (at best) defence.

  • Comment number 8.

    While I agree that Webster should be in the team, the other two Dundee Utd guys are lucky to have a former boss as international manager. The only real reason to pick non OF players this season would be lack of an OF left back! And even then I would have prefered Hammell.
    I think its always been a myth that players only get selected for Scotland if they play with the Old Firm. even if it was true, with the OF tendancy to buy up the best Scottish players then they will end up there anyway.
    Seriously, look at the Scotland squad and take the worst OF players out, who do you replace them with? Any serious footballer who plays with any other Scottish team and moans about lack of international games needs to look at themselves and ask, why am I still at Raith (or Morton or Dunfermline or Falkirk/Aberdeen/Motherwell)?
    The best players will always play for the OF or someone bigger (and these days Birmingham and Middlesboro are a lot bigger)

  • Comment number 9.

    Paisley Saint Doug...

    Sounds a little like sour grapes, you say its a basic thing that the manager picks the team, but I think we can all agree Burley was hardly the best. And of course footballers pick which team they play for, just ask the Celtic to Boro masses, or any other player who has requested a transfer due to lack of playing time or disagreements with the management.
    Burley did enough himself to disrupt the Scotland team himself and although I don't agree with McCulloch or Ferguson returning (I've never liked McCulloch and I think its time for Ferguson to hang it up anyway, regardless of 'Boozegate') the return of McGregor and Boyd is vital. With the injuries that Gordon picks up and the lack of a decent goalscorer, how can we turn these guys down?

  • Comment number 10.

    I'm delighted to see Webster in there as well I must admit. Very surprised that Riordan wasn't included though. But does Webster count as a DUtd player? I thought he an on-loan Ranger? If that is not the case now apologies! In Tony's grand vision Celtic don't play that many Scots these days which I think is a shame but there are plenty of ex-celts in there as well.

  • Comment number 11.

    Jim, I must admit I don't share your optimism on this Scotland squad to be honest. I'm not sure if this first squad picked by CL is in fact the best squad available or not. But looking at it my first eleven would be:

    Gordon Wallace Berra Caldwell Hutton
    Robson Brown Fletcher Adam
    McFadden Boyd

    So while I may have chosen only 2 old firm players this has nothing to do with them being old firm playuers but more to do with the fact that we have so little to choose from and my team wouldn't scare anyone. Surely that is not our best starting 11, if it is then we are in trouble.
    I also don't get the picking of Kenneth and Whittaker, Hartley, Miller and iwelumo. They are just not not good enough really, I reserve judgement on Dixon to be honest as he was pretty decent when he was a DEE.
    Other than that I am just not thinking this squad inspires me to believe again. I hope I am wrong but this squad would barely make a good SPL side.

  • Comment number 12.

    I don't understand how some people can criticize the inclusion of Whittaker in the squad. He's an excellent bench option as he can play across the back, on the right of midfield and is in the Top Scorers table on the SPL website (the only non-attacking mid/striker to be so) making him a goal threat, something we definitely need. He might not be scintillating but he is dependable and experienced in Europe, so a good choice.

    Same goes for Miller, he's been having an excellent season and is third top scorer in the SPL, there is no way you can really leave him out. He's also an experienced international player, who can help the newer players settle in.

    I'm not saying they are 'great' players at all, I am often found raging at a miss by Miller, but the work rate and play holding up the ball as the lone striker is good and he knows how to play that game should the manager need it. Plus, at the end of the day, while there are other options (Riordan, Lee Miller, Kyle) you can hardly say any of them are a clear cut above Miller.

    All that said, this is only squad one... the future could change, as nothing in football is certain.

  • Comment number 13.

    Bruce take your 11 and add McGregor, Kenneth and Whittaker, Hartley, Miller and iwelumo to the squad that time would walk it in the SPL.

    Jim now I understand why in the excitmet ofhaving those 3 in the squad an arab could easily reach the conclusion you have but the inclusion of Alexander and the Exclusion for Riodan don't support that view. Granted thats not to say you will be right in the long just think you've jumped the gun in making that claim. Now Imo Dixion and Webster are there on merit, Kenneth on the other is in because Levein thinks he will make a Scotland player in the future but at the moment the jury is still on this. This doesn't mean he really merits the call up as he not really first pick at Utd and if Wilkie was fit he'd be 4th pick. So no, he doesn't really merit it.

    @ Doug I really see where your coming from, I still get a bit angry when i stop and think about V Gate and I remain far from impressed with atitude of the other 2. But think about it from Levein's point of view , your going to want a clean slate. Add to this Levein may rate these player and want them in his team, also he may have thought Burley was Mince and bar Vgate may have agreed with some of what the players did. Really why should Levein be hampered why thing that happen between some players and the pervious manager.

  • Comment number 14.

    note at Paisley_saint doug.

  • Comment number 15.

    I understand his willingness to pick a few of his own players but I think he's missed out a few that deserve a shot by picking too many Utd players in front of them. Saying that he's also missed out one Utd player I would've thought he'd have had on the sheet 1st... Goodwillie. I'd rather have Goodwillie than Illwemo (sp) but I also think a couple of hibs players deserved a shout as well. Over all though its a solid squad and he's tried to put his stamp on it straight away so no serious complaints from this Dons fan!

  • Comment number 16.

    I have to disagree with the theme of this article that players not good enough for big clubs are good enough for the national team. The squad should be selected solely from the OF, the EPL or the Championship. The only players who should even be considered from the SPL diddy-teams are players on loan from big clubs, Webster for example. The author wants to get a grip and find a better way to justify his BBC stipend.

  • Comment number 17.

    TheHerald wants no diddy team players included. Would that have included Willie Miller and Alex Mcleish or a David Narey when such players were romping through Europe while the Old Firm were left in their wake at that time.

    The history of the Scottish national team is littered with fine players who were never capped because OF players took preference.

    But the blog is not anti Old Firm just a recognition that it's good to see other teams efforts being recognised.

    So in my view its a welcome development to see non OF players getting their chance. And while I accept that there are others such as Darren Barr who I am also a big fan of, who would be worthy of a callup, the key fact is that Levein has made a very decent fist of his firt pick and it should cheer up the great many who follow other clubs.

  • Comment number 18.

    It really makes you laugh those who complain that new players are being brought in....well Craig was right to bring in NEW FACES because what did the other diddys do for scotland?? Nothing!...Hence we havent qualified for years for anything...Time for Change and about time scotland got rid of some of the deadwood and bring in fresh faces, Dundee United or not! Anything new must be better or a change from the previous bunch of losers, well done Craig Levein for makin the needed changes!

  • Comment number 19.

    Jim, whilst the opinion of TheHerald is misguided, I think the reference to 'diddy-teams' is aimed more at current form than past glorys. Sure Aberdeen and Dundee Utd have great historys, how many Dons would you select in place of Blackpool's Adam?
    I don't agree that the only Scottish teams with internationals should be the OF, and indeed Miller, McLeish and Narey are Scotland legends, but they were also playing against top quality European teams, not being pumped out the cup by Raith. When any Scottish team outwith the OF can stay in Europe for longer than the first two weeks of the domestic season, Levein will have his pick of players without critisism.
    Although I do agree on the Barr point, the lad should be in the squad at least, unless Levein has a mystic ball predicting a Kenneth toe-poke against Spain to secure qualification!

  • Comment number 20.

    again ...why are alot of people responding to this blog and the blog writer himself constantly going on about how scotland finally have a manager picking players outwith the old firm! ..celtic only have 4 available who have played a first team game this season ...maloney and brown being the only constant first team picks, but maloney is injured! and Brown has been picked! whilst Rangers have had 7 players picked!

    Its not that Craig Levein is looking outwith the Old firm. Its that Celtic dont have any Scottish players anymore! and i think i may be correct in saying its been a long while since 7 Rangers players have been selected for at the same time ?

  • Comment number 21.

    Adam should still be at Rangers!!!!

  • Comment number 22.

    The history of the Scottish national team is littered with fine players who were never capped because OF players took preference.
    ------------------------------------------------------------------------
    That may be Jim but OF players took preference because they were playing at a better level with more European experience. This explains why someone like Barry Robson wasn't capped as much as the Arabs thought he should be. And he's now well past his best. When Aberdeen and DUtd players were regular mainstays of the Scottish team they were challenging for titles/ cups and playing in Europe for more than a couple of pre-season friendly games a year.

    Darren Barr looks a good player but you would want to see him play with a bigger club before any call-up. Someone else mentioned Goodwillie who looks a promising boy but no more than this at this stage of his career. In fact the only non-OF SPL player I can think of that perhaps should have been in the squad and isn't is Derek Riordan

  • Comment number 23.

    I don't think Levein is is conciously making a case for smaller teams, merely doing what managers do and stick by the players they know. Purely in terms of the three players highlighted, I just think they don't deserve to be there!! Utd defence has lost 7 at Rangers, 3 at St Johnstone, 4 at Killie. This is hardly international form.

    Contrast this with Well who have lost very few goals, with Reynolds and Hammell both young talented Scottish players. Surely more worthy of a call up in my view.

    So the premise of your article that Levein is giving hope to players outside the OF is wrong. That a manager favours his old players, well its hardly worth blogging on, now is it?

  • Comment number 24.

    CircleK wrote:
    Paisley Saint Doug...

    Sounds a little like sour grapes, you say its a basic thing that the manager picks the team, but I think we can all agree Burley was hardly the best. And of course footballers pick which team they play for, just ask the Celtic to Boro masses, or any other player who has requested a transfer due to lack of playing time or disagreements with the management.
    Burley did enough himself to disrupt the Scotland team himself and although I don't agree with McCulloch or Ferguson returning (I've never liked McCulloch and I think its time for Ferguson to hang it up anyway, regardless of 'Boozegate') the return of McGregor and Boyd is vital. With the injuries that Gordon picks up and the lack of a decent goalscorer, how can we turn these guys down?

    How exactly did Burley himself disrupt the Scotland team? McCulloch made himself unavailable for selection and claimed it had nothing to do with an issue with Burley but it was because he was wanting to concentrate on club football because of his age etc... All the disruption to the Scotland squad and preparation for games was virtually caused by about 50% of the Rangers players chosen for the team plus George Peat's outburst: McCulloch doesn't want to play for Scotland again, followed by Boyd doesn't want to play for Scotland again, followed by Ferguson & McGregor's Boozegate escapades, followed by their ban, followed by them being reinstated to the bench, followed by the V-signs, followed by the life bans for the 2 of them, followed by Peat's comments, followed by Barry Ferguson giving interviews cricticising the SFA before a key game... and I've missed out the recurring saga of should Kris Boyd be invited back into the squad for games X,Y, Z even though he has already said he won't play for Burley again. None of them (McCulloch, Boyd, Ferguson, McGregor) have shown much remorse or regret for their actions which became a constant sideshow to the last campaign... months after boozegate, and v-sign gate Ferguson gave interviews on the eve of a big game.

    And when it comes to international football, players can't just swap teams if they fall out with a manager unlike in club football.

    But, let's say for the sake of argument that Burley was a bad manager, does that excuse any of the above behaviour from any of the 4 players i have mentioned? Are guys who are on £20k a week (in some cases) devoid of motivating themselves or following professional standards. Does it make it Ok for Boyd to go in a tantrum and refuse to play for Scotland again until they sack a manager he doesn't like? With Ferguson and McGregor it is not 1 incident that disqualifies them for being considered for Scotland duty: it is a catalogue of incidents over a period of months.

    I used to think Levein was a smart guy and someone with standards, but saying it is OK for those 4 guys to be considered for Scotland duty again when 2 of them turned their backs on Scotland, and 2 others are just an embarrassment to the concept of Scottish football at international level.

    Just in case you think I am being anti-Rangers, Davie Weir, Kirk Broadfoot, Kevin Thomson and Kenny Miller all came acrss as guys who at least had the right attitude to play for Scotland.

    I think Levein could have included a few guys at Hibs, and maybe Motherwell too. As has been pointed out above, the Dundee United defence hasn't been all that solid at SPL level this year, so why pick 3 Dundee united defenders for your 1st squad?

  • Comment number 25.

    McCulloch made himself unavailable before Burley had picked him in a squad, its hardly disrupting to preperations, and the chances of McCulloch being picked for Scotland at that time were slim anyway. I don't see how that's an issue.
    Boyd never stated he didn't want to play for Scotland, just while Burley was manager, nitpicking I know, but it makes a difference when a manager doesn't want you. Boyd clearly understood he wasn't getting a game for Burley and withdrew. Had he stayed on after the Iwelumo miss and not been played, the flack Burley got would have increased. Boyd simply made Burley's decision for him.
    Now I'm not defending the actions of Ferguson and McGregor during 'Boozegate' but it was clear to anyone they were scapegoats. Hutton and a few others even tried to take some of the blame, but were silenced by their clubs and the SFA. 'V-Gate' was simply an immature reaction by two players who felt they were treated unfairly. Basically giving the fingers to the teacher for being caught talking in class.
    So ill agree that 'Boozegate' caused problems, but think how easily it could have been avoided. Burley and the SFA could have repremanded the players privatly, not in the papers. The SFA could have given resonable sized bans, instead of the over-the-top 'lifetime' that has now been removed. The SFA under instructions of Burley turned a simple problem into a circus, which has been shown as the sham it was by the removal of all punishments dished out under Burley.
    If they have any sence then Ferguson and McCulloch will stay away, but you still didn't answer how we can ignore McGregor and Boyd when we clearly need them?

  • Comment number 26.

    It is refreshing to read a blog about the Scotland team with some positivity. While i don't argue with feelings expressed elsewhere about "the game falling into decline" and "downwards spiral" financially, Craig Leveins squad selection is imo something new and therefore not negative yet - at least! It has always been the dilemma. Pick players on Stock or Form. The rapidly ageing experience, or the possibly nervous potential. I would be interested to see who Simmons would pick. Your oldfirm numbers are correct but as someone else already pointed out, most of those players were bought by the old firm on account of their being the best in the SPL. Levein has clearly picked players he knows. Not just at Dundee United but playing in the league he knows. Once he has seen more championship games which i believe he has in the diary, he will have a wider group to chose from, and not only on account of their getting a game at a team that pays more than £1000 a week. And the Iwelumo bashing is a bit boring especially from someone who can't have seen him play much if they can't spell his name. He missed one easy chance. I have seen both Millers, McFadden, Boyd, Kyle and Steve Fletcher miss equally simple chances having had longer on the pitch in less pressured games. I'm sure the Hibees will confirm that Riordan doesn't bury them all either. Iwelumo was one of the top goalscorers in the championship, partly responsible for promotion to the Premiership. Only Kenny Miller can lay a similar claim, and he seems to be one of our top3 choices.. Iwelumo could still prove to be a mistake, but nothing proven yet, not by any striker.

  • Comment number 27.

    Jim, I appreciate your proudness as a Dundonian to see 3 United players in the squad, but this reeks of favouritism by Levein. Kenneth always has been and always will be at best a carthorse and it defies all belief why he is in the squad. I know Scotland isn't exactly blessed with brilliant defenders but this guy is a complete joke and, through that particular selection alone, I fear for Scotland under Levein. Also, as somebody else mentioned, if Levein is going to pick some of his United boys then why in the name of the wee man is Goodwillie not in the squad ??? If anybody in a United shirt deserves to be in the squad it's him.

  • Comment number 28.

    In response to the author's comments.

    The early 80's was a time when players wages at ManU or Rangers were more or less the same as at Dundee Utd. A first team squad would have 14 or 15 players with little or no squad rotation. This meant that the good players were spread fairly evenly throughout the Scottish Premier League teams. These days the SPL diddy-teams only have players not good enough for bigger clubs, therefore definitely not good enough for international football. The author is advocating a kind of quota system that will condemn our national team to another generation of failure.

  • Comment number 29.

    TheHerald, You have a jaundiced view of everything outside of the Old Firm. Just exactly who are the diddy teams in your opinion. Everyone but Celtic and Rangers ?

    How can you possibly say that players at other clubs are not good enough for bigger clubs since you have no idea when they might end up at a bigger club. Was Kris Boyd a diddy player at Kilmarnock ? did he suddenly become a top goalscorerat Rangers ? No they bought him because he could score goals at a smaller club. That's just one example.

    I'm not advocating any kind of quota system, but your negativity over Levein's first squad suggests that you don't really care too much about the Scotland squad unless its full of your favourites. That kind of qualified support is no support at all.

  • Comment number 30.

    Response to comments by the author.

    Lashing out at me for holding a different view from yourself does not make your position any less wrong. I am stating that only players who are playing at a high enough level should be considered for the national team. Just as players from Division 1 are not considered for selection I would extend this quality gate to exclude players from the SPL diddy-teams. What if one of the diddy-teams develops a hot young talent I hear you ask; that is easily dealt with as, these days, talented players in the SPL are transfered in their teens or early 20's to bigger clubs which meet the criteria. Long gone are the days when genuine international class players would be happy to see out a career at the likes of Aberdeen or Dundee Utd or any other of the diddy-teams.

  • Comment number 31.

    TheHerald...a bit touchy to suggest that someone holding a different view is lashing out at you. I notice you haven't told us just who you regard so scathingly as diddy teams, but it looks like every team in Scotland except the Old Firm.

    Incidentally, my position is neither right nor wrong, it's just a view, just like yours. and the beauty of a view is that it is open to persuasion by reasoned argument.

    But reasoned argument isn't describing every team outside of your own as a diddy team.

  • Comment number 32.

    I commented before on TheHerald's use of 'diddy-teams' and at the time thought it was a joking term for the teams near the foot of the SPL, but now I see he really means it. I don't think its wrong to refer to the bottom SPL club as a 'diddy-team' for the duration of their stay there, but I can't see any reason for thinking all teams outwith the OF are such.
    Its possible that Barr was left out in favour of Kenneth simply because of league position, and if that were true, then surely its Levein who is setting a quota?

  • Comment number 33.

    TheHerald: I am stating that only players who are playing at a high enough level should be considered for the national team.

    So presumably you're excluding Rangers and Celtic players too then? After all, they're playing just as many European games as any other SPL team at the moment, i.e. none. Rangers and Celtic's European forays this season only proved that they cannot compete at that level at the moment, placing them in the same position as Aberdeen, Motherwell, Hearts and Falkirk. If anything, perhaps only players who didn't play in Europe this season should be picked, as there's no proof they are as terrible against higher-calibre opposition?

    I'm not even joking here, not really anyway. As far as I'm concerned, the SPL is of a considerably lower standard than the Championship. Anyone playing in the EPL should be an automatic choice, followed by those playing regularly for the top-half teams in the Championship. After that, players in the lower Championship teams and ALL SPL teams should be considered equals.

    It should be remembered that Rangers and Celtic players are the only ones who don't face OF teams 6 or 7 times per season. If the Old Firm are so great, then non-OF players who perform well against them should actually be considered as more impressive than the OF players themselves. Alternatively, we could just acknowledge that a good player is a good player, regardless of who he plays for. Then maybe they wouldn't feel the need to move to the OF or England to sit on the bench for half the season, and ruin their great form and possibly their career.

 

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