Until the end of March, The Away End are searching for the 100 greatest players in Scottish football history. Ewan McQueen is next to make his choices.
After much deliberating, I have finally come to a decision on who should make my team for The Away End’s Scot 100.
I could easily have filled a few teams and many top quality players have unfortunately had to be left on the sidelines.
Like many others contributing to the search, I have decided to limit my search to those I have seen play in the flesh in Scotland.
Being only 20 that does constrain me somewhat, but I still like to think I have seen enough quality players in the last 15 years to make sure I create a team that would be unbeatable.
Playing in a 4-4-2 formation, this eleven would be a match for any other eleven from any era.
Goalkeeper: Stefan Klos
The German goalkeeper had huge boots to fill when he arrived at Ibrox in 1998 to replace nine in a row legend Andy Goram between the sticks.
But he barely made a mistake during his nine years in Govan, saving Rangers on numerous occasions with his brilliant shot-stopping ability and commanding presence in goal.
As a youngster, he was an idol for me personally as I failed miserably at trying to emulate his sprawling saves and brilliant reactions down the local park.
Right Back: Fernando Ricksen
You either loved or loathed the Dutchman during his six year spell at Rangers and I come down on the former side.
His debut was one to forget, being ran ragged by Bobby Petta in an Old Firm game, but Ricksen was soon to cement his place in Rangers history.
He was hardly the most technically gifted but with his marauding runs up the park and his never say die attitude, Ricksen even six years on is sorely missed in Scottish football.
He was a magnificent servant for Rangers who always wore his heart on his sleeve and something that has largely been forgotten is the fact that he was a wonderful Rangers captain during the season of 2004/2005, where they lifted the title on that famous ‘Helicopter Sunday’.
Centre Back: Franck Sauzee
The Frenchman may have only spent two years with Hibs, but is arguably one of the greatest ever players to wear the Hibs shirt.
Leading from the back as captain Sauzee was instrumental in guiding Hibs back to the SPL in his first season and then in 2001, he also led them to a 3rd place finish in the SPL and the Scottish Cup final.
He was effortlessly calm with the ball at his feet and he was never afraid to put his head in where it hurt, once scoring a goal against Hearts after being knocked out by an opponent.
He might not have transformed his success with Hibs as a player into his managerial reign at the club, but he will always be a hero to the legions of Hibees.
Centre Back: Johan Mjallby
For me the Swede was a key part in why Martin O’Neill’s Celtic side did so well in the period 2000-2005.
Coming from the school of hard knocks, to quote a cliché, Mjallby made sure the Celtic defence along with other bruisers Bobo Balde and Joos Valgaren.
Particularly during the Uefa Cup run Celtic had in 2003, Mjallby coped brilliantly with top strikers such as Michael Owen of Liverpool with his no-nonsense style of heading.
He was hardly pretty to watch, but he was a key cog in Martin O’Neill’s Celtic machine.
Left Back: Sasa Papac
A surprising choice perhaps but the Bosnian has been an unsung hero for Rangers since joining in 2006.
Whilst he had a miserable start to his career at Ibrox under Paul Le Guen as a centre back, Walter Smith came in and re-invented himself as a superb left-back, rarely putting a foot wrong.
Whilst he is a quiet man, he does his talking on the park and has become Mr Reliable for Rangers.
Right Midfielder: Rudi Skacel
Another surprising choice perhaps but in the early part of 2005 Skacel was simply sensational as Hearts romped to the top of the table under George Burley.
With his bursting runs from midfield, often culminating in fine finishes, Skacel was arguably one of the best creative players in Britain at this time.
Whilst his form certainly dipped after Burley left, Skacel has since proven during his second spell at Tynecastle that he still has it, with a recent hat-trick against St Mirren a highlight.
Centre Midfield: Paul Gascoigne
When I first started watching Rangers, Gazza was my hero. He was simply mesmerising to watch.
In many games, Gazza barely did anything, appearing dis-interested but then suddenly he would produce a moment of sheer brilliance.
A wonderful example of this was in the title decider against Aberdeen in April 1996. Rangers were toiling in a game they had to win to complete their 8th title in a row.
The third goal that the Englishman scored was brilliant as he ran just about the whole length of Ibrox and slotted home.
If there is one word to sum Gazza up it has to be genius.
Centre Mid: Lubo Moravcik
Much like Gascoigne, the Czechoslovakian was a genius who lit up Scottish football for four years between 1998-2002.
He formed a superb link-up with Henrik Larsson and in a difficult spell for the Parkhead club, he provided many brilliant moments.
Two goals in a 5-1 demolition of Rangers in 1998, were a highlight for a player that was plucked from relative obscurity but went on to become a legend at Celtic.
Left Midfielder: Brian Laudrup
The Dane was arguably Walter Smith’s best ever signing as Rangers manager. When you consider the amount of people Smith bought, that is some statement.
Over his 116 appearances in four years, Laudrup proved that he was simply too good for the SPL.
Laudrup was simply a complete footballer with a great ability to spot passes that no one else could and a great eye for goal as well.
The Laudrup final in the Scottish Cup of 1996 is arguably one of the greatest individual performances I have ever seen.
Striker: Henrik Larsson
The Swede was a remarkable striker who in my opinion is still vastly under-rated.
He scored an unbelievable 242 goals in 315 games for Celtic, which would suggest he was a mere penalty box poacher.
Larsson was so much more than that. He linked up brilliantly with his strike partners whether it was Mark Viduka, Chris Sutton or John Hartson and created endless chances for them too.
He had the ability to take a game and turn it in his teams favour in the blink of an eye, something only a special player could do.
His performance for Celtic albeit in a losing cause against Porto in the Uefa Cup final in 2003, where he scored two was sublime.
Striker: Kris Boyd
Kris Boyd is a remarkable footballer. He can’t run. He can’t tackle. He can’t really jump. And he does as little movement as possible. So why has he got the final spot in my team? Because Kris Boyd, in the SPL scored goals for fun for both Kilmarnock and Rangers.
Boyd lived for goals and I loved that about him. Infact, I was there on both occasions when he scored five in an SPL match; firstly for Kilmarnock in 2004 and then Rangers in 2009 both against Dundee United.
When he did it for Rangers in 2009, on that evening he also broke Larsson’s SPL goalscoring record, a superb achievement for a footballer who didn’t have the all round game of Larsson.
What a great trawl back through the SPL that was and I hope you agree that this would be a team well worth paying some good money to see!
RICKSEN SAUZEE MJALLBY PAPAC
SKACEL GASCOIGNE MORAVCIK LAUDRUP