Ranked! The 10 best Scottish players ever

Andy Robertson, best Scottish players ever
(Image credit: PA)

Who are the best Scottish players ever? Everyone will have a different opinion, but here's our stab at answering a difficult question.   

Most of our list involves casting an eye back in time, but we kick things off with a present-day great plying his trade south of the border...

Best Scottish players ever: 10. Andy Robertson

best left backs

(Image credit: PA Images)

The current Scotland captain might be a controversial inclusion, but it’s easy to take a great player for granted in the moment.

When the relentless, rampaging left-back eventually hangs up his boots, he’ll be able to look back on his career with some pride – with his journey from amateur side Queen’s Park, after rejection from boyhood heroes Celtic, to Liverpool now well-known.  

Robertson led his country out of the international wilderness to last summer’s Euros, can point to Champions League and Premier League winner’s medals and does a power of work in the community with his own charity.

Robbo has earned his placed amongst the greats.

9. Gordon Strachan

Gordon Strachan

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Like Souness, it’s easy to think of Strachan’s witty sound-bites as a punchy pundit and forget about his achievements as a player.

Fondly remembered by supporters of Aberdeen, Manchester United and Leeds for his domestic and European accomplishments, he represented Scotland at two World Cups.

One highlight was a great goal against Germany in the 1986 World Cup against West Germany. Followed by a celebration when the 5ft 6in Strachan failed to hurdle the advertising board, so decided to rest his leg on it instead. 

8. Dave Mackay

Proud captain of Scotland at age 23, in October 1958

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One for younger supporters to Google, Dave Mackay signed for nearby Hearts just seven years after the end of the Second World War.

A trophy-laden spell at Tynecastle caught the eye of Tottenham – where he won the league title, three FA Cups and the 1963 European Cup Winners’ Cup.

Hugely respected by his peers, he would have won far more than 22 caps for Scotland had it not been for two serious leg breaks. 

7. Billy Bremner

Billy Bremner Leeds

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A genuine all-time Scotland great, Bremner was one of the Wembley Wizards who saw off England in 1967. 

He can also lay claim to being an undefeated Scotsman at the World Cup, having captained his country to draws against Yugoslavia and Brazil, alongside a win over Zaire in 1974, only to go out on goal difference.

Tenacious and technically gifted in equal measure. 

6. Jimmy Johnstone

Jimmy Johnstone

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The maverick’s maverick, ‘Jinky’ Johnstone was one of the most gifted players to ever pull on the dark blue of Scotland. 

A famous night out in Largs led to him drifting out to sea in the early hours of the morning but it didn’t prevent him turning on the style in a 2-0 win over England a week later. 

Another member of Celtic’s famous Lisbon Lions side, he remains a darling of the Tartan Army.

5. Billy McNeill

Billy McNeill

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Cesar was a giant of a man, on and off the pitch.

He is arguably the most influential player in Celtic’s history, having played nearly 500 times for The Hoops and amassing 23 trophies. 

Not least captaining them to the European Cup in 1967, when they became the first British club to lift the trophy. 

4. Jim Baxter 

Jim Baxter

(Image credit: PA)

Quite simply, a born entertainer. One of the most talented players Scotland has ever produced. 

‘Slim Jim’ is perhaps best known for his role in the 3-2 win over then-world champions England, which included him winding up the home crowd and opposition by doing keepy-ups in open play.

Baxter secured 10 trophies for Rangers during a successful five-year spell in the 60s, and was blessed with rare technical ability.  

3. Graeme Souness

Graeme Souness

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Younger supporters might know Graeme Souness better for his hard-hitting opinions as a TV pundit, but there was no denying his class as a midfielder. 

Hard as nails he may have been, but shouldn’t overshadow his ability to dictate play – not least for the great Liverpool team of the 1980s. 

His 54 caps for Scotland included appearances at three World Cups, with three European Cups to his name.

2. Denis Law

Denis Law

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The Lawman is the only Scot to have ever won the Ballon d’Or (1964) and is joint-top scorer with Kenny Dalglish for the national team.

Impressively, he scored his 30 goals in just 52 international appearances – and had a welcome knack for scoring against the Auld Enemy. 

Dennis Bergkamp would reveal that he was named after the Aberdonian, with a Dutch registrar refusing to accept one ‘n’ in Denis. 

1. Kenny Dalglish

England vs Scotland

(Image credit: PA Images)

Known simply as ‘King Kenny’ north of the border, you won’t find many who will dispute his ranking as top Scot.

Dalglish is Scotland’s most capped player (102) and top scorer (30), and can look back with pride at representing his country at three World Cups.

He is a living legend at Celtic Park and Anfield – with three European Cups and enough domestic honours to fill a few mantlepieces – but that hardly does the man justice. 

Following the Hillsborough tragedy, he took so much on his shoulders to care for a club and a community. 

Iconic is, at times, an overused word in football. Kenny Dalglish is iconic.  

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Conor Pope
Online Editor

Conor Pope is the former Online Editor of FourFourTwo, overseeing all digital content. He plays football regularly, and has a large, discerning and ever-growing collection of football shirts from around the world.

He supports Blackburn Rovers and holds a season ticket with south London non-league side Dulwich Hamlet. His main football passions include Tugay, the San Siro and only using a winter ball when it snows.