7th September 2002. A date that will leave scars wounded in Scottish football fans from all places. It was to be the day that Scotland lost its creditability as a footballing nation. Never before had things been so bad.
Why the need to look back now? We are in another new phase with the national team yet again, with Craig Levein. He is our seventh manager in charge in ten years. Scottish Football is supposedly at a low ebb too according to the pundits with Levein trying to restore faith to the national side following poor results under previous manager, George Burley. Our clubs in Europe too have had dismal affairs in Europe, getting beaten by teams from countries like Albania and Liechtenstein.
But nothing can surely be as bad as that Saturday afternoon on the windswept pitch known as the Toftir Stadium. The question is, what happened to that doomed team that drew 2-2 with the Faroes?
Where are they now? – Scotland Starting 11 Team:
Robert Douglas (GK, age 37, Dundee): At the time, was the first choice keeper for Celtic. He had his moments for club and indeed country but also made high profile errors in big matches too. Hardly to blame for the two goals conceded against the Faroes, the big keeper went on to play for the national jersey for three more years. His Celtic career never really recovered after being sent off at half time in a tunnel brawl during the UEFA Cup first leg match against Barcelona. After a poor spell at Leicester City, he is now back at his former club, Dundee where he is part of a team challenging for promotion to the SPL.
Maurice Ross (RB, age 29, Beijing Guaon) Then at Rangers, Ross is just another name in a long list of players that had potential at Ibrox but subsequently failed to make it. This performance in the Faroe Islands certainly didn’t help but just being a youngster at the time, saved the abuse that went to Dailly and Weir. Lasted just one more year in a Scotland top with a final appearance against the Netherlands in a humiliating 6-0 defeat in the European Championships Play offs. Has tried to broaden his career out and has had spells playing in Norway and Turkey. After a brief spell playing for Aberdeen, he is now playing in China, a long way from his early Rangers and Scotland prospects.
Stephen Crainey (LB, age 28, Blackpool) – Another youngster like Ross who failed to make it at a big club only this was in the Green half of Glasgow. Had such a poor game against the Faroes, that he only made two more international appearances at an age where he should have been pushing to become an international regular. A move out of Celtic led him to Southampton and Leeds United, both big clubs, but he is now at Blackpool in the English Championship, and is playing decent football in a team currently occupying the top half of the Championship.
Christian Dailly (CB, age 36, Charlton) – Among those criticised by manager, Berti Vogts in the wake of those games, Dailly ignored this and continued to be a Scotland regular for six more years proving to be a real stalwart for his country. Though he is not a star player by any means, his hard working approach in playing for his country earned him 67 caps, and an entry into the Scottish Hall of Fame. He is now playing at Charlton in English League One, and at a former Premiership club is trying to help the club get out of the division.
David Weir (CB, age 39, Rangers) – After being singled out by Vogts for a poor performance in the wake of this match, Weir retired from International Football. However he has completely defied everyone and his career has taken him to extended heights. He returned to international football in 2005 when Walter Smith became Scotland manager. Now almost at the age of 40, he is still available for selection. Walter Smith signed him for Rangers in 2007 and he is still a first choice centre back at Ibrox, and may even play on for next season.
Paul Dickov (RM, age 37, Leeds United) – Played out of position for this match. A good centre forward on his day, but his Scotland career will almost certainly be remembered just for this match. Dickov was so bad, that he was replaced at half time by Steven Crawford. He actually went on to score against the Faroes in the return match at Hampden, in a 3-1 win just a year later. However, as a player he will overall be remembered for being a good striker at club level where he performed well for Leicester City and Blackburn Rovers. He is now at Leeds United, aiming to help the team win promotion back to the Championship.
Barry Ferguson (age 32, Birmingham City) – The ‘Boozegate’ affair left his Scotland career in tatters, but there was once a time when this man was one of the players that team mates looked up to. He is reported to have lost his nerve at half time along with Paul Lambert, and as it was, the Old Firm pair both went on to score the second half goals that saved Scotland from probably the worst defeat in their international history. Carried on playing for Scotland, before in 2009, was banned from International Football in the Boozegate affair that is certainly another story in its own. He is now being tempted to rejoin the international set up by new manager, Craig Levein but for the time being he has proven to be a fine midfielder in an impressive season for Birmingham City in the Premiership.
Paul Lambert (age, 39, retired) – Was brought back to International Football by Berti Vogts, having previously retired, the talents of Lambert proved to be one of the few bright points of a doomed reign. His goal in the second half of this match gave Scotland something to build upon, and he carried on playing for a further year before Scotland were knocked out of the European Championship Qualifying. After a superb career, he retired from playing football four years ago, and he is now manager of Norwich City in English League One, looking set to win the league.
Allan Johnston (age, 36, St Mirren) – Never played another Scotland game after this match. Another one of the players that failed to realise his potential and his club career also went down the pan, having failed to break through into the Middlesborough first team. After a stint with Kilmarnock, he is now a squad player at St Mirren and is likely to be in the squad for their cup final against his former club Rangers at Hampden on Sunday.
Scott Dobie (age 31, Carlisle United) – Quite how this striker started international games for Scotland is open to debate, but it was clear from day one that he was never an international striker. However this was during an impressive spell at West Bromwich Albion, when he rose to the international plate. His Scotland career never lasted and neither did his career. He is now playing in English League One, at his former team Carlisle, probably at his standard.
Kevin Kyle (age, 28, Kilmarnock) – This man was a player that was seriously affected by this dismal showing. Kyle has had to work hard to get his career back on track, after leaving Sunderland. Had spells in the English Football Leagues which never lasted but a move to Kilmarnock during the January transfer window of 2009 gave his career a turn for the better. He scored the goals to keep the club up, and though this season he still continues to be the big target man at Rugby Park. An international recall also came, winning another cap in a bad defeat against Wales last November. However, there is still room for more caps in the near future, if he continues to be impressive for Kilmarnock.