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St Andrew's Day: SAFC Scottish XI

Since today is St Andrews Day we thought that we'd commemorate it by selecting a starting eleven comprising only of Scottish players that have represented Sunderland over the years - and there have been many! (Apologies in advance for the awful Scottish slang words that I only picked up from reading Broons annuals as a kid that are just shoe-horned in...)

Allan Johnston celebrates
'Magic' Allan Johnston celebrates scoring for Sunderland

GK: Ned Doig

It would have been difficult to select anyone other than Ned Doig in between the sticks in this team. Having spent fourteen years on Wearside, Doig was a regular for the entirety of his time at the club, making 457 appearances in first-class competitions for Sunderland and winning four league championships in the process.

Fun fact - Doig was also in goal when Sunderland beat Hearts 5-3 in the 1895 Football World Championship. Interestingly, all 22 of the players on the pitch that day were Scottish!

DC: Dick Malone

Alright, I know that Dick Malone was a right back but he would have done just fine on the right hand side of a middle three.

Sunderland v Leeds United - FA Cup Third Round
Dick Malone (far left) pictured with members of the 1973 Cup winning team
Photo by Stu Forster/Getty Images

The Carfin-born defender arrived in Sunderland from Ayr United in 1970 and never looked back, playing his part in the team that won the FA Cup final against Leeds United in 1973. Though much of Malone's time at Sunderland was spent in the second division he was a consistent player and still remains integral to the club this day, frequently seen at home games and taking part in talk-ins around the region.

DC: John MacPhail

John McPhail, like Malone, spent most of his Sunderland career outside of the top flight - in fact, he played just once in the first division for the lads - but was seen as a dependable defender who could take a decent penalty to boot.

14 of MacPhail's Sunderland goals were penalties, and despite only spending three years at the club he played his part in some memorable games, most notably the playoff semi final victory over Newcastle at St James Park in 1990.

DC: Jimmy Watson

Born a stones-throw away from Dick Malone in Motherwell, Jimmy Watson was a wing-half - effectively a left defender that played wider - so he would have had any trouble slotting alongside Malone and MacPhail in our defensive line.

He was a team mate of our goalkeeper too, playing his part in Sunderland's top flight league championship win in the 1901/1902 season, and was allegedly considered one of the greatest defenders of his time in the country. Watson made 227 appearances for Sunderland in a eight-year period before leaving to finish off his career down the road at Middlesbrough.

LM: Jim Baxter

'Slim' Jim Baxter was a man of his era - having won it all as a Glasgow Rangers player, his drinking and womanising ways became too much for the Ibrox club and he was transferred to Sunderland in 1965, spending two years on Wearside playing alongside club legends such as Jim Montgomery, Charlie Hurley and Len Ashurst.

Being the true Scotsman that he is, Baxter became well known during his time on Wearside for drinking himself unconscious the night before a match and playing well the next day.

'Och, ma heed!'

CM: Ian Porterfield

Ian Porterfield simply has to take a spot in this team for bringing the Sunderland people perhaps their greatest ever moment when he slammed home the only goal of the 1973 FA Cup final against Leeds United.

After Leeds failed to deal with a Billy Hughes corner, the ball fell perfectly to Porterfield ten yards out from goal. Controlling the ball with his left thigh, he swung an unstoppable right footed shot at David Harvey in the Leeds United net to put Sunderland ahead in the 31st minute of the game.

Porterfield is the only member of that cup-winning team to have since passed on but the fabulous memories he created that day with his goal will live on forever - having spent ten years at the club and helping us to one of our most prominent achievements, it would be remiss of me not to include him in this eleven.

CM: Alex Rae

"Oh Alex Rae, Alex Alex Alex Rae, Alex Alex Alex Rae, Alex Alex Alex Raaaaaaaaaae..."

Alex Rae was hard as nails, classy and combative and, in his prime, I can't think of anyone better to have shoring up this midfield than the wee Glaswegian warrior.

Rather criminally, Rae never received a full cap for Scotland. If anything it shows you just how good the Tartan Army were during the late 90s - the version of Alex Rae that played for Sunderland from 1998 until about 2000 would walk into their current team.

RM: Bobby Kerr

As the last man to captain Sunderland to a major cup victory, Bobby Kerr remains one of Sunderland's most favourite adopted sons.

In a twelve-year spell at the club Kerr made 433 appearances, amazing considering the fact he broke his leg twice right at the beginning of his Sunderland career.

He slots into this team on the right hand side of our midfield - expect plenty of graft and bite!

LW: Allan Johnston

'Magic' Johnston was simply a joy to watch and his participation in Sunderland's title winning side of 1998/1999 was simply immense.

Jinking effortlessly inside from the left, Johnston would frequently burst the opposition's net with his rocket of a right foot and in the early days at the Stadium of Light it was Johnston who I used to love watching more than any of the other Sunderland players - praise indeed when you consider just how good that team was back then.

You can imagine how disappointed that I was when he left the club, so it makes sense that I’d bring him back into the Sunderland fold with his inclusion on the left hand side of this team.

ST: David Halliday

David Halliday was a record-breaking striker when playing for Sunderland and it only seems fair that he is handed the lone striking berth up top in my side.

Halliday's record of 165 goals in 175 games - the highest goal-per-games ratio in the club's existence - is quite simply outstanding and it's fair to say that it will never be broken.

His tally of 43 goals in the 1928-29 season holds the record for most goals scored by a Sunderland player in a single season, whilst Halliday scored more hattricks (12) than any other player in the clubs history too. How much would a player like that be worth to us these days? Jings!

RW: George Mulhall

Charlie Hurley cannot speak highly enough of George Mulhall and, well, who are we to argue with the King?

Talking about Mulhall, Hurley said:

George was a fantastic crosser of the ball, and a terrific left foot corner taker. He curled them well out, I would go in close, back off to get the space and enable my run and jump, so he made most of my goals.

Alright, Mulhall was an outside left but sometimes you have to accommodate players and whilst magic Johnston was right-footed, he would have been nowhere near as effective playing on the right so, unfortunately, Mr Mulhall is going to have to take up a less-familar role on that side of the pitch if he's to make this side.

Mulhall spent seven years at the club, making 289 appearances, and still holds the club record for most consecutive appearances made (125).

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