The Great Quartet of Scottish Managers

Barney CorkhillSenior Writer INovember 11, 2008

If you were to compile a list of countries which produce great players, Scotland, I guess, would be quite low down on your list.

Despite producing players such as Kenny Dalglish and Jim Baxter, the Scots aren't known for producing greats.

However, if you were to get into the realm of management, then very few countries could compare with Scotland. England has had Brian Clough, Bob Paisley, and Alf Ramsey. Italy has had Fabio Capello, Marcello Lippi, and Arrigo Sacchi. Many other countries have had many other great managers.

Still, none can compare to the Scots.

If a list was made of the greatest managers the game has ever seen, four Scottish managers would be almost shoe-ins for a top 10 spot: Sir Matt Busby, Bill Shankly, Jock Stein, and Sir Alex Ferguson.

Between them they have amassed 109 years of managerial experience, taking charge of over 5000 games. They have won a total of 34 league titles, 24 FA Cups (or Scottish equivalent), and four European Cups.

All four of them have not only gone down in the history of their own clubs, but in world football.

Busby's greatest achievement came in 1968 as, 10 years after the Munich Air Disaster, he led Manchester United to the European Cup—a feat so many perished in pursuit of a decade earlier.

Shankly never managed to get a European Cup, but he created a team feared throughout Europe, and dominant in England, an incredible accomplishment considering Liverpool were a struggling Second Division side when the great Scot took over.

Stein's high point was also in the European Cup as, in 1967, he led his Lisbon Lions to victory over Inter Milan to claim the trophy. The most amazing part of that story, however, is that all of Celtic's team was born within 30 miles of Glasgow.

It completed a quadruple season for Celtic, and made Celtic the first British team to win the European Cup. After the match, Shankly said to Stein, "John, you're immortal now."

Another high point for Stein was winning nine consecutive league titles.

Sir Alex Ferguson's greatest achievement came in 1999 when he led Manchester United to a historic treble. The other nine Premier League title wins, in addition to last season's European Cup, also proved very special moments for him.

The four men, especially Busby, Shankly, and Stein (for they managed at the same time) were great friends, and part of a breed of tough, abrasive Scottish managers.

I don't know what I would say if I were asked which was the better manager of the four, but they would all certainly be in my top 10 managers of all time.

Let's just hope that Scotland continue to produce great managers who will go down in world football history. Here's to the next generation!