The changing of his Twitter name to #Shorty, in response to Gordon Strachan’s comments about his height, would indicate Celtic striker Leigh Griffiths is far from pleased with the national team boss. A clash of personalities within the Scotland camp is something we’ve become used to in the past 20 years, and here’s hoping the Griffiths-Strachan situation doesn’t become quite as critical as these following instances...
Craig Levein and Steven Fletcher refuse to speak
This is a cautionary tale for those demanding Leigh Griffiths start every game for Scotland. Only four years ago, there was a similar outcry for Fletcher to be recalled, as many viewed his impressive form for Wolves as proof he was the solution to all our problems. The falling out began when Fletcher sent Levein a text message - as anyone who has ever bottled it out of a break-up can admit, this is not a classy move - saying he didn’t want to be picked for a friendly with Northern Ireland. Levein issued his own statement 15 months later, saying Fletcher’s chance to reverse his decision had gone. It took until Levein was sacked for Fletcher to finally return to the international fold. After which, Scottish results pretty much stayed the same.
Barry Ferguson and Allan McGregor enrage George Burley
Ah, Boozegate. Seeing as the national team has been largely dreadful for the past 15 years, this ranks fairly high in the most memorable Scotland moments of recent times. For those of you unfamiliar with the tale, it centres on two players dropped by their manager for having an eight-hour drinking session in between two international games. They then react to their punishment by sticking up middle fingers and V-signs to cameras and, by extension, the Scottish public watching on television at the next match. It spelled the end of Barry Ferguson’s international (and Rangers) career, while McGregor wouldn’t play under Burley again.
Kris Boyd refuses to play for George Burley
The former Hearts and Ipswich manager was only in charge of Scotland for 22 months, but he sure managed to fit a lot of controversy into that time. Before Boozegate, there was his public falling out with Kris Boyd, who retired from international football after becoming enraged at the lack of opportunities in the starting XI, culminating in a 0-0 draw with Norway where Boyd watched on from the bench as Chris Iwelumo, brought on in place of him, blazed high and wide when presented with an open goal. He returned to play for Craig Levein, picking a further three caps.
Bertie Vogts alienates David Weir
Trying desperately to excuse the selection of Scott Dobie and Kevin Kyle after Scotland’s 2-2 draw with the Faroe Islands, Vogts pointed the finger of blame firmly in the direction of David Weir and Christian Dailly. “Dailly and Weir disappointed me. They were to blame for the goals we conceded, not the youngsters,” said a defiant Vogts. Admittedly, Scotland’s defending in the Faroes that day was dreadful, but the problems with the team were far from limited to a spotty back-line. The comments backfired spectacularly when, less than a month later, Weir told the German he never wanted to be considered for international selection again as long as he was manager. After Walter Smith replaced Vogts as national team head coach, Weir quickly returned to the Scotland set-up.
Richard Gough hits two gaffers with one book
As you’ve probably noticed, players who fall out with their national team boss at least have the fall back of returning when the manager is sacked. And seeing as this is Scotland we’re talking about, it occurs fairly regularly. Unfortunately for Gough, not only did he play in an era where managers lasted longer than your average pint of milk, he decided to annoy consecutive chiefs will one ill-advised move. While ripping into Scotland boss Andy Roxburgh in his 1993 autobiography, the Rangers captain also went after assistant Craig Brown, who would go on to take over from Roxburgh and never considered Gough for selection throughout his reign, despite the centre-back reversing his decision to retire from international football.