Scottish football’s record appearance holders

Willie Miller lifts the Scottish Cup in 1984 following Aberdeen's victory over Celtic
Willie Miller lifts the Scottish Cup in 1984 following Aberdeen's victory over Celtic
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Which players hold the record for the most number of appearances at Scotland’s top clubs?

They are the players whose names were the first on the team sheet. The ever-depenables who managers could trust to deliver a solid performance, week-in, week-out.

Gary Mackay in action for Hearts in 1993. He played more than 500 league games for the Tynecastle side.

Gary Mackay in action for Hearts in 1993. He played more than 500 league games for the Tynecastle side.

Each of these players holds the record for most league appearances at their respective clubs. The majority also hold the record for total matches played in all competitions.

Many are defenders, proving their worth and consistency.

ABERDEEN - WILLE MILLER, 560 (1972-1990)

In a Pittodrie career spanning almost two decades, Miller racked up almost 800 games in all competitions, 560 in the league. Not only that, but the Glasgow-born central defender captained the Dons during their most succesful ever era, including the 1983 European Cup Winner’s Cup final victory over Real Madrid.

Arthur Duncan of Hibernian in 1971.

Arthur Duncan of Hibernian in 1971.

CELTIC - ALEC McNAIR, 583 (1904-1925)

McNair, a defender, turned out 583 times in the league for Celtic between 1904 and 1925. Signed from Stenhousemuir, he was a key part of the team that won six consecutive league titles for the Parkhead club from 1904-05 to 1909-10. He made his final appearance in a Hoops jersey aged 41 in 1925. McNair was known for his ability to dribble the ball out of danger at a time when most players would opt for a long clearance. Billy McNeil, Celtic’s European Cup-winning captain, holds the club record for most appearances in all competitions with 822 - including 72 European matches.

DUNDEE - BARRY SMITH, 400 (1995-2006)

Dens Park captain from 1997-2006, it’s fair to say Smith saw a lot during his Dark Blues career which coincided with the Marr brother’s ownership of the club and their high-spending transfer policy. The Paisley-born defender signed from Celtic in 1995 and led Dundee to the 2004 Scotish Cup final.


Narey will be remembered for his superb goal for Scotland against Brazil in the 1982 World Cup finals, but to United fans he will always be their captain fantastic during the club’s glory years in the late 1970s and 1980s. The versatile player, a Dundee native, could handle defensive or midfield roles and had the honour of becoming the first United player to be capped for Scotland. He made more than 800 competitive appearances in total.


Goalkeeper Ferguson broke into the Hamilton side as the Accies found themselves in the new Division One following league reconstruction. Several years of mid-table finishes followed for the Douglas Park club, but the ever-dependable Ferguson eventually saw promotion in 1987.

HEARTS - GARY MACKAY, 516 (1980-1997)

Lifelong Hearts fan Mackay was the engine room of the Hearts midfield for more than a decade, and was a key part of the team that narrowly missed out on the 1986 league title to Celtic. He won four Scotland caps at the end of the decade and is still celebrated in the Republic of Ireland as the man who scored the winning goal for the Scots in a match in Bulgaria - a result that sent the Irish to Euro 88.

HIBERNIAN - ARTHUR DUNCAN, 446 (1969-1984)

Signed from Partick Thistle, Duncan prowled the left wing for Hibs throughout the club’s successful spell in the early 1970s under manager Eddie Turnbull. His career spanned the downturn in the club’s fortunes in the late ‘70s but he was part of the side that won promotion back to the Premier League in 1980.


Tokley’s years in the Highland capital saw the Caley Jags climb from the Third Division to become top flight regulars. The right-back from Aberdeen was until recently playing for Highland League club Brora Rangers.


A tough-tackling right back, Robertson signed from Troon Juniors and made his debut against Rangers in 1972. He was part of no less than four promotion-winning sides. Following his retirement from playing, Robertson became a successful Rugby Park youth coach and led the club to the 2004 Scottish Youth Cup.


Although little known outside of Fir Park circles today, Bob Ferrier holds the record for most appearances in the Scottish league, as well as being one of its top 10 goalscorers. The Englishman was captain of the Motherwell side that won the 1931-32 title.


One of the best-known Scottish goalkeepers of the post-war era, Rough played more than 600 games for the Jags and was a member of the 1974 League Cup winning side that defeated Celtic 4-1 in the final. He quit Firhill for Hibs in 1982, and won a total of 55 Scotland caps before retiring from the game in 1990.


Born in Crossgates, Fife, Archibald first worked as a miner before he was signed by Rangers from Raith Rovers in 1917. He was an ever-present in the Gers team that won the league in 1917-18, the club’s first title in five seasons. Playing outside-right, he won a total of 13 titles in 17 seasons, mostly under legendary Ibrox boss Bill Struth. The record for most Rangers appearances in all competitions is held by John Greig, who played 755 games in all competitions between 1961 and 1978.

ROSS COUNTY - SCOTT BOYD, 292 (2008-present)

Defender Boyd became the Staggies’ record appearance holder since the club joined the Scottish league in August this year. The 29-year-old from West Lothian continues to be a mainstay in the Victoria Park back four.

ST JOHNSTONE - ALAN MAIN, 308 (1995-2003, 2007-2010)

Regularly cited as one of the best Scottish goalkeepers never to win a full international cap, Main finally broke Drew Rutherford’s appearance record for the Saints in 2009 aged 41 in his second spell with the club.