Berti Vogts allowed players to drink before Scotland games - O’Connor

Berti Vogts managed Scotland between 2002 and 2004. Picture: PA
Berti Vogts managed Scotland between 2002 and 2004. Picture: PA
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Ex-Scotland manager Berti Vogts used to let his players drink the night before an international match, according to Garry O’Connor.

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The former Hibs striker told the Monday Night Fitba podcast that Vogts would set a limit on the amount of alcohol each player could consume, but encouraged them to have at least a couple in order to calm their nerves and allow for a good night’s sleep before the game.

Vogts lasted less than three years in his role as Scotland manager before being dismissed in October 2004.

Though results were disappointing, he did encourage promotion of youth into the national set-up. This included O’Connor, who made his debut for Scotland only nine days after his 19th birthday in a friendly match against South Korea, despite only establishing himself in the Easter Road first team earlier that season.

He said: “It was a shock getting called up, obviously. I had been playing well for Hibs, though.

“Betrie was a character. He was funny. Before every national game, the night before we allowed to have three or four beers, or two whiskies or two vodka and cokes. That was the German mentality. It gives them a good sleep.

“We’re just looking at each other thinking, ‘are we gonna get p****d here?’ After your third beer you’re feeling tipsy, and you’re thinking what the hell is going on here? We’ve got a game tomorrow!”

Despite the unusual pre-game methods, which hark back to the days of Brian Clough demanding Nottingham Forest’s players drink before the night of big matches, O’Connor was a fan of the German manager and felt he didn’t get a fair crack of the whip with Scotland.

He added: “Bertie saw something in me and he saw something in the young players. If you look back at his philosophy, he had it right. The country just never gave him time, maybe because he was a foreign coach as well, but tactically he was spot on.”

Click here to listen to the full MNF podcast interview with O’Connor.

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