clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

Reading FC's Scotland XI

As international football's longest rivalry prepares to resume - we take a look at an entirely Scottish* Reading XI (*or they played for Scotland anyway)

Getty Images/Getty Images

Mention the words Scotland and Reading together and fans of a certain age will inevitably shiver at the memory of the late Tommy Burns and the influx of players north of the border in the late 90's. Yet beyond that medicare era, there have been a fair few notable Scots to pull on the blue & white hoops over the years. So here's my All-Scottish* Reading XI

(* the actual Scotishness of some of these players is admittedly questionable but they represented the country at one level or another)

Goalkeeper - Jim Leighton

Sorry Scott Howie, there's just no place for you here. Leighton was a rare breed at Elm Park in the 90's in that he was a current International who joined on loan from Manchester United no less. The signing of some bloke called Schmeichel made the Scot surplus to requirements at Old Trafford, leading him to play eight times under former Aberdeen team mate Mark McGhee.

Capped 91 times by his country, Leighton is one of the most capped player to have ever worn a Reading shirt but predictably there was little third tier Reading could do to hold on to him once bigger teams in Scotland came knocking.

Left-Back - Chris Armstrong

Few players have left such a positive reputation in the game as Chris Armstrong who overcame massive odds to play for the club while battling multiple sclerosis. Voted the club's Player of the Season in his only full campaign in 2008/09, Armstrong was about a reliable a full-back as you could ever hope to have.

While born in Newcastle, 'Stretch' qualifies for this list by virtue of having played one game for Scotland B.

Centre-Back - Alex Pearce

OK, so another player whose Scottishness must be questioned but Oxford born Pearce did play several times for the country's under 21s before switching allegiance to the Republic of Ireland. His reputation at Reading may have taken a hit in his final couple of campaigns but he came right through the club's Academy to Captain the side and be voted Player of the Season in only our second ever Championship winning season.

Centre-Back - Stuart Gray

Fudging this one a bit but it was Gray or do for Dom Hyam or Zak Jules, neither of which I've seen live. Gray was far from a great signing but of Burns' Scottish recruits, the full-back was at least serviceable after arriving from Celtic as one of the 'magnificent seven' on the March deadline day of 1998. 52 appearances followed before he moved to Rushden & Diamonds before finishing his professional career with Oxford.

Right-Back - Graeme Murty

Only one logical choice here and it has to be the most successful Captain in the club's history. Murty earned four caps for Scotland while at the club, only for injury to ruin his future chances just when he was getting a run with the national team.

Left-Midfielder - Jim McIntyre

Another player brought to the club by Burns, Jimmy Mac had a so-so spell as a forward option at the club but enjoyed a late renaissance to his Reading career when Alan Pardew decided to employ him down the left wing. He made just shy of 100 appearances for the club before moving back to Scotland where he'd eventually wind up as a manager, winning the Scottish League Cup with Ross County last season.

Central-Midfielder - Grant Brebner

Of all of Burns' signings, Brebner was the one that shone brghtest in the 98/99 season. While Murty and Nicky Forster would go on to much bigger things in Berkshire, I always felt Brebner was a great buy who left the club far too soon. Having come through the Manchester United Academy, the midfielder bagged 10 goals in a very average team but left at the end of his only season to link up with another former Royal in Stuart Lovell at Hibernian. Grant was a great goalscoring threat just behind the front line and went on to a successful career in Scotland and Australia before gambling problems saw his career unravel.

Central-Midfielder - Peter Grant

Another one-season wonder, Grant provided a steady head in the Reading midfield during the 1999/2000 campaign. At 34, Grant was certainly in the twilight of his career but he made just over 30 appearances in a team that under Alan Pardew slowly began to take strides forward. Sadly he moved on to Bournemouth the following season and Reading might just have benefitted from his experience during a tense run-in the following season.

Right-Midfielder - Scott Murray

One of Pardew's final signings, Murray arrived with a bang from Bristol City for £650,000 in the summer of 2003. While the man who bought him was at the club, the winger looked a real force notching three goals in his first three league games but Pardew's departure for West Ham soon had an impact on the midfielder who struggled to make much of an impression on Steve Coppell. Homesickness also played a part for Murray who would rejoin his old side before the season was up, bizarrely joining in the same week as former Reading players Tony Rougier and Darren Caskey!

Forward - Steve Archibald

Like Leighton, this was a rare treat for Reading fans during some mediocre seasons in the early 90's. The former Tottenham and Barcelona forward arrived at Elm Park in January 1992 to partner up with Mark McGhee but made just one appearance against Huddersfield before moving on.

Forward - Jamie Mackie

I've always had a soft spot for Jamie Mackie, since following his development for Plymouth while at Uni in the South-West a few years back. He scored a stonking goal against Reading in 2009 and I always hoped he'd end up in blue and white one day. When he finally did it was a player sadly hampered by a string of injuries but when Mackie was fit he was a great player to have in your side. Tenacious and with a good eye for a goal he spent the 2014/15 season on loan from Forest before opting to go back to QPR where he's once again struggled with injury.

Manager - Mark McGhee

Sorry Tommy.... Has to be McGhee for creating one of the most pleasing on the eye Reading sides and who arguably laid the foundations for all of the success we've had since Sir John Madejski's takeover. His departure for Leicester leaves a bitter taste but historically he'll always be looked upon as an unquestioned success in Berkshire.

So that's who makes my Scottish Reading XI but have I missed anyone out who deserves a slot? Let us know.