Who is Scotland’s greatest ever sportsperson ?

By ROSS CLARK

NO ONE can deny the fact that Scotland has produced a number of fine athletes.

Perhaps the debate would ignite when asked to select just ONE person who typifies a nation and decades of sporting history.

Since dinosaurs walked the earth we were probably trying to pick out the good ones and claim them to be one of our own.

It doesn’t really matter the specific skills needed to compete in the event – if we find someone good at it that’s Scottish they’ll have our full support – whether that be football, swimming or even croquet.

We’ve seen the media attention surrounding young Karamoko Dembele at Celtic in recently and that probably typifies the desperation for success within our relatively small country.

To be honest, part of the problem is probably being situated next to England – they may have mentioned once or twice that they won a certain trophy in a certain sport in a certain year. Not that I’m bitter.

This rivalry is probably highlighted by the sporting success of Andy Murray. Perhaps the second most frustrating thing to the English mentioning 1966 is when everyone and their grannie points out that, according to the media down south, Andy Murray is only Scottish when he’s losing.

I’m personally sick of people talking about that but one thing that has to be pointed out is the fact Murray is an incredible talent.

He’s come out on top time and time again in the golden age of tennis we find ourselves in. A select few can claim to have conquered Everest – Murray’s done it three times over. Federer, Nadal, Djokovic have always been at the peak of their game and Murray has made a top three become an elite four.

Two Wimbledon titles, a US open, two Olympic golds and an Olympic mixed doubles silver as well as guiding a Davis Cup side to victory in 2015. On top of all this it’s easy to forget that he recently reached world number one.

This all happened in a time where there are three other guys who could easily be considered to be the greatest of all time – not bad for a boy from Dunblane.

When you think of the Olympics I guarantee you think of  Sir Chris Hoy. The man has done it all on the cycling track – he literally is a machine. In his sport he’s the most decorated of all time. He’s won six gold medals and a silver at the highest stage of all.

It doesn’t matter if it’s Sydney, Athens, Beijing or London – Hoy will find a way to come out on top.

Perhaps when you look at the big picture he deserves extra credit as he’s reached the pinnacle in both individual and team events.

One of Britain’s other most decorated athletes, Katherine Grainger, probably doesn’t immediately spring to mind when you think of the Olympics.

Rowing is hardly one of the most recognised sports in Scotland but she’s made sure that it’s even mentioned at all in a nation obsessed by football.

Again success has been rife throughout her career. She’s competed at five Olympics – winning a medal at each.

After her silver at Rio in the summer she became Britain’s most decorated female Olympian – for that in itself she certainly has to be mentioned as one of the greatest Scottish athletes of all time.

In a nation where footballing success is hard to come by there certainly has been some remarkable players who deserve a mention.

James McFadden will always be a hero of mine growing up as a Scotland fan. He produced important goal after important goal in a dire footballing time for our nation.

There are others; Graeme Souness, Denis Law and in more recent times Darren Fletcher for purely being an excellent captain and role model. Nevertheless none stand out like Kenny Dalglish.

To reach 102 appearances for your country is an incredible achievement. To play in England and be a resounding success is another feat in itself.

The fact he is probably in the top three Liverpool players of all time is again incredible and something which can’t be overlooked.

Perhaps it’s unfair to suggest who is actually the best of all time. There are countless others who haven’t been mentioned that probably deserve to be. Sir Jackie Stewart, Stephen Hendry and Jim Clark also deserve a mention.

To pin it down to one athlete is an almost impossible job. That’s why we decided to ask the world of Twitter to vote on their top Scottish athlete of all time.

The result was a resounding one between the four I have previously mentioned. From 142 votes, a huge 76% voted Andy Murray as their great ever Scottish sportsperson.

Perhaps Judy Murray’s been on the phone rounding up her friends telling them to vote but he would certainly be a worthy winner.

It’s all down to opinion but one thing that we can all agree on is that we don’t do too bad for a country of our size…and don’t go on about it as much as our near neighbours!

 

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