A McAllister (Almost) in the World Cup

On this day in 1990, Scotland’s national football team lost 0-1 to Brazil in the first round of the World Cup in Italy. Although Scotland had qualified for the Cup on six previous occasions — and would do so again in 1998 this was the only time that the name McAllister has appeared on the roster of any qualifying team in World Cup history.  

The McAllister in question, Gary McAllister of Motherwell in Scotland, was born on Christmas day, 1964. He started his football career with his hometown side, but spent the rest of his professional career with a succession of English clubs, among them Liverpool FC and Leeds United, before retiring from play to take on managerial responsibilities.[1]

However, McAllister also played for nine years on the Scottish national team, serving for part of that time as captain. His abilities on the field helped Scotland get to the World Cup in 1990, but he did not take the field in the first game and the team’s failure to advance to the next round cost him his chance to play in the Cup. The next time Scotland qualified, eight years later, he was recovering from a serious knee injury and unable to participate.

Although he missed the chance to play in a World Cup, Gary McAllister had a successful career and was well regarded as a player. In 2001 he was awarded an MBE for his services to the game. He retired from play in 2004, but he continues to contribute to the world of football as a commentator for BT Sport. His prediction for the winner of the 2014 World Cup? Argentina or Brazil, he thinks, probably Argentina.[2]

 Copyright (c) Lynn McAlister, 2014

[1]Details of McAllister’s career can be found at a number of web sites, including Wikipedia, Football Aid, and Premier League.

[2]BT Sport’s World Cup Predictions’, BT Sport online, 4 June 2014.

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