Tartan Army should take encouragement from what they’ve seen at the World Cup, says Sir Kenny Dalglish

Scotland legends Jimmy Johnstone, Denis Law and Graeme Souness

SIR KENNY DALGLISH thinks it’s unfair for the Tartan Army to continually compare the current crop of players to legends from the past such as Jimmy Johnstone, Denis Law and Graeme Souness.

Scotland’s most-capped player appeared in the 1974, 1978 and 1982 World Cup Finals.

At that time, he played with club legends at both Celtic and Liverpool, and his move south in 1977 was to an English top flight littered with Scots.

Those days are long gone. But rather than wallow in nostalgia, Dalglish wants the Tartan Army to live in the present, and be encouraged by what may lie ahead.

“I think it’s better to do that than go back 40 or 50 years and talk about a Law or a Souness or a Jinky,” said the man who won a record 102 Scotland caps.

“I played with them all and, yes, they were all incredible players. But they were also from a span of around 20 years. They didn’t all come at once.

“I’d urge the country not to be exasperated by what’s gone on in the past few weeks at the World Cup.

“Indeed, we should be taking encouragement from what the likes of England and Russia achieved.

“I want to believe it’s not all doom and gloom for Scotland, and genuinely believe that to be the case.

“We are in a better position now than we were five or six years ago, when Craig Levein was the manager.

“We have more players playing at a higher level in club football.

“Gordon Strachan came close, but it’s not always right just to be judged on whether or not you qualify for a tournament.

“What I also take heart from is the performance we had in Lithuania, away from home, less than a year ago.

“We won 3-0, and played some of the best football in a long time. Sure, it was only one game, but we’ve got to be encouraged by that.

“And, remember, it was just over a year ago we came within 60 seconds of beating England.

“Had one or two more players shown a wee bit of the necessary composure to defend our lead, we would have won.

“Gordon improved the national team and has left behind some really good players for Alex McLeish.

“Big Alex will be delighted to be working with Andy Robertson, Kieran Tierney and Scott McTominay.

“He can choose a team that would have eight or so with regular Champions League experience.

“So let’s get behind the manager and the players. Let’s talk up what they can do and back them to get us to Euro 2020.”

From his work at grass-roots level, Dalglish is aware that it takes tens of millions of pounds in investment into our game – every year – to really have a chance of making a significant difference.

He also knows that isn’t possible.

“We don’t have the revenue that they have in England,” he reasoned.

“I’m not saying money fixes everything, but it does give you a better chance.

“So you need to work within your limitations.

“We’ve good facilities at grassroots. We give our youngsters a really good opportunity to develop and make the grade.

“Many do well in their mid-teens then fall away as they end up distracted by other temptations. You just can’t compete against that.

“But as a nation, we must never give up. We will get there.”