Six landmark moments in the last decade of Scottish football

Six landmark moments in the last decade of Scottish football

This week spells the end of a decade which saw some of Scottish football’s top clubs suffer major financial woes while the national team continued their exile from the elite stage of European and world football.

There were plenty of high points for fans of smaller clubs with Ross County, Inverness and St Johnstone all winning major trophies for the first time amid a flurry of surprise cup wins.

And Celtic fans enjoyed a decade to remember as their team dominated the Scottish football landscape.

Here, we look back on six landmark moments in the 2010s.

Craig Whyte takes control at Ibrox

Craig Whyte's Ibrox tenure proved disastrous
Craig Whyte’s Ibrox tenure proved disastrous (PA)

Whyte’s £1 purchase of Sir David Murray’s majority stake in Rangers in May 2011 came amid a dearth of interest caused by the very real prospect of a major tax bill to add to the £18million bank debt which he promised to pay off. In the end, Whyte mortgaged season ticket sales to do so and led Rangers down an accelerated path to administration and ultimately liquidation by failing to pay any more tax. Football carried on at Ibrox but so did the boardroom instability and debt and Rangers fans are still awaiting a major trophy. In the five years after Whyte arrived at Ibrox, 10 other clubs won major trophies.

Ann Budge buys Hearts

Ann Budge helped rescue Hearts
Ann Budge helped rescue Hearts (Jeff Holmes/PA)

The Edinburgh businesswoman’s financial backing, along with the pledges of the Hearts support, allowed the just-relegated club to come out of administration in May 2014 after the disastrous tenure of Vladimir Romanov. Administrator Bryan Jackson had admitted the future of the club was in the balance but they were soon on the up, winning the Championship the following year, although things have not gone fully to plan in recent times.

Dundee United sell pair to Celtic

Stuart Armstrong and Gary Mackay-Steven left for Celtic on the same day
Stuart Armstrong and Gary Mackay-Steven left for Celtic on the same day (PA)

United appeared to have found the perfect business model, developing talented young players and selling them on, with Ryan Gauld and Andy Robertson banking them more than £6million together. But the unpopular decision to sell Gary Mackay-Steven and Stuart Armstrong to League Cup final opponents Celtic for close to £2million in January 2015 ultimately proved very costly. United spiralled downwards, winning only three more league games that season, losing the final to Celtic and getting relegated the following campaign. They made a £3.7million loss last season alone and only now look like winning the Championship title.

David Gray heads home at Hampden

Hibernian’s David Gray (obscured) scores against Rangers
Hibernian’s David Gray (obscured) scores against Rangers (PA)

The Hibernian captain’s last-gasp winner against Rangers in May 2016 ended a 114-year wait for his club to win the Scottish Cup and continued Rangers’ ongoing wait for a major trophy, while sparking the most significant crowd trouble for years as fans clashed on the pitch.

Brendan Rodgers joins Celtic

Brendan Rodgers lived up to the hype
Brendan Rodgers lived up to the hype (Danny Lawson/PA)

Celtic were realistically always going to win the league when Rangers were making their four-year journey to the top flight, but the Hoops only claimed two of the eight cups on offer during that spell and Ronny Deila’s reign came to an end on the back of a Scottish Cup semi-final defeat by Rangers in April 2016. Celtic responded by employing former Liverpool boss Rodgers and he led them to an unprecedented invincible season and started the current run of 10 consecutive domestic trophies.

Scotland beat Israel

James Forrest netted a hat-trick against Israel
James Forrest netted a hat-trick against Israel (Jane Barlow/PA)

The decade came and went for the national team without even a play-off to qualify for a major tournament. Agonising defeats to the likes of Georgia and Harry Kane’s last-gasp equaliser for England were among the painful moments. A 3-2 Hampden win over Israel in November 2018 could prove to be the key result of the decade, though, as it sealed top spot in their Nations League group and gave Scotland a chance to reach Euro 2020. Another home victory over the same opponents in March would set up a winner-takes-all clash with Norway or Serbia and Scotland’s biggest game of the century.