Welcome to Dream Team! This is a new, weekly feature where we will speak to current and former SPFL players and managers alike and ask them to name their all-time top XI.
This side will be made up of team-mates from their career, be it in Scotland or further afield! This week we asked Edinburgh City’s new star striker Craig Beattie to give us the lowdown.
Beattie has played for numerous different clubs, including Celtic, Hearts, West Brom, Crystal Palace and Swansea. When asked to name his team, Craig opted for a very attack-minded 3-4-3 formation with three out-and-out strikers.
Goalkeeper – Artur Boruc
The Pole really made his name on the world stage during his five-year stint at Celtic, cementing himself as his country’s No 1, as well as being recognised as one of the greatest keepers ever to play in Scotland. Boruc made over 150 appearances for the Hoops and Craig told us he often remembers going a whole week without scoring in training because the keeper was simply unbelievable.
Centre Back – Johan Mjallby
Mjallby was a no-nonsense international with a cool head and phenomenal defensive ability. The tough-tackling Swede is fondly remembered for his fantastic six years at Parkhead as a player, as well as becoming the club’s assistant manager between 2010 and 2014. He made just under 150 league appearances for the Hoops and now manages Vasteras SK in the Swedish third tier.
Centre Back – Ashley Williams
Craig played alongside the Welsh international during a three-year period at Swansea City. Williams would eventually go on to captain the Swans, as well as donning the armband for his country during their fantastic Euro 2016 campaign, where they narrowly missed out on a place in the final. The level-headed leader has recently completed a move to Everton.
Centre Back – Bobo Balde
Criticised by some but people forget that during his first few years at Parkhead, Bobo was an extremely solid defender. Strong in the tackle and powerful in the air, Craig told us that he felt reassured looking back to see two massive physical presences in the form of Balde and Mjallby at the heart of the Celtic defence.
Right Midfield – Edgar Davids
The Dutch maestro has won the Champions League, UEFA Cup, Super Cup and numerous league titles as well as playing for clubs such as Ajax, Milan, Juventus, Barcelona and Internazionale. He might have been past his best when Beattie played alongside the dreadlocked genius in his player/manager role at Barnet. However, Craig told us that there was still a real presence around Davids, both on and off the pitch, simply oozing class.
Central Midfield – Stilyan Petrov
‘Stan’ is still regarded as one of the greatest foreign players to play in Scotland and was an integral part of Martin O’Neill’s Celtic side which reached the 2003 UEFA Cup Final. Petrov left Celtic for Aston Villa in 2006 and was handed the captain’s armband at the Birmingham club in 2009, having proved himself as a player who could really lead by example. The Bulgarian was diagnosed with Leukaemia in 2012, forcing him to retire from football, but he has since made an amazing recovery, which saw him playing for the Villains once again during their 2016 pre-season fixtures.
Central Midfield – Roy Keane (Captain)
The no-nonsense Irishman was one of the main reasons for the prolonged success at Manchester United during the 90s and early 2000s. Despite only playing together for a short time at Celtic, Craig told us that Roy was a man who left a big impression on him and added that players were frightened to make a mistake because they didn’t want to feel Keane’s wrath.
Left Midfield – Juninho
The Brazilian magician burst on to the scene at Sao Paulo in 1993 before making the switch from the sun and beaches of Rio de Janeiro to Middlesbrough. Known for his quick feet and trickery, the little Brazilian played for a number of clubs across Europe and South America before finding himself at Celtic in the summer of 2004. Craig told us that he just couldn’t leave a Brazilian World Cup winner out of his team.
Centre Forward – Henrik Larsson
First up in this attacking trio of dreams is the man widely regarded as one of the greats of the modern era in Scotland. It’s hard to argue when you look at his goalscoring record. Larsson bagged over 200 goals in all competitions over a seven-year period at Celtic, before moving on to Barcelona in 2004 and winning the Champions League two years later. Craig says that Larsson is the most talented player he has ever played with.
Centre Forward – Chris Sutton
Sutton was a big, powerful, traditional English centre forward who made a name for himself at Norwich City and Blackburn Rovers before moving north of the border to Celtic. A Premier League winner with an excellent goalscoring record, Sutton formed one of the all-time great Scottish striking partnerships with Henrik Larsson. Beattie said that both players complemented each other’s playing style so well - when they were both on form they were unplayable.
Centre Forward – Kevin Phillips
Perhaps surprisingly, considering the other two centre forwards in the line-up, Craig named his former West Bromwich Albion team-mate as the most clinical finisher he has ever played with and when you look at his goalscoring statistics you can see why. With over 250 career goals and a European Golden Boot to his name, it’s clear to see why many fans and pundits argue that Phillips should have had more than his eight caps for England.