Welcome back to Dream Team! This week Brechin City player-manager Darren Dods gives us some insight into the best 11 players he has lined up alongside.
Goalkeeper – Michael McGovern
The Northern Irishman was regarded as one of Scottish football’s top goalkeepers for a number of years, with his stellar performances for Hamilton last season earning him a place at this summer’s European Championship. McGovern was outstanding at the tournament, with his displays earning him a move to Norwich City. Was Falkirk’s No 1 during Dods’ two-year spell with the Bairns and obviously left a lasting impression.
Right Back – Sean Dillon
Darren played with the Irishman in the Dundee United backline over a four-year period between 2007 and 2011. Solid, reliable and a tough tackler, Dillon has been a fantastic player for Dundee United over the years, becoming a fans’ favourite in the process. Darren commended Sean’s loyalty to the club, even through the difficult circumstances of relegation in recent times.
Centre Back – Lee Wilkie
Wilkie was another player who Dods played with during his time at Tannadice. The 6 foot 4 centre back played for both Dundee sides during his career and was a regular for Scotland during the early 2000s. A series of bad knee injuries plagued Wilkie’s career, forcing him into retirement in 2010. Darren told us he feels that if injuries had been kinder to him, Wilkie could have been a big part of the national squad for a far longer period.
Centre Back – Alan Kernaghan (Captain)
Kernaghan played in England for the majority of his career, making nearly 300 league appearances for a number of different clubs including Middlesbrough and Manchester City. Dods played alongside Kernaghan for a few years at St Johnstone at the start of his career. He was also acclaimed at international level, being selected for Jack Charlton’s 1994 Republic of Ireland World Cup squad.
Left Back – Richard Hastings
The Canadian international was a stalwart for Inverness CT during the 90s and mid 2000s, playing for the Highland club on two separate occasions. In total, Hastings made over 300 league appearances for Caley Thistle, playing alongside Dods for three years during his second spell. Dods told us that he couldn’t leave Hastings out due to his international success, winning the CONCACAF Gold Cup in 2000 with the Canadian national team.
Right Midfield – Paul Hartley
Now managing Dundee, Hartley is widely recognised as having the strength and determination that would see him rank up there with some of the best midfielders to play in the SPL era. Dods and Hartley played together near the start of their careers while they were at St Johnstone. Dods told us one of the things that stood out most about Hartley was his effectiveness when taking set-pieces.
Central Midfield – Ray Wilkins
Wilkins was well into the twilight of his career when he arrived at Hibernian in 1996 but the former England international still possessed great composure and passing ability, allowing him to prolong his career more than most central midfielders. Dods was a youth player at Hibs while Wilkins was there and said the Englishman brought in a wealth of experience and knowledge, having previously played for Chelsea, Manchester United, Milan and PSG.
Central Midfield – Barry Robson
When we spoke to Darren he said he didn’t realise just how good Barry Robson was until the two played together at Dundee United. The midfielder is renowned for his composure, passing ability and for possessing a lethal left foot. Robson spent most of his career in Scotland before moving to Middlesbrough in 2010 and eventually enjoying a short stint with Vancouver Whitecaps before returning via Sheffield United to finish his career at Aberdeen.
Left Midfield – Michael O’Neill
Lining up on the left flank for Dods’ dream team is current Northern Ireland national head coach Michael O’Neill. The two played together on two different occasions at both Hibernian and St Johnstone. Known for his pace and trickery, O’Neill made over 400 league appearances for various clubs across the UK and Ireland as well as a stint with Portland Timbers in the USA.
Centre Forward – Craig Brewster
Brewster was a big, no-nonsense striker with a superb finishing ability. The Dundonian’s playing career spanned 25 years, with Brewster making around 700 league appearances, scoring just shy of 300 league goals. Despite spending most of his career in Scotland, Craig also played in Greece for five years with Ionikos. Brewster played with, and also managed Dods, during his time at Inverness CT.
Centre Forward – Kenny Miller
The Rangers hitman was only a youth player at Hibernian during Dods’ time at the club but Darren conceded that even at that point it was clear Miller was a very special player. Miller has had a fantastic career that has seen him play for both sides of the Old Firm, as well as making forays to England, Turkey and Canada over an 18-year period. Miller has also been a stand-out for the national team, earning 69 caps since his debut against Poland in 2001.