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Brown feels justified in excluding Gough from Scotland squad


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By Richard Wilson BBC Scotland

 

Former Scotland coach Craig Brown still believes he was right not to pick Richard Gough for the national team.

 

Brown, who was in charge between 1993 and 2001, will never disclose the reason behind his decision, insisting he will take it to his grave.

 

Gough had quit international duty under Brown's predecessor Andy Roxburgh.

Former Scotland defender Richard Gough

 

Richard Gough played for Scotland at Euro 92, but fell out with Andy Roxburgh the following year

 

Brown, though, resisted persistent media pressure to select him, and insists the decision was in the best interests of "team spirit".

 

Gough never added to his 61 caps following the fall out with Roxburgh after Scotland were defeated 5-0 in Portugal in 1993. Brown was assistant manager at the time, but took charge of the team three months later when Roxburgh was sacked.

 

Having worked closely with Roxburgh, and observed Gough at first-hand on several occasions on international duty, Brown decided not to select the defender, despite impressive form with his club Rangers, where he was captain.

 

Brown has never revealed why he took that decision, even when there was clamour from the media and fans to recall the centre-back. He maintains, though, that he was justified in his reasoning.

 

"Sometimes as the number two you learn more, or you hear more, and players confide in you because you're not the manager," Brown told BBC Radio Scotland's Managing Scotland series.

 

"I watched and listened to what happened with Richard Gough, who I've got to say was an outstanding player. I didn't pick him because of what I saw happening, what I heard, and I thought, '[leaving Gough out] is going to be good for the team spirit'.

 

"I've never disclosed the issue, and I've written three autobiographies. Everyone asks me. In fact, one of the big papers in Scotland said, 'If you tell us the Gough story, we'll give you a bigger serialisation fee'.

 

"I'm not going into it. Richard knows, and Walter Smith, the [Rangers] manager [at the time], and so does David Murray [the Rangers chairman at the time], because he asked me and I had a lunch with him.

 

"Yes [it will go to the grave], unless Richard wants [to explain it]… it's not anybody's business. I may have been wrong, and I'm not saying I'm always right.

 

"At the beginning, it was [the biggest dilemma I faced], but I didn't bat an eyelid. I said, 'I'm going to do this job the way that I want to do it. If it doesn't include Richard Gough, we lose a few games and the press say he should be in, then that's it. I would rather do what I thought was right rather than pander to the media or to the club'."

 

And Brown added: "The significant thing is that never once did the Rangers manager or chairman complain about me not picking Richard Gough.

 

"If my argument had been weak, they would have slaughtered me because he was captain of Glasgow Rangers and you don't leave out the captain of Glasgow Rangers unless you've got good cause to do so.

 

“They look for anything they can make a story [with]. There was so much inaccurate stuff, nonsense, and I was dismissive of it because I knew it wasn't true”

 

"When I've seen Richard - and I've met him I don't know how many times since - there is never any aggro between us, we respect each other."

 

Brown, now 73, is the longest-serving Scotland manager, and guided the national team to Euro 96 in England and the France 98 World Cup finals. However, he was branded a bigot and a love cheat by one Sunday newspaper during the course of his managerial reign, two accusations he vehemently denies.

 

"They look for anything they can make a story [with]," he said. "There was so much inaccurate stuff, nonsense, and I was dismissive of it because I knew it wasn't true.

 

"I don't know where [the bigot story] came from, the accusation was that I was favouring Rangers players over Celtic players. I got great support from Celtic and I always have had.

 

"Kenny Dalglish was the manager there and he invited me over, and Peter Grant called and said 'I'm a witness for you', Billy McNeill wrote, 'If Brown's a bigot, I'm a ballerina', in The Sun.

 

"[i am] not a love cheat either, that's not true, honestly. I just think it's horrendous that people should believe that is the case.

 

"I used to get a highlighter out… there was one front page they wrote about me and there were 11 factual inaccuracies in it."

 

http://www.bbc.co.uk/sport/0/football/27948434

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If my argument had been weak, they would have slaughtered me because he was captain of Glasgow Rangers and you don't leave out the captain of Glasgow Rangers unless you've got good cause to do so.

 

Sorry Craig but you are talking out of your backside.

 

I think the decision to leave him out was welcomed. Also is it any coincidence that Gough played for so long? I don't think so.

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It benefitted Rangers but there was others who didn't get as many caps at the time also. Ian Ferguson should have had more, Duncan Ferguson stopped playing for the SFA, Andy Goram pulled out of France 98 and David Robertson should have been left back for 6 years. They just didn't want to have a team full of Rangers players.

 

To be fair, centre half is the 1 position Scotland had covered for over 2 decades: Miller, McLeish, Hansen, Gough, Hendry, Calderwood, Weir.

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It benefitted Rangers but there was others who didn't get as many caps at the time also. Ian Ferguson should have had more, Duncan Ferguson stopped playing for the SFA, Andy Goram pulled out of France 98 and David Robertson should have been left back for 6 years. They just didn't want to have a team full of Rangers players.

 

To be fair, centre half is the 1 position Scotland had covered for over 2 decades: Miller, McLeish, Hansen, Gough, Hendry, Calderwood, Weir.

 

Goram only pulled out because he was TOLD by Brown that he would be No2 to Leighton. He couldn't accept that.

 

After seeing the bandy legged one from Aberdeen THROW in the third against Brazil I'm sure he realised then he'd made a massive boo boo in that decision.

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Goram only pulled out because he was TOLD by Brown that he would be No2 to Leighton. He couldn't accept that.

 

After seeing the bandy legged one from Aberdeen THROW in the third against Brazil I'm sure he realised then he'd made a massive boo boo in that decision.

 

It was a bizarre one I remember at the times, Leighton played most of the qualifiers for Euro 96 but when we got there Goram was No.1, Goram played most of the qualifiers for WC 98 then Leighton was chosen as No.1. Brown was a baffling kid at times.

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BBC Radio Scotland have been broadcasting a series of Chick Young interviewing the surviving national managers, wee Craigie got an hour on Saturday. Richard Wilson has lifted/précised the piece from Brown's PR production. I listened and Gough got it in the neck. Apparently, as Roxburgh's assistant, Craig had observed Gough's behaviour in team bonding, found it lacking and noted his lack of willingness to comply to team uniformity.

 

I seem to remember big Richard refused to participate in Roxburgh's organised sessions of Trivial Pursuits and reacted angrily to Craig Brown standing at the dressing room door, armed with a black ink marker to darken tie-ups.

 

Anyways, Craig was determined to manage the team on his terms and listening to Craig, most successfully so. All reversals were a combination of Lady Luck refusing to smile and the prevailing statistics NOT bearing the expected fruit. Even that humiliating 3-zip defeat by mighty Morocco was unfair. They were African champions, have a population 7 times the size of Scotland, and Craig Burley wrecked Brown's careful plans by being sent off.

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