International Recognition for Caddis
After Paul Caddis, not even an ever-present regular in the Swindon Town first XI, was an unused substitute in the Scotland squad for the friendly international versus the Faroe Islands, what does this really say about the quality and strength in depth of Scottish football?
When Caddis joined us back in August I was slightly bemused, but delighted that Town, a third tier team, had managed to secure signing of the Scottish U21 Captain. He was highly thought-of in the stands at Celtic and had put in several impressive first team competitive and friendly performances. So why was a player showing such promise that was recognised with 13 U21 caps allowed to leave Parkhead?
The same can be said of Scott Cuthbert, who won 12 U21 caps and represented the Scotland B side, also left Celtic for Town. Cuthbert also revealed a desire to represent the highest level of Scottish football and he can see no reason why he couldn’t be considered whilst at Swindon Town.
For many years players from north of the boarder have been the backbone of English First Division / Premier League teams. This started when a group of Scots joined Preston North End in the late 1880s, won the double and in doing so went the 1888/89 season unbeaten. Their domestic league, whilst perennially dominated by the Old Firm, was always a strong breeding ground and only the best players were exported.
Today, what they find is an ever decreasing pool of home grown talent, playing in an ever uncompetitive league that fails to attract the range of players they could, throughout the 1990s and early 2000s. Limited numbers of players are exported to the Premier League with the Championship and League One now the destination of choice. Unfortunately Scottish football is unrecognisable these days and there are many wider reasons for this, too many to comment upon here.
So whilst the wider decline of their game is a contributing factor as to why Craig Levein is willing to call up players plying their trade outside the top flights, I’ve can’t be the only one who has noticed the incredible improvement in the quality of the Football League in the past 10 years.
It seems the impact of the appeal and finances of the Premier League has filtered down. Not least this has been assisted with the great influx of former ‘big teams’ including Leeds United, Sheffield Wednesday, Southampton, Leicester City, Nottingham Forest etc playing in League One and attracting a better quality of players at this level. Attendances are up and clubs are ever more aware of the commercial opportunities. Who would have thought even 5 years ago that a Togo International forward would be leading the line at the County Ground after turning down higher level football?
The drop in quality of the Scottish League is obvious, however this has only been exaggerated by the second and third tiers in England making great strides, perhaps as a whole exceeding the Scottish Premier League.
So, I think that Caddis being called-up says just as much about the quality and strength of English Football than any failure of the Scottish.