Stevie Crawford`s Scotland CareerAuthor: J Barber Date: Friday, 11th Oct 2002
This weekend, Scotland take on Iceland in a crucial Euro 2004 qualifier in group 5. Stevie Crawford has been pinpointed as the man to lead the attack and will be awarded his 5th Scotland as he starts the match. Here we look back on his Scotland career to date.
It has been VERY stop start for Stevie when it comes to winning Scotland caps! Picked due to his precocious talent in a Wee Team jersey way back in 1995. He came on as a substitute in the Japanese mini tournament in the match against Ecuador.
A debut goal was a superb way to start his international career and he must have thought a regular run of appearances was on the cards....
Not so! It took another SIX years for Crawford to pull on the dark blue jersey once again. After a move down south to Millwall for a season was followed up by a couple of season with Hibs, he moved to Dunfermline (initially on loan) in October 1999.
16 league goals in only 25 games saw him become the mainstay striker as Dunfermline were promoted in season 99/00.
9 goals in season 00/01 were followed by 7 last season. By this time, his overall play had merited him a long awaited call up once again to one of Craig Brown`s last squads.
The away friendly in Poland in April 2002 saw two Dunfermline Athletic players play for Scotland, when no Par had done so since 1970! Crawford came on as a second half substitute to join his team mate Barry Nicholson on the pitch for the remainder of the game.
A sprightly performance saw Crawford emerge with credit for his attacking play as he won cap number 2. He created a couple of chances as well as being involved in winning a penalty for the Scots. Some may have thought he would take the strike himself, but he was passed over to allow Scott Booth to equilise.
Brown`s reign came to an end soon after and a new manager and era was brought in with the arrival of Berti Vogts. He promised that all players would be looked at on their merits and everyone who played well stood a chance of being in the national squad. The retiral of Billy Dodds meant that Crawford had an excellent chance of remaining in the manager`s thoughts....
Vogts` first game could not have been tougher. An away trip to France saw Crawford start up front on his own against the then World champions! Creating the only chance of the game, Crawford held off Frank Lebouf before his shot landed safely in the arms of Fabian Barthez. He was substituted after 63 minutes as other options were tried, cap number 3 in the bag.
Stevie was called up once again for the home debut of Vogts, the friendly against Nigeria played in Aberdeen. This time however, he remained on the bench for the full 90 minutes.....
Crawford then missed out on caps for the games during the mid season Far East break. He was also overlooked for the match against Denmark at Hampden back in August as his early season club form was overlooked completely.
The first competitive match of the Vogts era saw Scotland take on the part timers of the Faroe Islands. The less said about that match the better, but Stevie was probably the only player to emerge with any credit.
Coming on as a substitute at half time (when Scotland were losing 2-0) he single handedly put some pride and passion back into the jersey with a great display. He prompted and passed the ball with more effeciency than had been evident in the first period and he was involved in the goals that saw a draw being snatched from the disastrous match. Cap number 4 certainly put him back in the media limelight.
And now onto cap number 5. A terrific league record of 8 goals in just 10 matches saw Stevie as a guaranteed starter for the match away to Iceland. He lead the line superbly as Scotland won 2-0 on the day. Linking up with Stephen Thompson, the two strikers showed they could be the mainstays of this qualifying campaign.
Cap number 6 is guaranteed to come in the home game against Canada at Easter Road. After travelling thousands of miles to win his previous 5 caps, Stevie now gets the chance to win one on home soil! His old ground sees him pick up yet another cap, his third in a row. A goal against the Canadians would surely cement his place in the Scotland squad for the months to come.
Everyone at Dunfermline wishes you well Stevie, your form this season has been superb and your play has been great to watch. Get out there and grab us a goal!