Dundee United legend David Narey: The best Scottish players of the 1980s

But one sizzling day in the frying pan of Spain, Seville, Narey couldn’t avoid having the eyes of the world widening in wonder at what he’d just done. Asa Hartford: “I can always say I started the move that led to the goal, even if it was just a simple five-yard pass to Graeme (Souness). What he did after that was a bit more special.” Souness, in possession on the left, looks up, slings a sensational 50-yard diagonal pass on to the head of John Wark at the right hand angle of the penalty box. Mind you, it wasn’t a bad pass was it...?” Wark cushions his header down into no-man’s land between the Brazilian back four and midfield. If that was the moment that David Narey arrived on the world stage, the rest of the planet was only catching up on news that was already well known to the people of Dundee. The cultured defender is generally accepted to be the best player to have emerged from the city - and certainly the jewel in the crown of Jim McLean’s United side that so nearly conquered Europe in the 80s. Narey’s partnership with Paul Hegarty was the cornerstone of two League Cup triumphs and the championship winning season of 1983. Those, and his 35 Scotland caps - there would have been at least double that number had the Alex McLeish-Willie Miller partnership not been around at the same time - were tangible rewards for the 872 appearances over 20 years at Tannadice. “Of all the players I had over the years, Hegarty, Sturrock, Malpas, Gough, Gray...David Narey was not second to any of them, McLean said. “I didn’t make my players – it was guys such as David Narey, Hamish McAlpine, Paul Sturrock and Davie Dodds who made me. Wee Jim idolised David - well, he was a fantastic player.” Those who played alongside and witnessed Narey, cite his pace and exceptional reading of the game as the stand-out qualities of a defender who defied the likes of Barcelona, Monaco and Moenchengladbach as United cut a swathe through the continent - losing controversially to Roma in the 1984 European Cup semi final and reaching the UEFA Cup Final three years later, only tolose on aggregate to IFK Gothenburg when a long season took its toll and they ran out of legs. Yet even after leaving Tayside for Raith Rovers in the twilight of his career, he was to play his part in one more famous triumph when the unfancied Fifers beat Celtic in the 1994 League Cup Final. It’s at Tannadice, though, where Narey’s legend is cemented and Archie Knox, who coached him as a kid, believes if the Dundee-born boy had been born with a wanderlust, he’d have been a superstar on a much bigger stage.