Great Scots! Aussie Socceroos become the Jockeroos with tartan tint

Never mind the Socceroos. Surely, it is now time to celebrate the ‘Jockeroos’ too.

Nov 10, 2022, updated Nov 10, 2022
Socceroos coach Graham Arnold has stacked his squad with Scottish-related players for this month's FIFA World Cup. (image: ABD)

Socceroos coach Graham Arnold has stacked his squad with Scottish-related players for this month's FIFA World Cup. (image: ABD)

Scotland may not have their own team to cheer at the World Cup, but this most distinguished of soccer nations is already trumpeting its support for Australia because of its remarkable connection with Graham Arnold’s squad.

It is not just that there are seven players based in the Scottish Premiership in the squad – which is the same amount selected from the whole of Australia’s own A-League Men.

Three of Arnold’s players are Scottish-born-and-raised, and 11 have been moulded at some point in the Scottish League. One – Jason Cummings – has even been capped by Scotland at senior level.

When Monday’s tartan-infused squad was announced, the Scottish town of Paisley near Glasgow, home to Premiership club St Mirren, led the cheerleading after their Socceroos’ midfielder Keanu Baccus made a bit of history for the team known as ‘the Buddies’.

“It’s the first time St Mirren have ever had someone in a World Cup squad – so obviously we’ll all be supporting the Socceroos now,” declared manager Stephen Robinson.

“The whole of Paisley is going to be dressed in Australia kits.”

And one apartment block in the Scottish capital of Edinburgh now houses three Australian teammates from the same Premiership team – the Hearts’ trio of Cammy Devlin, Nat Atkinson and Kye Rowles – who will make their way to Qatar on Sunday.

The news of their election prompted a day of high emotion for all three, with combative midfielder Devlin revealing he had broken down in tears after months of stress and sleepless nights wondering if he would make the squad.

And there was anxiety when Arnold broke the news to him, too.

“Graham texted me and asked if he could give me a call in 15 minutes and it was probably the longest 15 minutes of my life,” Devlin told reporters in Scotland.

“It was a nervous wait for the phone call but when he told me it was one of the best moments of my life.

“I don’t cry that often but if there’s ever a time when it’s probably acceptable, it’s when you get told you’re going to a World Cup for the first time.

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“As soon as he said, ‘Congratulations, you’re coming to the World Cup’, I broke down in tears.

“It’s massive to be going with Kye and Natty, it’s so cool to have two of my Aussie boys over here. Now to be going to a World Cup together is unreal.

“It would have been such a shame if one or two of us missed out, so for all three of us to be going is unreal.

“All three of us live in the same block of apartments. I got the first call and you don’t want to text the others in case they’ve had bad news then you feel like a d***head.

“When I found out they were both in it was such a relief.”

Devlin believes the strong Premiership contingent of Aussies reflects well on Scottish football despite the Scots failing to qualify themselves.

“There are a lot of other Scottish-based boys – and boys who have played in Scotland before – in the squad,” he said.

“It just shows what a competitive league it is and how respected the league is back home.”

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