In recent seasons, Scottish players have always had a reasonable amount of success whilst playing for Cardiff City, they always seem to give it their all. Gavin Rae was one who had a few decent seasons and always put in a shift, however he and the club knew his time was up and it is nice to see he has got a move back to his hometown club Dundee.
Chris Burke was well liked and due to circumstances out of reach for the Cardiff hierarchy he decided not to extend his contract. Stephen Thompson was a very hardworking target man who chipped in with a crucial goal here and there when the club needed it most. He was unlucky when Cardiff signed Jimmy Floyd Hasselbaink and Robbie Fowler on very big wages as he knew he wasn’t going to be first choice, so off he went to Burnley.
Neil Alexander was an excellent addition from Livingston and the goalkeeper often made a string of vital saves to win matches. He made over 200 appearances for the Bluebirds and was the club’s longest serving player at the time, before David Forde was promoted to first choice ‘keeper which acted as a catalyst for Alexander to jump ship to Portman Road with Ipswich Town.
Scottish players still at the club before Malky Mackay took over at the start of the season included Kevin McNaughton and Paul Quinn. McNaughton, who has made over 200 appearances for the Bluebirds since his move from Aberdeen in 2006 has been a consistent performer and a firm fans favourite due to his never say die attitude and high level of performance on a regular basis.
It took a while for Paul Quinn to get his chance but when he did he took it with both hands and has shown the Cardiff City faithful what a decent and no nonsense full-back he is. Regularly being tenacious in the tackle and very passionate, he has had to wait for his opportunity since Mackay arrived as manager, but has regularly captained the League Cup side this season and scored the winning penalty against Leicester to put Cardiff through to the fourth round.
Mackay has since added Don Cowie, Craig Conway and Kenny Miller to the playing staff as well as Joe McBride to his coaching setup. Mackay knew what he was going to get with Cowie as he worked with him at Watford, and it is safe to say he is becoming a favourite with the fans. He is an ever present this season with a very good engine and adds the odd important goal too!
Conway is a tricky winger, and after the departure of Burke to Birmingham City, someone was needed to fill that void. Injury hampered him through October but he is back fit and is often a threat to opposition defences down the left flank, as well as a goal threat.
When Cardiff signed Kenny Miller, the club made people stand up and take notice. Miller is seasoned professional who has been a proven goal scorer both at club and international level. He tried his hand overseas with Bursaspor and it wasn’t for him, but Malky seized the opportunity to sign him and has deployed the Scot in a lone target man role which he is revelling in.
Miller’s movement is superb which helps the likes of Peter Whittingham, Cowie, Conway and Aron Gunnarsson get more time on the ball and is a consistent goal-getter which is always welcome. The most recent example of this was against Birmingham at home, a tight contest between two promotion chasing sides, until Miller showed his class and smashed the ball home to win the game.
With a passionate Scot at the helm and a team who will continue to give 100 per cent throughout the 90 minutes, us Cardiff fans are all going home after each game knowing no more could’ve been given in terms of effort by the team that takes the field. The Scottish contingent has helped the club in the past and continues to now in what hopes to be a very good season.
With the players and staff Mackay has brought in and hopefully more reinforcements in the emergency loan window, culminating with another trip to Wembley in the Carling Cup final, this could be a very good season.
Written by Richard Blake, We Are Going Up’s Cardiff City Blogger
Richard tweets at @RichJBlake