Former Scotland striker and Sky Sports / ESPN commentator Andy Gray was in New York recently for a charity dinner and he took some time to speak to Dear Scotland about scoring his first goal for Scotland, being an expat Scot and what he misses about home.
DS. So what brings you to New York Andy?
Andy Gray: I just came over to do a Sportsman’s dinner with a few good lads, Geoff Hurst, Steve Collins and Joe Calzaghe, at the New York Athletic Club. It was a really good night, a full house and we raised a lot of money for some very worthwhile charities. So I’ve been here for a couple of days and I’m off home tomorrow.
DS. We were talking earlier and you’ve got a great memory for the games you played in. Tell us some of your memories from your 20 caps for Scotland.
Andy Gray: Well obviously your first cap is a good memory. I was always proud to play for my country but I remember my first one, which was not a great game. I didn’t play particularly well, we drew one all against Romania I think. And then I didn’t play well in my second game either and I was beginning to get worried that I’d get left out if I didn’t start scoring. But luckily in the next game against Finland, we beat them 6-0 at Hampden and I got two goals. Eddie Gray actually crossed the ball for my first ever international goal, a header surprisingly, and I just loved playing for Scotland. I played with great people like Eddie and Kenny Dalglish, it was just joyous. I loved it.
DS. Do you still follow the Scottish national team now?
Andy Gray: Of course I do. You never stop that. People sometimes criticize you when you move away from Scotland, thinking you become less Scottish, but actually in my opinion you become more Scottish as you defend your country’s corner more than you do when you’re at home. So I’m just hoping that we can finish our campaign for next year’s World Cup on a high, come second and maybe get a bit of luck in the draw for the playoffs and get through, because it’s been too long since we’ve been in a major competition.
DS. And do you still get a chance to follow the Scottish leagues?
Andy Gray: Not as much no because I’m so busy doing the English league, working every weekend, but obviously as a Rangers fan I always take note of what they’re doing. I was delighted for Walter and Ally last season. I thought it was heartbreaking the year before when too many games cost them the league title but it was a big year for them this year, and two of the nicest guys I know in the game are Walter Smith and Ally McCoist, so I was just really chuffed for them.
DS. Now we saw you here in America last year for the European Championships with ESPN, how was that experience?
Andy Gray: Good. I’ve worked for Sky now for 18 years so it was a real experience coming over to the States for four and half weeks and I loved it. It’s good to see another way of doing things. We had some good games, it was a good tournament and I enjoyed doing it, and hopefully it wont be the last one I do.
DS. Now, as an expat Scot yourself, is there anything you miss about Scotland when you are away from home?
Andy Gray: I would say everything. The scenery, my mother, the weather, golf courses, the people…pretty much everything. That’s what being Scottish is all about. But if there is one thing in particular, I would probably say my mum’s cooking.
Andy Gray was talking to The Dear.
In Part 2, Andy talks about his memories of the Scotland campaigns for the 1978, 82 and 86 World Cups and more.