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Football Players from Edinburgh

When it comes to culture, comedy and history Edinburgh is the standout city in Scotland, but when it comes to football the capital has to take a backseat to Glasgow. Hearts and Hibernian, magnificent clubs as they are, just don’t have the same national and international pull as Celtic or Rangers.

When it comes to talent production too, Edinburgh sadly lags behind not just Glasgow but many other regions of Scotland. That’s not to say that there haven’t been many a talented footballer to have hailed from Edinburgh though.

Current television pundit and formers Liverpool, Sampdoria and Rangers midfielder Graeme Souness for example, would bristle at the idea that Edinburgh hasn’t produced its fair share of footballing talent after having been born in the city and grown up in Saughton Mains.

In this article though, we’re not concerning ourselves with the past or the future, our focus is the present. Below we’ve compiled a list of some of the best Edinburgh born players currently plying their trade in professional football, read on to find out who they are.

Jon McLaughlin – Rangers

For the first time in years we have a proper title race in the SPL. At the time of writing Celtic sit just 3 points above Rangers having played a game more leaving the two utterly inseparable in the football betting odds.

One player hoping for a Rangers title win is Edinburgh born goalkeeper Jon McClaughlin who has been at Ibrox since 2020. Whilst not Number One choice, McClaughlin is a great example of the never say die attitude.

Starting out at non-league Harrogate Railway Athletic in 2006, McClaughlin’s performances soon caught the eye and moves to Harrogate Town and Bradford City followed. In 2017 the shotstopper moved back to his native Edinburgh to play for Hearts before a brief spell at Sunderland.

In addition to his 476 career games, McLaughlin has also represented his country on 2 occasions.

Ryan Porteous – Watford

24-year-old centre back Ryan Porteous was born in Edinburgh and started out his football career playing for Edina Hibs, then Aberdeen before moving back to the city of his birth to play for the club he supported – Hibernian.

A loan spell to Edinburgh City in 2016 allowed the young centre-back to cut his teeth, giving him the platform to return to Easter Road and nail down a starting berth. 120 appearances and 11 goals later Porteous’ performances caught the eye of Championship club Watford in January 2023.

Since then Porteous has been an ever-present in the Watford team, making 43 appearances and scoring 2 goals. His club form has been recognised by Steve Clarke too, with the Scotland manager handing him 9 international caps.

Alistair McCann – Preston North End

Is there a more Scottish name than Alistair? Strange then that Alistair McCann, known as Ali, plays his international football for Northern Ireland. Whilst McCann was born and raised in Edinburgh, his Mother is English and his Father is Northern Irish. Perhaps knowing the backlash it would cause to represent his maternal nation, he instead opted to represent the Green and White Army.

It looks like a good decision too as McCann has made 8 senior appearances for Northern Ireland and scored 1 goal. With the retirement of Steven Davis, McCann will be looking to stake his claim in Norn Iron’s engine room.

Domestically McCann is an ever present in the Preston North End midfield after joining the club from St Johnstone in 2021.

Callum Paterson – Sheffield Wednesday

This is a dubious one but we’re claiming him all the same. Callum Paterson was actually born in Scotland, but Edinburgh is his true home and it’s where he started his football career in 2012 with Hearts.

Since then the right-back-cum-striker has made 95 appearances for Cardiff City, including 27 in the Premier League and 127 for Sheffield Wednesday – famously scoring in the Owls’ superb play-off comeback against Peterborough United last season.

Internationally Paterson has made 17 appearances for his country, but at the age of 29 still has a couple more years to add to that tally.

Scott Bain – Celtic

We started this article with a back-up ‘keeper for Glasgow Rangers so what better way to finish it than with a back-up ‘keeper at Glasgow Celtic? 32-year-old Edinburgh born shot-stopper Scott Bain started off his career at Aberdeen before taking in spells at Elgin City, Alloa, Dundee and Hibs before arriving at Celtic Park in 2018. In that time he has made 46 league appearances for the Hoops and won almost a similar amount of trophies. Internationally he has made 3 appearances for Scotland, making his debut in a friendly against Qatar in 2015.



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