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Alec Cleland -  Right Defender


Squad No. 20
Joined Jul 1998
Transfer Fee Free Transfer
Signed by Walter Smith
Debut v Aston Villa (h),
15 August 1998
Born Glasgow, Scotland
Date of birth 10 December 1970
Height 5' 8" (173 cm)
Nicknames  
Honours Scotland B International
Final v Aston Villa (a),
30 Jan 2002
Left Everton 15 May 2002


STRENGTHS
Brave Scottish heart
Likes to get forward
Reasonable all-round strengths
Has some ball skills

WEAKNESSES
Not strong enough for first choice
Occasionally gets roasted
Final ball can be poor

A popular player with Walter Smith, and an adaptable defender who tends to play in the right-back slot, Alec Cleland had been a regular in the Rangers team under Smith's tenure at Ibrox.  Following Smith's departure in 1998, he joined the exodus of first-teamers and consequent break-up of a Rangers squad that had won the previous 9 Scottish Championships.

A solid if unspectacular player, Alec was a regular right back for Rangers, although he did suffer the ignominy of being sent off in a Champions League game in Juventus after being given a torrid time by Alessandro del Piero.

Ironically, he arrived at Goodison Park on the same day as Smith took over the managerial reins after Howard Kendall had made overtures to bring him to England on a free transfer.

Walter Smith never seemed fully convinced about playing his old charge, but Cleland did figure in a number of games, playing at right back and filling in at centre half when needed during the 1998-99 season.

However, his first season with the Blues was interrupted first by his sending off after just 11 minutes against Aston Villa, and then by a torn calf muscle which ruled him out for the remainder of the season.

In 1999-00, Cleland was relegated to the role of squad rotation player, filling in at the back when other players were injured...  until he picked up a bad calf injury himself against Bradford City.  Alec later needed an operation to mend the damage, ruling him out for the rest of that campaign as well.

His 2000-01 season wasn't much better.  No sooner had he made a comeback to the first team than he picked up another injury. After a few reserve games he then played 90 mins in the 2-0 win over Arsenal at Goodison before injury struck him down once more and he had to wait until the Tottenham game in January before being involved again.  

He then got injured again against Coventry the following week and apart from the final few reserve games, didn't see action until 2002 when he reappeared as a substitute during Everton's injury crisis which kept both right back regular Steve Watson and his understudy, Tony Hibbert, sidelined.

Cleland was one of those who stood little chance under the exacting demands of David Moyes; he was released when his contract expired at the end of the 2001-02 season and finally retired form football in January 2003, citing that troublesome calf injury.
 

Everton Career
Season
Squad
Number
League
Apps (sub)
League
Goals
Cup
Apps (sub)
Cup
Goals
Total
Apps (sub)
Total
Goals
1998-99
2
16 (2)
0
3 (1)
0
19 (3)
0
1999-2k
2
3 (6)
0
3 (0)
0
6 (6)
0
2000-01
20
2 (3)
0
1 (1)
0
3 (4)
0
2001-02
20
0 (3)
0
0 (0)
0
0 (3)
0
 
Totals
21 (14)
0
7 (2)
0
28 (16)
0

 

Previous Career
Seasons Club Appearances Goals
1987-1995 Dundee United 151 8
1995-1998 Glasgow Rangers 90 (6) + 32 (4) 4 + 3

 

 

 

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