110 Most powerful Scots
Written by a different contributor to the main author of this site.
The 110 Most Powerful Scottish Leaders.
This is a list on the most powerful leaders that Scotland has produced.
This list is not supporting or criticising the leadership policies of these 110 leaders. It is just a list of power due to their positions, as leader.
This is not a list detailing who had the most influence or who had the most impact. This is a list of who had the most directly powerful positions.
Some of these leaders did terrible things, or great things,. It will depend on your political perspective.
The leaders are taken from all spectrums of life, politics, religion, sports, army, and broadcasting.
110. Vipoig was a legendary Pictish king who ruled from around 311 to 341.
109. Gartnait II Duberr of the Picts. King from 347-387.
108. Arthur Woodburn. Secretary of State for Scotland 1947-50. Plus was Minister of Supply.
107. Lou Macari. Scottish footballer and manager. Played for Glasgow Celtic, Man Utd, and Swindon Town. Managed Swindon Town, West Ham United, Birmingham City, Stoke City, Glasgow Celtic, and Huddersfield Town.
108. Andy Roxburgh Scottish footballer and manager. Managed Scotland from 1986-93. Roxburgh was UEFA technical director 1994-2012.
Has worked as Technical Director with the Asian Football Confederation.
106. Jim Telfer. Born Melrose, Scotland. Scottish Rugby coach who managed the Scottish team and the British Lions. Reached the World Cup Quarter Final as Scottish boss twice. Won a five nations grand slam as manager.
105. Very Rev William Hamilton. A Scottish Presbyterian minister of the Church of Scotland. Professor of divinity at the University of Edinburgh, Scotland, from 1709-1732 and principal of the university from 1730 to 1732.
104. Johnny Cochrane was a Scottish football player and manager. Born in Paisley, Scotland. He managed Sunderland to the English title and FA Cup. He also managed St Mirren, and Reading.
103. Jock Wallace was a professional Scottish football player and manager. Born in Wallyford, Scotland. He managed Berwick Rangers, Glasgow Rangers, Leicester City, Motherwell, Sevilla, and Colchester United.
102. Alexander II of Scotland. King of Scotland 1214-49.
101. Gordon Strachan. Born Edinburgh, Scotland. Scottish football player and a manger. Played for Aberdeen. Dundee, Man Utd, Coventry City and Leeds United. Managed Coventry City, Southampton, Glasgow Celtic, Middlesbrough, and Scotland. As manager won 3 Scottish titles, 1 Scottish Cup and 3 Scottish League Cups with Glasgow Celtic.
100. David Moyes, Scottish football player and manager. Has managed Preston North End, Everton, Manchester United, Real Sociedad, Sunderland and West Ham United.
99. Graeme Souness. Scottish football player and manager. Had a successful career as a player with Scotland, Liverpool, Sampdoria, and Middlesbrough. Became a successful manager at Glasgow Rangers. Before mixed spells as manager of Liverpool, Galatasaray, Southampton, Torino, Benfica, Blackburn Rovers, and Newcastle United. Won 3 Scottish titles, and 4 Scottish League Cups as manager of Glasgow Rangers.
98. Ada of Scotland. The Scottish countess married Floris III, Count of Holland, in the 12th Century.
97. Gordon Joseph Gray Born Edinburgh, Scotland. Scottish cardinal. Archbishop of St. Andrews and Edinburgh from 1951 to 1985
96. Alex McLeish. Born in Glasgow, Scotland. Scottish football player and manager. After a glittering career at Aberdeen FC. McLeish moved into management. He managed Motherwell, Hibernian, Glasgow Rangers, Scotland, Birmingham City, Aston Villa, Nottingham Forest, Genk, and Zamalek. He won 2 Scottish League titles, 2 Scottish Cups and 3 Scottish League Cups as manager of Glasgow Rangers. He also won the English League Cup at Birmingham City as a manager.
95. Thomas Winning was a Scottish Cardinal of the Roman Catholic Church. He served as Archbishop of Glasgow from 1974 and President of the Bishops' Conference of Scotland from 1985 until his death. Born 1925 Wishaw, Lanarkshire, Scotland.
97. George Hay, 1st Earl of Kinnoull. Lord Chancellor of Scotland 1622–1634.
94. John Leslie, 1st Duke of Rothes. Lord Chancellor of Scotland 1664–1681.
93. Alexander Seton, 1st Earl of Dunfermline. Born at Seton Palace, East Lothian. Lord Chancellor of Scotland 1604–1622.
92. George Gordon, 4th Earl of Huntly. Lord Chancellor of Scotland 1546–1562.
91. George Hay, 1st Earl of Kinnoull. Lord Chancellor of Scotland 1622–1634.
90. James Beaton. Scottish cleric. Archbishop of Glasgow 1508–1522, Archbishop of St Andrews 1522–1539. Lord Chancellor of Scotland 1515–1526.
89. Robert Blackadder. Scottish cleric, diplomat and politician. Abbot of Melrose, Bishop-elect of Aberdeen and Bishop of Glasgow; which was elevated to archiepiscopal status in 1492,
88. James Stuart, 1st Viscount Stuart of Findhorn. Born Edinburgh. Secretary of State for Scotland 1951-57.
87. Henry Wardlaw. Scottish church leader. Bishop of St Andrews and founder of the University of St Andrews.
86. John Campbell, 1st Earl of Loudoun. Lord Chancellor of Scotland from 1641-1660.
85. David Cardinal Beaton. Born Fife, Scotland. Was Archbishop of St Andrews and last Scottish Cardinal prior to the Reformation.
84. Margaret of Huntingdon. Scottish princess and Duchess of Brittany.
83. Tommy Doherty. Born Glasgow Scotland. Scottish football player and manager. He managed Chelsea, Rotherham United, Queens Park Rangers, Aston Villa, Porto, Scotland, Manchester United, Derby County, Sydney Olympic, Preston North End, South Melbourne, Wolverhampton Wanderers, and Altrincham. As a manager he won the Football League Cup with Chelsea and the FA Cup with Man Utd.
82. William Wishart. A Church of Scotland minister and the Principal of Edinburgh University from 1716 to 1728. Five times moderator of the Church of Scotland.
81. Elizabeth Stuart, a royal consort as Queen of Bohemia in the 17th Century. Born Dunfermline, Scotland.
80. Craig Brown. Born Glasgow, Scotland. Scottish football player and manager. Served as Scotland national football manager from 1993-2001. Also worked as manager for Clyde, Preston North End, Motherwell, and Aberdeen.
79. Isabella Stewart. A Scottish princess who became Duchess of Brittany due to marriage to Francis I of Brittany.
78. Malcolm IV King of Scotland.
77. Eleanor of Scotland. A daughter of James the First of Scotland. Archduchess of Austria by marriage to Sigismund, Archduke of Austria, the regent of Austria in 1455-58 and 1467.
76. Walter Wardlaw was a 14th-century bishop of Glasgow in Scotland. A cardinal. Also an ambassador to England.
75. Tom Johnston. Secretary of State for Scotland, 1941–45. Born Kirkintilloch, Scotland. Member of the Labour Party.
74. George Graham. Scottish football player and manager. Bargeddie, Scotland. Played for Arsenal, Chelsea and Manchester United. But managed Arsenal, Millwall, Leeds United, and Tottenham Hotspur. As a manager at Arsenal he won two English league titles, 1 FA Cup, two English League Cups, and the European Cup Winners Cup. While manager at Spurs he won the English League Cup.
73. Billy McNeill. Scottish football player and manager. Captain of the 1967 European Cup winning Glasgow Celtic team. But also manager of Glasgow Celtic, Aberdeen, Clyde, Manchester City, Aston Villa, and Hibernian. As a manager he won 4 titles, 3 Scottish Cups, and 1 League Cup with Celtic.
72. Malcolm IV. King of Scotland 1153-1165.
71. Elizabeth de Burgh. Wife of Robert the Bruce. Was Royal Consort from 1306–1327.
70. Malcolm II was King of the Scots from 1005-1034.
69. Matilda of Scotland. Born Dunfermline, Scotland. Royal Consort to Henry I King of England. She was royal consort from 1100-1118.
68. Kenny Dalglish. Born Glasgow, Scotland. Scottish football player and manager. He played for Glasgow Celtic and Liverpool. Winning 3 European cups with Liverpool as a player. As a manager he managed Liverpool, Blackburn Rovers, Newcastle United, Celtic. As manager of Liverpool he won 3 League titles, 2 FA Cups and 1 League Cup. At Blackburn Rovers he managed the team to 1 Premier League title.
67. Helen Liddell. Born in Coatbridge, North Lanarkshire, Scotland. First woman to be Secretary of State for Scotland. Also served as British High Commissioner to Australia. Also served in the government of Britain as Minister of State for Trade and Industry, Minister of State for Transport, Minister of State for Scotland, and Economic Secretary to the Treasury.
66. Henry McLeish. Scottish First Minister 2000 – 2001. Born in Methil, Fife, Scotland. Labour Party politician.
65. Jack McConnell. Born in Ayrshire, Scotland. Labour Party politician who was First Minister of Scotland from 2001-07.
64. Willie Maley. Scottish football player and manager. Born in Ireland, but was Scottish. He played for Scotland at international level. He managed Glasgow Celtic from 1897 to 1940. He won 16 Scottish League titles, and 14 Scottish Cups as manager of Celtic.
63. Sir Robert 'Robin' Brown Black. 1956 – 64. Born in Edinburgh, Scotland.
Governor of Hong Kong from 1958 – 1964. Governor of Singapore from 1955 – 1957 and as Colonial Secretary of Hong Kong from 1952 – 1955.
62. Crawford Murray MacLehose, Baron MacLehose of Beoch. 1971 – 82. Glasgow, Scotland.
Governor and Commander-in-Chief of Hong Kong 1971–1982. Also served as UK Ambassador to Denmark and UK Ambassador Vietnam.
61. Sir Ian Robert McGeechan, OBE is a Scottish former rugby union player and coach. Born in England, but qualified to play for Scotland at international level. Managed Scotland to a World Cup Semi Final in 1991, a grand slam in 1990. Also managed Northampton Saints, British Lions, London Wasps, and Bath Rugby.
60. John Paul Jones. Born Arbigland, Kirkcudbrightshire, Scotland. Major Naval commander in the War of American Independence.
59. John Reid. Served in the UK government of Tony Blair. Born in Bellshill, Scotland. A former Secretary of State for Scotland. A former Secretary of State for Northern Ireland. British Health Secretary from 2003- 2005, British Defence Secretary from 2005-2006, and Home Secretary from 2006 to 2007. Also served as Chairman of Glasgow Celtic FC.
58. William Struth was the second manager of Glasgow Rangers Football Club, leading the club for 34 years between 1920 and 1954. Struth is one of the most successful managers in Scottish and British football history, winning 30 major trophies in his career; a record 18 Scottish league championships, 10 Scottish Cups and two Scottish League Cups. Including the first domestic Scottish treble.
47. Sir Alexander Mackenzie. Scottish civil servant. Born in Dumfries, Scotland. Employed as Chief Commissioner of the British Crown Colony of Burma from 1890-95, and as Lieutenant-Governor of Bengal from 1895-1898.
56. Sir George Houston Reid. Born in Johnstone, Renfrewshire, Scotland. Represented the Free Trade Party. Reached to become Prime Minister of Australia 1904-05. Australian High Commissioner to the United Kingdom, and Premier of New South Wales.
58. George Home 1st Earl of Dunbar. Chancellor of the Exchequer for England from 1603–1606. Born in Dunbar, East Lothian, Scotland.
55. John Reith, 1st Baron Reith. Director-General of the BBC 1927-38. Also in British government as Minister of Information, Minister of Transport, First Commissioner of Works, Minister of Works & Buildings and First Commissioner of Works, and Minister of Works and Planning.
54. Alistair Darling. Despite being born in England, he was brought up in Scotland. He went to Aberdeen University. Darling was British Chief Secretary to the Treasury, British Secretary of State for Work and Pensions. British Secretary of State for Transport, also becoming Secretary of State for Scotland, President of the Board of Trade and Secretary of State for Trade and Industry. Gordon Brown promoted Darling to British Chancellor of the Exchequer from 2007-2010. Led the anti-independence movement in the 2014 Scottish independence referendum.
53. William E Smith. Governor of Wisconsin.1878-82. Born Inverness, Scotland. He represented the Republican Party.
52. Andrew Fisher. Prime Minister of Australia, from 1908–1909, 1910–1913, and 1914–1915. Born in Crosshouse, Ayrshire, Scotland. He represented the Australian Labor Party.
51. John Macpherson. Was acting Governor-General of Bengal from 1785 to 1786. Born in Sleat Isle of Skye, Scotland.
50. Walter Smith OBE. Born in Lanark, Scotland, and is a Scottish former football player, manager and director. He had two spells as manager of Scottish club Glasgow Rangers. He managed Glasgow Rangers, Scotland, and Everton. He won 10 Scottish titles as a manager of Glasgow Rangers, and took Rangers to a UEFA Cup Final.
49. William Whitelaw, 1st Viscount Whitelaw. Born in Nairn, Scotland. He represented the Conservative Party. Had various roles in government such as Leader of the House of Lords, Secretary of State for Employment, Secretary of State for Northern Ireland, British Home Secretary, Chairman of the Conservative Party. Lord President of the Council, and Chief Whip.
48. David Bremner Henderson. Scottish Born Speaker of the United States House of Representatives 1899 – 1903. Born in Old Deer, Aberdeenshire, Scotland, and represented the Republican Party.
47. John Knox. He was a leader of Scotland's Reformation. He was the founder of the Presbyterian Church of Scotland. Born Haddington, East Lothian, Scotland.
46. William Bauchop Wilson. Born Blantyre, Lanarkshire, Scotland. United States Secretary of Labor 1913-21. A Scottish born United States Cabinet secretary.
45. James Wilson. Born in Ayrshire, Scotland. Secretary of Agriculture 1897-1913, in the United States cabinet. Scottish Born United States Cabinet Member.
44. Jock Stein. Former football player and manager. Managed Glasgow Celtic to ten Scottish League titles, plus 8 Scottish Cups and 6 Scottish League Cups. Most importantly, as manager, he won a European Cup in 1967. Also managed, Scotland, Dunfermline Athletic, Hibernian, and Leeds United. He won a Scottish Cup as Dunfermline boss.
45. Matt Busby. Former football player and manager. Most famous for being manager of English football side Manchester United. Lifting the European Cup in 1968. He managed Man Utd to 5 English Titles, and 2 FA Cups. He also managed the Scotland football team.
43. Malcolm Rifkind. Born in Edinburgh, Scotland. A Conservative Party politician. He served as Secretary of State for Scotland, British Defence Secretary. He reached the role of British Foreign Secretary in the nineties.
42. Alex Salmond. Served as First Minister of Scotland from 2007 – 2014. Born in Linlithgow, Scotland. Was a Leader of the Scottish National Party. Led the independence movement in the 2014 referendum.
41. Nicola Sturgeon. Has been Scottish First Minister. Born in Irvine, Ayrshire, Scotland. Has been Leader of the Scottish National Party. First woman to be Scottish First Minister.
40. Donald Dewar. The first person to be Scottish First Minister. Also served as Secretary of State for Scotland.
39. Mary, Queen of Scots. Ruled Scotland from 1542-1567, also known as Mary Stuart or Mary I of Scotland. Born in Linlithgow Palace, Kingdom of Scotland. Also served as a Queen consort of France, for 1 year.
38. Bill Shankly was a Scottish football player, and manager, who is best known for his time as a charismatic manager of Liverpool. Shankly brought success to Liverpool, gaining promotion to the top division and claiming three English League Championships, two FA Cups, and the UEFA Cup.
47. Sir John Gilmour, 2nd Baronet. Born, Montrave, Fife, Scotland. Party Unionist. British Home Secretary from 1932 to 1935. Also served as Secretary of State for Scotland 1926–1929. Secretary for Scotland 1924–1926. Minister of Shipping 1939–1940.
38. Alexander III King of Scots from 1249-1286.
36. Sir Archibald Douglas Cochrane. Governor of British Crown Colony of Burma 1936–1941. Born Springfield, Cupar, Fife, Scotland.
35. Sir Alex Ferguson. Famous Scottish football manager and player. Former manager of Aberdeen, Scotland, Manchester United, St Mirren, and East Strilingshire. Most famous for managing Manchester United to one World Club Championship, one intercontinental championship, two European Cups, 1 European Cup Winners Cup, 1 European Super Cup, 13 English Premier League titles, 5 FA Cups, and 4 English League Cups. Also won 3 Scottish League titles, 4 Scottish Cups, 1 Scottish League Cup, a European Cup Winners Cup and a European Super Cup for Aberdeen FC.
34 David Patrick Maxwell Fyfe, 1st Earl of Kilmuir. Born Edinburgh, Scotland. Conservative Party politician.
He was Solicitor General, Ministers of Welsh Affairs, Attorney General for England and Wales, British Home Secretary and Lord High Chancellor of Great Britain.
33. Norman Lamont. 1990 – 93. Born Lerwick, Shetland, Scotland. Conservative politician who was Financial Secretary to the Treasury, Chief Secretary to the Treasury, and British Chancellor of the Exchequer.
32. Robin Cook. Born in Bellshill, Scotland. Member of the Labour Party. Was British Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, and Leader of the House of Commons.
31. John Stuart Macpherson. Governor-General of Nigeria 1948–55. Born Edinburgh, Scotland.
30. Sir James Wilson Robertson. Governor-General of Nigeria 1955-60. Born Broughty Ferry, Dundee, Scotland.
29. John Stuart 3rd Earl of Bute. Prime Minister of Great Britain 1762 – 63. Born Edinburgh, Scotland. Tory Party leader. Was also Leader of the House of Lords, and Secretary of State for the Northern Department.
28. Sir John Anderson, 1st Viscount Waverley. He was British Chancellor of the Exchequer 1943-45, Lord President of the Council, British Home Secretary, Minister of Home Security. He also served as Under-Secretary of State for the Home Department, and Governor of Bengal. Born Dalkeith, Midlothian, Scotland. He was not affiliated to any party.
27. George Campbell, 8th Duke of Argyll Scottish Born Secretary of State for India from 1868 – 74. Born Ardencaple Castle, Dunbartonshire. A Liberal Party politician. Was also Lord Privy Seal.
26. George Hamilton-Gordon, 4th Earl of Aberdeen. Prime Minister of the United Kingdom 1852 – 1855. Born Edinburgh, Scotland. A Tory, Peelite and Conservative Party politician. He was also Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster, British Secretary of State for War and the Colonies, and British Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs.
25 Field Marshal Douglas Haig, 1st Earl Haig, KT, GCB, OM, GCVO, KCIE was a senior officer of the British Army. During the First World War, he commanded the British Expeditionary Force on the Western Front from late 1915 until the end of the war. He was born in Edinburgh, Scotland.
He was also a Chief of the General Staff in India.
24. Constantine II. He was an early King of Scotland 900-943, known then by the Gaelic name Alba. The Kingdom of Alba, a name which first appears in Constantine's lifetime.
23. Kenneth II, and nicknamed An Fionnghalach, The Fratricide. He was King of the Scots from 971-995.
22. James V was King of Scotland from 9 September 1513 until his death in 1542.
21. James IV was the King of Scotland from 1488 to his death at the Battle of Flodden.
20. Victor Hope 2nd Marquess of Linlithgow. Governor-General and Viceroy of India from 1936 to 1943. Born Linlithgowshire, Scotland.
19. James Broun-Ramsay, 1st Marquess of Dalhousie. Governor-General of India 1848–56. Born Dalhousie Castle, Midlothian, Scotland. Was also British President of the Board of Trade.
18. Gilbert Elliot-Murray-Kynynmound, 1st Earl of Minto. Governor-General of India between 1807 and 1813. Born Edinburgh, Scotland. He was also Viceroy of the Anglo-Corsican Kingdom from 1793 to 1796.
17. George Robertson, Baron Robertson of Port Ellen. He was Secretary General of NATO from 1999 to 2004. Was British Secretary of State for Defence from 1997 to 1999. Born Port Ellen, Argyll.
16. Macbeth. King of Scots from 1040 until his death. He ruled over Scotland. His life was the basis of the play, The Tragedy of Macbeth by William Shakespeare.
15. Malcolm III King of Scots from 1058 to 1093.
14. Gordon Brown. 2007 – 2010. Born Glasgow, Scotland. Labour Party politician. Prime Minister of the United Kingdom 2007-10. British Chancellor of the Exchequer 1997-2007.
13. Sir Henry Campbell-Bannerman. Prime Minister of the United Kingdom 1905–08. Born Glasgow, Scotland. Liberal Party politician.
Also served as British Secretary of State for War, Chief Secretary for Ireland, and Financial Secretary to the War Office.
12. Kenneth MacAlpin. King of the Picts who, according to national myth, was the first king of Scots. Was King from 843-858.
11 Sir William Wallace. A Scottish rebel warrior, from the 13th and 14th Centuries, who fought for Scottish independence. His life is the basis of the famous Holkywood movie Braveheart.
10. Tony Blair. Prime Minister of the United Kingdom 1997-2007.
9. Ramsay MacDonald. Prime Minister of the United Kingdom 1924-24 and 1929–35. Born Lossiemouth, Morayshire, Scotland. A Labour and National Labour Party politician.
8. Arthur James Balfour, 1st Earl of Balfour. Prime Minister of the United Kingdom 1902 – 05. Born East Lothian, Scotland. A Conservative Party politician.
Was also Lord President of the Council, British Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs, First Lord of the Admiralty, Lord Keeper of the Privy Seal, Chief Secretary for Ireland, and Secretary for Scotland. Was also Leader of the House of Commons, and Lord Privy Seal.
7. James I of Scotland. was King of Scotland from 1406 to 1437. Born Dunfermline Abbey, Fife, Scotland.
6. Andrew Carnegie, born Dunfermline, Fife, Scotland.
One of the wealthiest people in history. Built his money in the USA steel industry in the 19th century. Then became a famous philanthropist funding libraries and educational organisations. He also campaigned for world peace.
5. David II. King of Scotland from 1329 until 1371.
4. William the Lion reigned as King of Scots from 1165 to 1214 sometimes called William I.
3. Robert the Bruce. Ruled Scotland from 1306-1329. Famed for leading Scotland to victory in a War of Independence.
2. Charles the 1 King of Scotland, England and Ireland. Ruled as King of England, Scotland, and Ireland from 1625-49. Defeated in a Civil War over his rule. Was also the Prince of Wales from 1616-25.
1. James VI of Scotland, and England. Unified the crowns of England, and Scotland. Ruled as King of Scotland from 1567-1625, and as King of England from
The main author of this site would have put Gladtsone in the top 10, and MacMillan, on the list,
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