Lambert has lots of friends in high places

Maybe there is something in the water, but you don't have to look very far in the Premier League before you find a Scottish football manager. Six to be precise: Sir Alex Ferguson, Kenny Dalglish, David Moyes, Owen Coyle, Alex McLeish and Steve Kean.

What's the betting that Paul Lambert won't make it seven?

City's boss is keeping his distance from the list while there are still matters to be sorted out in the Championship, but there would be a certain sequential symmetry if the Canaries did make it.

Lambert – along with Leicester's Sven-Goran Eriksson the only Championship managers not to have been on the books of an English club as a player – has the same Glaswegian background as his peers.

Ferguson, Dalglish, Moyes and Kean were all born in Glasgow, Coyle at Paisley, in Greater Glasgow, and McLeish at Barrhead, which is a few miles out of the city. For all intents and purposes they are to modern day football what the legendary triumvirate of Sir Matt Busby, Bill Shankly and Jock Stein were in the 60s and 70s, three men born within a few miles of each other just south of Glasgow.


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What exactly is it about Scotland that breeds leaders of men?

'I think the Glasgow background is a strong thing,' said Lambert. 'If you look at the best one around, he has one foot in the Champions League final again, which is unbelievable, what Sir Alex Ferguson at Manchester United has done.

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'Then you've got David Moyes and Owen Coyle – they have done unbelievable jobs there as well. Alex McLeish, Steve Kean at Blackburn. There are a number of managers – I don't know if it is an inbred thing not to get beat. I think that might be it. I saw Sir Alex Ferguson saying the other day that he didn't know if the Scottish had got some sort of thing in them that drives them on.'

Perhaps the Glasgow background toughens the body and soul?

Lambert agrees. 'I think, being brought up there, yes. It's a brilliant place, no doubt, and it's something I am proud of, to be Glaswegian, that's for sure. I wouldn't change it – and I played with a fantastic club which definitely makes you harder due to the club it is, there is no doubt.'

Lambert can be forgiven for not mentioning Dalglish, a man of a previous era – and yet to be confirmed as Liverpool's full-time manager – but he is familiar with the younger crop of Scottish managers.

'I know Owen, I played against him a few times,' he said. 'David I know. He was at Celtic, but that was well before my time, but I have obviously met him a few times and played against him in pre-season friendlies. I know Owen pretty well and he has done fantastic at Bolton.

'I don't know if it is that Glasgow background that does it – and you can go back to Jock Stein and Shankly and Sir Matt Busby. It is a strange thing.

'I think there is a great inner desire that drives them on, I think that's what does it.'

What Lambert does not do is allow himself to be listed alongside them: it hasn't happened and even the suggestion is not yet welcome.

Two more wins and you might get away with it.

The quest for the Premier League continues on Monday evening at Portsmouth: if Cardiff lose to Middlesbrough in the early evening kick-off, a win at Fratton Park will make City a Premier League team next season.

Not bad considering what the target was at the start of the season, when Lambert was already attracting accolades for taking City back into the Championship at the first attempt.

'To stay in the league,' is the simple response. It's because the Lambert ethos is win, win, win.

'You have got to win,' says Lambert, before repeating the exact same words. 'There is no point in playing brilliantly and losing and walking away with nothing.

'That is what the game is about. You have to win. If you walk away and you have won something you can look back and think, 'yeh, I did alright'. But I played with world class players. That sometimes is a flippant statement, world class, but I did. I saw what certain lads were like and they were world class. I played under some incredible managers as well, which has been an eye opener, but top, top managers and how they dealt with top, top players.'

Lambert won a European Cup with Borussia Dortmund and every domestic honour with Celtic. They're in his own personal memory bank to be brought out when he wants them.

Today is all about being a manager, not a player – perhaps the easy bit.

'I think being a player you can look after yourself so when the game finishes you go home in your car,' Lambert said. 'As a manager you have to get not just 11 lads playing for you, you have to get 20 odd lads that want to enjoy it, want to do it and want to go with the same group that has been playing, and the ones that don't play are every bit as important as the ones that do play because they keep the lads on their toes. So it is not easy, it is definitely not easy, but it is probably more satisfying in a way that you have got a group of lads that I think will run through walls for you, which is brilliant for me. I am delighted with them.'

Run through two more walls, and suddenly the Glasgow contingent in the Premier League could be increased by one.

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