THE DAYS when Scotland had a star-studded line-up are long gone and a succession of managers have tried – in vain – to bring success back to the Tartan Army. Scotland, after a period in which they were regular participants in the World Cup, having had a summer tournament to look forward to since 1998 – that’s five Euros and five World Cups. Steve Clarke, … Continue reading Football Media Watch: A hint that Scotland might just believe again
FOOTBALL’s principal emerging nations, the US and China, have almost arrived, with the top divisions of their leagues in the top 10 in terms of spectator interest. According to CIES Football Observatory’s latest report, China and the US are sixth and eighth respectively over the past five years by average crowds. The German Bundesliga has an average of 43,302 with the English Premier second-placed on … Continue reading Stable gates, but study underlines systemic clubs
THEN, AS NOW, Celtic ruled the roost in Scotland, winning everything that came before them at home and, in the 1960s, abroad. Rangers, who had a decent team in the late 1960s were in their shadows and the rest of Scottish football could only look on and admire. Celtic were Scottish Champions with a two-point margin over Rangers in 1967-68 with Hibernian in third place … Continue reading Great Reputations: Dunfermline Athletic 1967-69 – heroes from Fife
IRONICALLY, two of England’s most documented and discussed games happen to be defeats – Hungary’s win in 1953 and two and a half decades earlier, England 1 Scotland 5. The Scots have never forgotten how they humbled their fierce rivals at Wembley in 1928 and the defeat stands alongside other defining moments in history when the English have had their noses blooded by the tartan hordes. … Continue reading Great Reputations: Scotland’s “Wee Blue Devils” of 1928
THE GREEN flags are flying in Glasgow as Celtic are crowned Scottish champions, but even the most myopic member of the tartan army would struggle to deny that the nation’s football remains in a worrying state. There are some sceptics who would suggest that Scotland’s current situation is how England might look if it were not for the massive injection of TV money the Premier … Continue reading Celtic are worthy champions, but what happens next?
A few weeks ago, I bumped into a gaggle of kilt-wearing Scots at London Kings Cross station, each of them carrying plastic bags full of provisions for the long trip north. They all lived up to the steroptypical image of a Scotsman abroad – tam o shanters, football shirts (new and vintage) and of course, the Saltire, the symbol of Scottish nationalism. The sight of … Continue reading The “Tartan Army” is still alive, and I’ve seen it
They call Perth the “Fair City” and if you’ve waited 130 years for the local football team – St. Johnstone – to win a piece of silverware, it sounds like patience might also be one of its virtues. It is hard to believe that Perth is a city at all, because by modern definitions, it looks like the sort of market town you find dotted … Continue reading Perth rejoices
It is good to see England taking on the “old enemy” once more, despite the fact that both nations, from an international football perspective, are faded forces. England v Scotland used to be the ideal fixture to bring the curtain down on the season. It meant a lot to both countries, although it seemed to matter more to the Scots, who would come down to … Continue reading England v Scotland. It makes sense.
In a week when Gordon Strachan admitted that Scottish football needs “wholesale reform”, it was interesting to see comedian Andy Cameron on a re-run of Top of the Pops, singing “Ally’s Army”, that paen to the 1978 Scottish international team bound for Argentina. How times change, for in 35 years, Scotland have gone from being a confident, strident international team to absolute also-rans. In fact, … Continue reading Scotland the weak