I HAVE said before, and will doubtless say-so again, Scottish Fitba has a guid conceit o' itsel', but a conceit perhaps based more on a sense of self-agrandisment that on any reality which can be measured in terms of stirring deeds in World Cups, European Championships or success in the big club competitions.
Before my friends in the Celtic Family start screaming Seville at me, the reality is, we have won nothing in Europe since WGS and Mark McGhee were in "Fergie's Furies", more than 30-years ago.
Even when we did have justifiable delusions of adequacy, too-often we would be undone by selectorial blunders, or by indiscipline among a bunch of players, whose approach to being professional footballers was, probably, best summed-up by that of one of the grteatest we ever had, Slim Jim Baxter.
To the imperial Slim One: "Fitba's jist a wey o' gettin' tae shag better-lookin burds, ken". Touched by the Gods as he was, Baxter got away with it - for a time. Those who sought to emulate him, without his sublime skills, helped make us a laughing stock.
Back in the days of Crerand, McNeill and Baxter, we could petulantly drop our other Galactico, The Lawman, and still pump the Republic of Ireland by three clear goals. However, even then, if we under-estimated them, the men in green were more than capable of leaving us with a big reddy.
So-tight is this European Championships qualifying group in which we are oppossed by the Republic, that every point has to be preciously-guarded. Germany may at the moment be shaking-off its Brazilian hang-over, but, we must still expect them to top the group.
We are in a three-way struggle for the play-off place, with the Irish and the Poles, and, we simply cannot afford to drop any home points. We MUST beat our visitors to Celtic Park tonight.
No team managed, selected and organised by "The Blessed Martin" and the simmering rage that is Roy Keane can be dismissed lightly. Given the comparative record of the teams in head-to-heads over the last half-century, we must consider ourselves underdogs tonight.
Well, that is the role in which Scotland traditionally enjoyes itself. We can do it, and beat them, but, I don't expect there to be more than a single goal in it.
WELL done, yet again, the lassies of Glasgow City, who have battled their way into the last eight of the Women's Champions League. Brilliant show Ladies.
And, once again, black marks to the decision-makers on the Sports Desks of our increasingly incompetent and foolish-looking mainstream media, for more-or-less ignoring the story.
If even a quarter of the space devoted to the board-room in-fighting and financial jiggery-pokery around the Tribute Act, was devoted to the feel-good story of Glasgow City's European campaign, we would all be better-off.
If, instead of seeking-out retired "stars" to spout platitudes, or give us their loaded take in response to loaded questions lobbed to them by star-struck reporters, these same seekers after truth and enlightment used their brains and sent after a real feel-good, interesting story, then City would be back page headliners.
But, in the super-mnacho world of Scottish fitba, they are just a bunch o big lassies.
Aye, but, these lassies are good, very good, and, I salute them.
I WAS commiserating with an Honest Man on Wednesday morning. He had gone along to see Ayr United humbled by Alloa the night before. But, he had managed to put a brave face on things.
"Ach, we were so-bad after the first 20-minutes, at half-time we decided to give-up a bad job and go to the pub, it wasn't too-bad a night".
That's the right attitude to such a hammering as United suffered.
He'll be back for the next game though.
PARDON me for laughing at the latest FIFA "scandal", whereby Russia and Qatar get off Scot-free after an inquiry into the mess which has been the bidding for the 2018 and 2022 World Cups - while those guardians of probity and best practice, the FA, have been condemned.
You have to laugh, because, nothing will be done about it. FIFA will continue to be corrupt, the likes of Sepp Blatter and his cronies will continue to stick it to the saelf-appointed Master Race at every opportunity, and, while the loathsome Jack Warner may have been sacrificed as a face-saving exercise by Blatter's Brigade, international football politics will continue to smell every bit as much as real politics.
Mind you, England had it coming. Remember the way the FA was all-too-ready to jump into bed with the bad guys after John McBeth made his all-too-true, but, for him, all-too-silly comments on the probity and practices of some of the "gentlemen" he would have been obliged to sit down beside, had he been confirmed as the Four Home Nations' FIFA vice president.
When it suits them, the English will sup with the Devil - but, they lack a long spoon. Sir George Graham and his cohorts back in the pre-war days were maybe right in wanting nothing to do with foreigners in football.