Socrates MacSporran

Socrates MacSporran
No I am not Chick Young, but I can remember when Scottish football was good

Sunday, 13 August 2017

Stokes And Beaton Should Be Beaten For Their Folly

TONY McGLENNAN, the SFA's Disciplinary Compliance Officer is in for a busy couple of days – reviewing the footage from Saturday's Rangers v Hibs game at Ibrox.

Ryan Jack and Anthony Stokes have a tete a tete

And if, at the end of it, Hibs' Anthony Stokes isn't looking at a lengthy suspension, then McGlennan clearly isn't doing his job. I refrained from saying too-much about this latest outbreak of unsavoury football, until I had seen the lowlights on TV on Sunday night.

Just how the fiery Stokes stayed on the pitch is a mystery to me. His assault on James Tavernier, early in the match, was as clear a red card as I have seen. He then commits another red-card offence, when he tried to throttle Ryan Jack. OK, Jack has only himself to blame for a clear retaliatory butt at Stokes, feeble though it was – but, just how John Beaton didn't also dismiss Stokes – particularly since he was already on a yellow card, has me totally dumbfounded.

John Beaton - had a "Collum" on Saturday

Maybe Mr McGlennan should also suspend Mr Beaton, for gross dereliction of duty. This was as poor a display of officiating as I have seen in a long time. I gather the technical term is: "He had a Collum".

PHYSICAL EDUCATION teachers, or as they were in my day: “Gym teachers” have long been the whipping boys of the teaching profession. It used to be said, because new students in each year at the Scottish School of Physical Education at Jordanhill College were, on arrival, given a number, these dolled-out alphabetically – PE teachers wore their IQ on their backs.

The same might well be said about footballers, although, with today's penchant for squad numbers, one or two are clearly being given numbers higher than their IQ.

I reckon that applies to Newcastle United skipper Jonjo Shelvey, who was rightly red-carded for as blatant a stamp on an opponent – Spurs' Deli Alli – which is the clearest I have ever seen, and I used to cover Ayrshire Junior Football in the bad old days.

 Jonjo Shelvey - plain daft

Stupidity doesn't cover Shelvey's actions. Those fantastic Geordie fans in the Toon Army deserve better from their skipper. There is an old Ayrshire saying which applies to Shelvey's action – it could only have been a rush of shite to the brain.

I SPENT several happy years driving the Sports Desk at the Paisley Daily Express, until they appointed an Editor who was a half-wit, but, still at that, twice as intelligent as the News Editor, whereupon I bailed out, with huge regrets.

Covering St Mirren wasn't always easy – two steps forward, one back, most of the time, but, getting to know great guys like Fitz – Tony Fitzpatrick, Norrie McWhirter, Campbell Money, big Mark Yardley and of course, the wonderful “Basher” - Barry Lavety – made the job tolerable. I will always have a soft spot for the Buddies.

So, I am feeling a bit down today, after their heavy defeat in the Renfrewshire Derby on Saturday. It goes without saying, losing a derby is the worst loss of all – more so, when much of the damage was done by the son of an old fan's favourite.

Jai Quitongo - a real chip off the old block

Jose Quitongo only spent a little time at Love Street, but, he was, as he was nearly everywhere else, smashing while he was there. It is great to see his son Jai develop into something of a chip off the old block, but, a bit disconcerting to see him play so well against the Buddies.

They take the derby seriously in Renfrewshire. I well recall one game at Cappielow, in which Morton simply could not contend with the twin Lavety-Yardley threat, as Saints strolled to victory.

As we headed down to the manager's office for the post-mortem, the press pack were surrounded by some very angry and not always stoney-faced 'Ton fans.

We reached the office and the late Willie Hunter - a Paisley Buddie who was so-dedicated to his home town, over the many years he spent living in a leafy Glasgow suburb, while working as Chief Leader Writer for the Glasgow Herald – back when its leaders were worth reading – he had a notice just inside his garden gate: “Welcome to Paisley”. Well that day, Willie, who was a truly iconoclastic football writer, was wearing the most serene smile.

He entered the office, poured himself a generous hauf from the complimentary whisky bottle, lit what was probably his 50th cigarette of the day, took a puff, a slurp of his hauf, before turning to me and saying: “Socrates – I rather enjoyed that”.

Yet, when you read his report on the Monday, you would never have known Willie had a pro-St Mirren leaning. Truly, he was the Paisley Grammarian who more than compensated for Fred Goodwin and Andra Neil. I still miss him.

Willie, by the way, played the mourners out of the Linn Crematorium after his funeral with a recording of his trombone solo: “When the Saints go marching in”. They broke the mould after they made Willie.

MY OLD mucker, Bill Lothian of the Edinburgh Evening News, over the weekend posted on facebook, a link to a Guardian story about changes to the immigration rules.

Bill Lothian - has flagged up another Brexit balls-up

Apparently it will soon become much more difficult for sports clubs to bring-in young talent from overseas. In particular this new ruling will all but eliminate the practice whereby young Australians, New Zealanders, South Africans and West Indians can join British cricket, rugby and hockey teams for a season's experience.

In cricket, which could be particularly hard-hit, these guys are known as “Overseas Amateurs” - they get their keep, some are fixed-up with none-too rigorous jobs, and, so long as they are not paid to play, all is well.

However the new rules will re-classify them as “professionals”, since, a lot of them return years later as full professionals, and as such, getting them in will become more-difficult.

On the face of it, this should not bother football too-much, but, it is not difficult to see a Conservative government, determined to “take back control” of our borders, being equally heavy-handed when it comes to bringing in foreign talent for football clubs.

In theory, this should help more young Scots come through and develop, but, some of our clubs might just miss-out on a genuine unpolished diamond from abroad they can polish and sell-on for a big profit.

See this Brexit – it's a nonsense.

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