Socrates MacSporran

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

Tuesday, 21 November 2017

Rangers - The Never-Ending Story That Keeps On Giving

ONE OF my fellow “coffin dodgers” is “An Ayr United Supporter”, who only ever wants to talk about Celtic. He keeps accusing me of being “A Hun”, and suggests I only ever blog about Ra Peepul.

Graham Spiers - if he doesn't get a move on, I might have to write the book
I naturally reject this scurrilous affront to my bad name – the thing is, Rangers is the gift which keeps on giving. The Donegal Blogger did, of course, cover the events leading up to Rangers' liquidation in his book 'Downfall'. The trouble was, he hired the wrong Editor and what should have been a total page-turned became all but unreadable. I had hoped a good sports writer, such as my old mates Graham Spiers or Roddy Forsyth might have taken-up the baton and written the definitive version of events, but, I still wait. I may have to do it myself.

The thing is, the Rangers story – Downfall and Beyond, might well be renamed: “The Never-Ending Story”; closure seems a long, long way away, and, when you see the mess the guys in the Blue Room continue to make of reviving the club, that is an awful long way indeed.

Any way, right now, the big issue down Edmiston Drive way is apparently, who is next to pick-up the poisoned chalice as Manager. I stand by my assertion, nobody in their right mind would touch this club, but, given football managers, like gym teachers, are believed to wear their IQ on their back, a useful idiot will step forward.

Since the last Right Worthy Master of the Lap Top Loyal came to his senses and decamped for a new life in Canada, the top job in the so-called Lodge 1690 has been held by a young man who is, from my experience – a zealot. Right now, his desperation to see Derek McInnes installed in the office at the top of the marble staircase is so painfully evident, I worry for his sanity.

 Derek McInnes - the Lap Top Loyal seem desperate to see him at Ibrox

Mind you, not as much as I would worry for McInnes's sanity, were he to take the job. I reckon, another two blank seasons and the lingering aura of greatness which surrounds the Ibrox club might well be broken. Managing Rangers is not, at present, a job with long-term prospects.

The club is skint; they do not have a credit line from a bank; keeping the lights on is reliant on loans from Directors and well-heeled fans; the Chairman is a Glib and Shameless Liar; and many of the players are not Rangers class. The club is living beyond its means, repeating past mistakes. No, if I was a top manager, I would not consider going there.

THIS BLOG'S assertion that football in Scotland, be it the Association or Rugby Union code, is fatally-undermined and held-back by the national obsession with “Aye Beenism”. In spite of our seeming aversion to the political term Conservative, Scotland is a deeply conservative nation.

Thus, clinging to the hackneyed phrase: “the glamour (or magic) of the cup”, we continue, as we did yesterday, to see an all-in draw for the William Hill Scottish Cup. I don't thnk this is right in the 21st century.

Genuine cup magic - Sammy Reid shoots past Norrie Martin back in 1967

I will tell you what the magic of the Cup is – it is Berwick Rangers beating The Rangers, Clyde beating Celtic, Albion Rovers turning over Motherwell. Giant-killing is what sells, and, to ensure giant-killing, you have to keep the giants apart.

Look at yesterday's fourth-round cup draw: 16 ties, 32 clubs, with the top 16 clubs in Scotland coming in to join the 16 winners from round three. Now, in almost any other sport you could name, at such a juncture, the organisers would move heaven and earth to ensure, the top 16 were kept apart. In tennis, for instance, with its long-established seeding system, you would never see the third and seventh seeds being drawn together at the last-32 stage. But, that's what we have in the Scottish Cup, with Hearts and Hibs paired. Similarly, the pairing of the ninth and tenth seeds – Ross County and Kilmarnock and the fifth and eighth seeds – Motherwell and Hamilton – simply could not happen at this juncture.

Sure, there is the prospect of “cup magic” with Celtic hosting Brechin and Fraserburgh entertaining Rangers, but, I feel it would be better if the SFA would embrace seeding fully. This would mean the wee clubs could have a crack at the big boys more-often, and with the Premier League sides' bigger followings, the money would be spread about a bit.

THE CHURNALISTS on Scotland's sports desks are currently a wee bit obsessed with the possibility of Celtic going on to win ten Scottish League titles in a row, yet, curiously ambivalent about the fact, Glasgow City have just clocked-up eleven in a row.

Of course, City is “a bunch of lassies” and women's fitba is not the real thing. Except, for the past few seasons, with very-little backing or media attention, Scotland's women football players have been showing up the men. Well, they would have, had the Scottish Football Writers Association not – with one or two honourable exceptions - contrived to largely ignore the women's game.

So, well-done City, who are, with Partick Thistle and Queens Park, the acceptable face of the beautiful game in the first football city of the world.

Eddie Wolecki-Black - back in the game after his near-fatal stroke

And while on the subject of women's football, good luck to former City manager Eddie Wolecki-Black, who is back in the game with Motherwell Ladies. Eddie, of course, guided City to four domestic Trebles in four years, then switched to men's football with Airdrie. However, he had barely got his feet under the table at Broomfield (or whatever they are calling the ground this season), when he suffered a near-fatal stroke.

It's great to see him back and well done to Alan Burrows at Fir Park for offering him a way back.

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