Socrates MacSporran

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

Saturday, 30 December 2017

As Edinburgh Showed - Foregone Conclusions Sometimes Don't Turn Out

I DO NOT suppose anyone around whatever the Rangers' training centre at Auchenhowie is called now noticed – football people are so-far up their own arses, the world might end and some would not notice until they couldn't find BBC Shortbread Open All Mikes – but, exactly a week ago, an Edinburgh rugby team, fully-expected to lose, went down a man to a fifth minute red card, and still beat a supposedly superior Glasgow side, in the first leg of the 1872 Cup.

Scorer Chris Dean gives a piggy-back to Jaco van der Walt as they celebrate his match-winning try in the Edinburgh v Glasgow rugby last Saturday. Might Edinburgh's against-the-odds win inspire Rangersagainst Celtic this afternoon?

What's this got to do with fitba – I hear you ask? Well, it is just the latest in a lengthy litany of sporting occasions in which the unexpected result happened. When it is a case of one team against another – now and then, shite happens, as it certainly did for Glasgow last Saturday at Murrayfield.

So, if Rangers are looking for inspiration for this afternoon's visit to Celtic Park, then they need only look towards the capital and the way the handicapped Edinburgh stuck to their guns. Dumbfounded the supposedly superior attacking skills of Glasgow, and won the day.

There have been spells in the past when one or other of the Old Firm clubs was supposedly far-superior to the other. There have been previous cases of the dominant party putting together lengthy runs of league and cup successes, but, always, in among the long winning runs, there was the odd, “shock” result, when the supposed underdog emerged victorious.

I am not really expecting today to be such a day, but, you can never say never, and, that is why I am temporarily taking-over the late Jimmy Sanderson's perch on top of a fence post.

To quote old “Solly”: “Only a fool forecasts the result of an Old Firm game”. I still fancy Celtic to win again.

TO PRO-INDEPENDENCE types such as I, it all seems to be coming together in a perfect storm. We have a Tory government, vying with the Rangers board for the title of the worst management team in the UK; we have Brexit going tits-up before our eyes; we have a Labour Party who seem to be a case of the blind leading the blind, and now, right on time for the Independence cause – we have cabinet papers being released which seem to demonstrate – the Scots weren't being paranoid when we thought Maggie Thatcher had it in for us – she really did.

 Maggie's No to Hampden, just one example of her disinterest in Scotland

If the revelation that the then Conservative government didn't want Glasgow to become European City of Culture back in 1990 isn't enough to demonstrate to those still prepared to give Westminster another chance, the perfidious nature of London rule – then maybe the revelations about the bourach which was the Hampden re-development of the same era, and the stuff coming out about the closure of Ravenscraig will.

And, of course, as befits their vision of themselves as “The Queen's XI”, dear old Rangers were in there, fighting against the move to modernise Hampden, for all they were worth.

By the way, back then, Rangers were still the dominant force in Scottish football – today, that role is in Celtic's keeping, and, what do you know, with updating Hampden again an issue – wee Peter Lawwell reckons they would be as well doing without and playing the big games at Celtic Park.

When, oh when will the other stumble bums along the Hampden sixth floor corridor and in the board-rooms of Scottish fitba realise – the Old Firm are not your friends; they are the oppressors, only interested in themselves, and, if the door to English football ever opens even a chink – they will be through it and gone, like rats up a drain pipe.

If Peter Lawwell, allegedly the most-influential man in Scottish football, really cares all that much – then, how about him voluntarily donating the £3 million it would supposedly cost to install goal-line technology to the SPFL – I mean, his club has just come into an unexpected £7 million windfall from Virgil Van Dijk's move from Southampton to Liverpool – it's not as if Celtic doesn't have that spare cash lying around.

Any way, I am not holding my breath on that one.

FOUR of the third round ties have still to be played, but, the fourth round of the Scottish Junior Cup was drawn this week.

The locals sometimes get a wee bit excited when Cumnock and Talbot clash

And there is no surprise concerning what is being seen as the “tie of the round”; Tom Johnston or Ian McQueen must have misplaced the oval and square balls, because, Cumnock and Auchinleck Talbot were drawn to meet at Townhead Park, on Saturday, 20 January. And there was me thinking, after their last little contretemps, some years back, when police horses had to be deployed to separate the fighting fans on the hallowed Townhead turf – which has now, by the way, been ripped-up and replaced by plastic – I understood the polis and the Scottish Government made it clear, they didn't want the ancient rivals meeting again anywhere short of the final.

Mind you, if Newtongrange Star can get past Cumbernauld United, in a tie due to be played this afternoon, then they will meet Bonnyrigg Rose Athletic in a sort of better-mannered East Lothian version of the old East Ayrshire tribal pitched battle.

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