New Year, New
This column would like to extend belated best wishes
for 2005 to all and to offer apologies for our extended absence
over the past few weeks. This was because website editor David
Ross has been busy writing a new book entitled 'Roar Of
The Crowd' which will be published at the end of the season.
We'll bring you details later.
A lot has happened while we've been away with the main development
the appointment of Walter Smith as Scotland boss. Scottishleague.net's
view has been expressed in this slot previously. We do NOT subscribe
to the general press view that Smith and Tommy Burns (who
will continue as assistant manager) are some kind of Old
Firm Dream Team riding to the rescue of the Scottish game.
In fact we are of the opinion that some of what is wrong with our
game can be attributed to the dynamic duo now charged with restoring
Between them Smith and Burns were at the helm of our
two biggest clubs for ten years. It was during their tenures
that the Old Firm stopped fielding Scottish or Scottish-qualified
teams and began the large-scale importation of players which has
contributed to our decline.
Given that Andy Roxburgh and Craig
Brown, the Scotland coaches from 1986-2002, were in charge of
the entire development structure at the SFA it means that responsibility
for the national team has transferred from those who failed to ensure
proper youth development nationally to those who failed to do the
same at our biggest clubs.
That's sixteen years of Roxburgh/Brown at the SFA and
a decade of Smith/Burns at the Old Firm. Yet the Scottish media
has been too intent on throwing hosannas at the new management team
to even mention this and has been largely content to scapegoat the
hapless Berti Vogts as the author of all our troubles despite
the fact that Vogts was in charge of Scotland for only 30 months.
Naturally, we hope our reservations prove to be ill-founded and
we sincerely wish Walter and Tommy all the best as they strive to
restore Scotland to - if not former glories - at least respectability
in the international game.
First signs are not encouraging though. The first
game under the new regime was a Future Cup match in Germany
which Scotland lost 3-0. It wasn't the result or even the performance
which struck us as the most negative aspect but the selection of
Bob Malcolm as captain.
The Rangers defender is a throwback - both in 'style'
and attitude - to an era best forgotten. Crude in tackle, slow of
foot and bereft of vision, his chief attribute in the eyes of many
Rangers supporters is his 'distinctive' autograph with its
acronymic exhortations to enter into sexual congress with an elderly
Polish gentleman rather than any natural football skills.
If the Smith/Burns vision is of Malcolm as Scotland skipper a couple
of years down the line then one thing's clear:
THE FUTURE MAY BE ORANGE BUT IT CERTAINLY