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Pathe archives, Setanta review, Portugal v Scotland, Celtic v Blackburn, Mitchell departs




OK, it was late in the day arriving and it has its shortcomings but at least Setanta are showing live Scottish football to England, Wales and both parts of Ireland.

Celtic's away matches are now shown live in the Republic of Ireland on RTE 2, a free-to-air channel. And its these broadcasts that Setanta show. Naturally, the Parkhead club is the focal point and as a result their opponents get little mention. The bias is even worse than STV and BBC Scotland.

During the recent Dundee United V Celtic match for instance, presenter Peter Collins demonstrated an alarming lack of knowledge about Scottish football. Collins referred to the Tannadice club having lifted themselves off the foot off the table thanks to “two wins in a row.” One of these victories was in the League Cupnot a competition hitherto known to offer League points to the winners.

Even worse was Collins’ persistent mentions of ‘Dundee’ before, during and after the game. Even to the extent of labelling (or should that be libelling) manager Paul Hegarty as “an ex-Dundee player of course. Studio guest Paul McStay pointedly kept calling them ‘United’ but was too polite to inform Collins that Dundee are an entirely different club.

With Joe Kinnear as the other studio guest there wasn’t even the slightest hint of an attempt to introduce balance into the show. All right, the studio was in Dublin but if RTE were prepared to fly McStay over for the day, surely it wouldn’t have broken the budget to put an ex-United player on the seat next to him?

Another annoying aspect is that there is no set time for transmission. Viewers are advised that the show will start 15-30 minutes prior to kick-off. Most of us don’t’ want to sit in front of Setanta’s repeated adverts for fifteen minutes (try it, you’ll end up zomboid) so there’s a fair chance the viewer will miss the start of the programme and miss out on team news, injuries, selections etc.

Match commentary itself wasn’t too bad with Billy McNeill as the summariser. Commentator Darragh Maloney was enthusiastic without being Jonathan Pearce-ish (and for those of you who think Pearce can be over the top when commentating on the League Cup on Channel 5, I can only say that you’ve never heard him in full flow on Capital Radio, where he can make Orient v Brentford sound like the World Cup Final).

Maloney made mistakes but that’s only to expected, given that he’s obviously had to do a rush job boning up on Scottish football. His worst moment was in mistaking Allan Smart for Jim McIntyre.

The one familiar sight wasn’t an entirely welcome one. Pre and post-match interviews were taken from BBC Scotland’s feed, meaning that satellite viewers were treated to the delights of Chic Young scurrying round with his microphone.

Picture quality was variable. Not the usual high standard we’ve come to expect from digital satellite. At times the picture began to break up, bringing back memories of ITV Digital at its worst.

The Old Firm bias was clearly demonstrated again the following week when BBC Scotland showed Dunfermline V Hearts as its live offering. Setanta aren’t taking any matches that don’t involve either of the big two and their entire advertising pitch is aimed purely at Celtic and Rangers fans. So, as with the Edinburgh derby, subscribers were left with blank screens.

Coverage of Aberdeen V Rangers was much better. For a start the studio was at Pittodrie. This gives a far greater sense of immediacy. The game itself was part of Setanta’s ppv schedule inside Scotland so it meant a ludicrous kick-off time of 12.30. This website doesn’t usually feel a great deal of sympathy for Rangers fans but asking them to get to Aberdeen for such an early kick-off was a bit much. I mean, the first Seacat leaves Belfast at 8.45 on a Saturday and gets into Troon at 11.15. Impossible to get to Pittodrie on time.

There was also greater balance with Richard Gough and Jocky Scott as the studio guests - a connection from both teams. Match commentary came from Jock Brown (be interesting to see if he gets any Celtic games) with Darren Jackson as summariser. While Andy Gray won’t be losing any sleep worrying about Jackson, it was refreshing to see someone else given an opportunity apart from the usual suspects.

Most intriguing of all (at least as far as this website is concerned) was the challenger to Chic. For the interviews were conducted by none other than our favourite hack – Darryl Broadfoot.

Darryl was clearly overawed at being in the presence of Alex McLeish. At one stage it looked like he might well genuflect before the great one. Then at the last minute it seemed he remembered what that might look like to the Rangers support and gathered his composure before going on to ask why Rangers were so good.

Wait a minute. It’s not Chic’s crown he’s after. Darryl may well turn out to be the new Jim White.

We can’t leave it without telling you that we never realised that Darryl was so young. He could have been a policeman or a doctor so callow are his years. We can’t put a precise age on him but, interestingly, the camera never ventured below his waist so the rumours that he was wearing short trousers can’t be confirmed.

What we can say is that no one should give him a shaving set for Xmas. It’ll be another two years at least before he’ll need to open the box.

So there we have it. Some old faces some new, some wonky camera work and some ill-informed presenters. Some dodgy kick-off times. But there is one simple factor that overrides all our criticisms. £20 for the full package. At under a quid a game, any Scottish football fan with existing digital TV should make their booking now.


Yes, Celtic outclassed Blackburn at Ewood Park. It was an excellent performance from the Scottish champions – almost the mirror image of the first game at Parkhead. But it isn’t the kind of result that anyone should go overboard about.

As stated here previously, the champions of Scotland should expect to beat a mid-table Premiership side - especially one with as poor a European record as Blackburn. For all their efforts, Celtic are exactly where they were this time last year – in the 3rd round of the UEFA Cup and facing Spanish opposition.

Celta Vigo will be a much tougher proposition than Blackburn though they are by no means unbeatable. The Spanish Celts will start as favourites. If Martin O’Neill can steer his side into the next round, that will be a far better achievement than the result in East Lancs.

For the Scottish Cup 1873-1939 click here
For the Scottish Cup Post-1945 click here
For the League Cup from 1946 click here



This week British Pathe News launched their new website. So what, you might say. Who wants to watch ancient clips of royals opening bridges while being patronised by a voice-over from Mr Cholmondely-Warner?

And, in truth, that’s what a lot of it is like. But, on the other hand, this is also surely what high-sounding phrases such as ‘the empowerment of the internet’ is all about.

The archive covers 1895-1970 with 90,000 web pages containing 3,500 hours of video. Within that there’s lot of sport. And inside that there’s a lot of football. And inside that there’s Scottish football. A lot of it.

Before writing this article I had a look at the 1921 Scottish Cup Final – the oldest in the archive. OK, it didn’t show the goal that won the Cup for Partick Thistle and it lacked commentary but it was still a fascinating experience.

More ‘recent’ events are better covered. Celtic winning the European Cup for instance. There’s a clip from the match and another of the team’s arrival back in Glasgow. Rangers are well-served too, featuring in a host of big games, including early European ties.

Nor do the rest of us miss out. I’ve downloaded nine clips of Killie in action – four Cup Finals, two semis, another cup game, one league match and an amazing pre-season feature from 1954 featuring the part-time players (steelworkers, sweet packers, safety engineers etc) and Angus the full-time sheep who kept the Rugby Park grass in trim.

And, thanks to lottery funding, it’s all free. That’s right. Anyone, anywhere in the world can download clips anytime as long as its for their own personal use.

What’s the catch? None, unless you’re offended by the Pathe watermark that runs through the clips.

Of course they’re trying to sell items. If you want a piece for a presentation or for web publishing, then you’ll have to pay. Likewise if you want a hard copy VHS video.

But the preview clips are all free and they’re optimised for downloading on a 56K modem. (for the less technically-minded, that means an ordinary dial-up internet connection that most UK users still have).

The only limitations are those of your time and your hard drive. Naturally, you won’t see the kind of quality we take for granted nowadays and some of the camera angles are obscure to say the least. But if you’re a football fan who wants to thrill again to the sight of Baxter, Law or Johnstone, if you’re too young to remember these names but want to know what all the fuss is about, or you’re just interested in our sporting heritage, then go ahead and read the rest of the material on this page then come back and click right here.


Injuries forced key players to withdraw from the trip. Injury was also responsible for enforced alterations to the team after the match was underway. They got off to the worst possible start and were left praying that the rain would force the match to be abandoned.

Yes, I could be talking about the England cricket tour of Australia but I’m actually referring to Scotland’s football international in Portugal. This game should never have kicked off. That’s how bad the conditions were in Braga.

There’s more than a hint of suspicion that it only went ahead at the behest of TV. It won’t be the first time and it won’t be the last that this has happened. That doesn’t make it any less reprehensible though. This website has championed the case for Scottish football fans to be able to see their clubs and the national side in live action but not at the expense of players careers.

Surely it’s not beyond the wit of TV companies to accept the evidence of their own eyes. Or will it take a needless, yet serious, injury to make them realize that broadcasting matches like this one just isn’t worth it?

As for the match itself, there’s little to say other than that thankfully Rab Douglas kept up his good form of recent weeks, especially when saving a penalty from Figo.

Pauleta, who scored both in Portugal’s 2-0 victory, was the joint leading scorer in France last season. We brought on a striker from Sunderland reserves. That about says it all.

Still, the team didn’t fold even though its limitations were exposed. 2-0 is no disgrace and those who say the fixture should never have been arranged are spouting a lot of nonsense. It’s not the fault of Berti Vogts or the SFA that the weather was horrendous.

As for the renewed criticism of Vogts, what planet are these people from? Look at this list of Scotland greats:

Jimmy Cowan, George Young, Billy Steel, Billy Liddell, Eric Caldow, John White, Denis Law, Davie Hay, Willie Henderson, Alan Gilzean, Gordon McQueen, Martin Buchan, Asa Hartford, Joe Jordan, Kenny Dalglish, Willie Miller, Alan Hansen, Graeme Souness, Gordon Strachan, Andy Goram, Richard Gough, Paul McStay, Ally McCoist and John Collins.

Apart from being the kind of squad we’d love to see announced for our next match, what have they got in common?

Answer: They’ve all played for Scotland in Portugal and not one of them was on the winning side. Why expect success from Graham Alexander and Scott Dobie when it wasn’t provided by the most famous names in our history?

As for Vogts, his 96 playing caps are oft cited as proof of his experience. But he was also German coach for 102 internationals. Go and have a look at his managerial record. It compares favourably with anyone in the game. It’s certainly better than the comparable records of Robson, Venables or any of the other allegedly ‘great’ international bosses, including any enigmatic Swedes out there.

Leave Berti alone. We’ve given him the sows ears but there are too many expecting to get silk purses right now

A Fan’s Farewell

We weren’t too sure how to mark Roger Mitchell’s departure from the SPL. Perhaps a touch of EJ Thribb a la Private Eye – “So, farewell then Roger Mitchell” or a Spice Girls-type number as a tribute to his previous successes in the ‘music’ business.

Ultimately, we thought it best to end with an old-fashioned terracing chant:

“Roger Mitchell, Roger Mitchell,
What a difference you have made”


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