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 Cup not 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 wasnt
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 wouldnt
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 dont
want to sit in front of Setantas repeated adverts for fifteen
minutes (try it, youll end up zomboid) so theres
a fair chance the viewer will miss the start of the programme
and miss out on team news, injuries, selections etc.
Match commentary itself wasnt 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
youve never heard him in full flow on Capital Radio,
where he can make Orient v Brentford sound like the World
Maloney made mistakes but thats only to expected, given
that hes 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 wasnt an entirely welcome one. Pre
and post-match interviews were taken from BBC Scotlands
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 weve
come to expect from digital satellite. At times the picture began
to break up, bringing back memories of ITV Digital at its
The Old Firm bias was clearly demonstrated again the following
week when BBC Scotland showed Dunfermline V Hearts as its
live offering. Setanta arent taking any matches that dont
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 Setantas ppv schedule
inside Scotland so it meant a ludicrous kick-off time of 12.30.
This website doesnt 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
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 wont 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 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. Its not Chics crown hes after.
Darryl may well turn out to be the new Jim White.
We cant 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 cant put a precise age
on him but, interestingly, the camera never ventured below his
waist so the rumours that he was wearing short trousers cant
What we can say is that no one should give him a shaving set
for Xmas. Itll be another two years at least before hell
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 isnt 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 ONeill 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
ALL THEIR YESTERDAYS
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, thats 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 theres
lot of sport. And inside that theres a lot of football. And
inside that theres 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 didnt
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. Theres a clip
from the match and another of the teams 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. Ive 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, its all free. Thats
right. Anyone, anywhere in the world can download clips anytime
as long as its for their own personal use.
Whats the catch? None, unless youre offended by the
Pathe watermark that runs through the clips.
Of course theyre trying to sell items. If you want a piece
for a presentation or for web publishing, then youll have
to pay. Likewise if you want a hard copy VHS video.
But the preview clips are all free and theyre 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 wont see the kind of quality we take for granted
nowadays and some of the camera angles are obscure to say the least.
But if youre a football fan who wants to thrill again to the
sight of Baxter, Law or Johnstone, if youre
too young to remember these names but want to know what all the
fuss is about, or youre 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 Im actually referring to Scotlands
football international in Portugal. This game should never
have kicked off. Thats how bad the conditions were in Braga.
Theres more than a hint of suspicion that it only went ahead
at the behest of TV. It wont be the first time and it wont
be the last that this has happened. That doesnt 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 its 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 isnt worth it?
As for the match itself, theres 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 Portugals 2-0 victory,
was the joint leading scorer in France last season. We brought
on a striker from Sunderland reserves. That about says it
Still, the team didnt 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. Its
not the fault of Berti Vogts or the SFA that the weather
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
Apart from being the kind of squad wed love to see announced
for our next match, what have they got in common?
Answer: Theyve 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 wasnt
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. Its 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. Weve given him the sows ears but there
are too many expecting to get silk purses right now
A Fans Farewell
We werent too sure how to mark Roger Mitchells
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
Roger Mitchell, Roger Mitchell,
What a difference you have made