South Korea sighs, Semi-pro blues
By Shane Knox
While the full international squad were dog meat in Busan (sorry) our non-league international outfit lost to Ireland, Wales AND England in the Unibond four nations tournament played at Kettering Town FC last week. Jimmy Sinclair, the former Hamilton Accies and Stirling Albion midfielder, took charge of the team before he moved into Craig Brown's director of football seat at the SFA. Players from East of Scotland and Highland League clubs were in the Scotland squad but the Scots never recovered from a 2-0 defeat by Ireland in their first game on May 13th, it could be argued though that the near- photo finish in the HFL might have taken its toll on Deveronvale's Steve Dolan and the Fraserburgh players in the squad but it wasn't a great performance from our boys.
Derek Milne of Fraserburgh netted a last minute consolation against Wales as the dark blues lost their second game 2-1 on May 15th and it was hoped Saturday's Auld Enemy clash would bring out the best in our non-league reps. However, it was a shot-shy Scotland side who surrendered rather too easily by two goals to nil for no points and a 6-1 aggregate. Berti might have settled for that though after his 11-2 reverse and the hands of France, Nigeria and South Korea.
Och, away ye go Ally
Ally McCoist is the latest convert to the cult of Sven, and while we understand Coisty earns a lot of his housekeeping from ITV down south these days, that's no excuse for getting so fervent around the St George's cross. Cheeky chappy Ally says in all the papers this weekend that he realises why Scots (or at least some of them) don't want England to do well but all those England blokes "are great guys". So Ally will happily pose with Michael Owen in a dressing room mock-up and grin inanely along with Gabby, Des and EL Tel for the ITV World Cup coverage publicity shots.
Ally, and Alan Hansen on the other side, feel they have to support England to fit in with the needs of their media paymasters in London. However, could the man Craig Brown wrongly left at home, after he helped us get to France '98, not have asked for a clause in his contract that said: "I will not openly cheer for Argentina, Nigeria and Sweden but I will not be the token jock who encourages everyone else to cheer along with the fans of Great England (Britain)".
Ally would do himself more justice if he asked to stay "strictly neutral" instead of becoming ITV's Andy Gray, now a man so far away from the ethos of the dark blue shirt he refers to England as ''we''. Far from being the three wise men, Gray on Sky, Coisty on ITV and Hansen on the Beeb will now be perceived as the three monkeys by a lot of fans north of the border. See no one but England, hear no one but England, speak nothing but England. Ally says "we should all get behind England", is that Uncle Tom (Cobbly?) and all Coisty ? Not so much a shot at glory as a shot at being an Englishman for a month eh ?
We might see one of the tartan telly pundits gain some credibility back when, after the post-first phase analysis, a Scottish voice can be heard in the background shouting "YES, YES!" as anchorman Des, Gary or Richard trawls through the video clips of mistakes that have contributed to England returning home after three games.
Then Ally can drop the mask and fake off.