There’s one bright side to Scottish football at the moment – Vladimir McTavish

Amid red cards, sectarian abuse and violence in the men’s game, Scotland’s women are preparing to go to the World Cup after beating Brazil, writes Vladimir McTavish.

Friday, 19th April 2019, 7:00 am
Scotland's women defeated Brazil in a recent friendly. Picture: Lorraine Hill
Scotland's women defeated Brazil in a recent friendly. Picture: Lorraine Hill

Last Sunday, two of the best teams in Scottish football were competing for a place in this year’s Scottish Cup Final. It should have been a showpiece occasion for our national game.

Instead, last weekend’s semi-final at Hampden Park saw two players given red cards, two members of the Aberdeen coaching staff sent off and reports of sectarian singing among the Celtic supporters. It was just the latest in a series of ugly scenes on and off the pitch this season which have sullied the reputation of the beautiful game.

We have had pitch invasions, assaults on players, coin-throwing at officials and coaches and an ugly stramash at full-time between both sets of players in last month’s Celtic v Rangers game. Further to that, a major knife fight in Glasgow city centre later in the day was blamed on tensions simmering as a result of that particularly acrimonious Old Firm derby.

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Meanwhile, on the pitch Scotland were recently hammered 3-0 by Kazakhstan, in what has officially been recognised as Scotland’s worst-ever defeat. That is no mean achievement, given the number of embarrassments we fans have had to endure over the last three decades or so. Only yesterday the national team’s manager, Alex McLeish, was sacked.

Contrast this to the state of the women’s game. Scotland are going to this summer’s World Cup, something their male counterparts have failed to manage for more than 20 years and last week the team beat Brazil. There is no crowd trouble. OK, there isn’t much of a crowd, but that’s not the point.

There is a real feelgood factor around women’s football in Scotland right now, which is great to witness. Hopefully, the men who play for our country can take some inspiration from their female peers and put us once more on the world stage.

Can’t help feeling the Last Supper was like an Edinburgh stag do…

It’S Easter once again, so Edinburgh will once more be inundated with tourists on city breaks from around the globe. The city will be thronged with large groups of people on hen nights and stag weekends, out for three or four days of drunken debauchery..

Is this really the spirit of Easter ? Is this what the scriptures tell us is the true message of Easter ?

Yes, it probably is, according to what I learned at Sunday School. 2000 or so years ago, Jesus Christ went out for a night with 12 of his best friends, most of whom were single men in their 30s. They had a meal together at which wine was taken. They were all away on a weekend trip so high spirits would have been the order of the day. Details are obviously sketchy, but it appears that things got a little bit out of hand and that some of them ended up in a spot of bother.

It all came to a climax when one of them found himself nailed to a cross, after which he disappeared. For two days, no one knew what had happened to the guy until he turned up on a Sunday morning in a cave.

That really does sound like a stag do gone badly wrong. Hopefully nothing quite so extreme will happen this Easter weekend.