Genetics are not a reason Scotland doesn’t qualify for football tournaments

Scotland failed yet again to qualify for a major international tournament. Manager Gordon Strachan has said something utterly extraordinary.

“Genetically, we are behind,”

Strachan’s idea is that we Scots are too small and we need big blokes to make ourselves effective on the world stage of football. This is bollocks.This is that Scottish habit of failing to accept your own faults and failures so rather than working with what you have, Strachan comes up with bullshit.

This is what’s known as the ‘it’s shite being Scottish’ meme. It’s easy to do, and I’ve even done it myself. It is however a mortifying piece of pathetic self-pitying that solves nothing. I like Strachan, he’s funny but for most of this campaign he’s failed to pick players playing in Scotland who are in form with Leigh Griffiths being the best example. It isn’t unrelated that when Strachan starts picking him regularly we start doing well.

That though is not really the point. Wallowing in a ‘och, we can’t do this. we’re Scottish.’ really is crap and what’s worse we nurture this idea, this concept, of glorious failure and take some perverse joy in it. We’ve went from the nation that invented much of the 20th century to whining miseries in a century and you know what? I’m tired of it. We can do better, not because we’re entitled to it but because we’re capable of doing more than we think we can if we work out ways to do just that. Part of achieving that is dropping this attitude of people like Strachan or quite I few people I’ve met since coming back to Scotland.

We shouldn’t be scared of failure but we should learn from it.It seems too many have learned to take failure for granted and accept it as the natural way of things and that isn’t good enough. So Scotland, get up off your knees and do better!

The pain of supporting Scotland

Last night Scotland’s national football side lost 3-0 to Slovakia, a decent side, but beatable. Our best player was David Marshall, our goalkeeper which shows how rubbish our defence was. I mean, I’m recovering from a stroke and I’d do better in central defence than either of the men picked by manager Gordon Strachan last night.

I grew up admiring Strachan as a player, and as a pundit and manager I’ve always liked him, especially after scoring this goal in the Mexico World Cup in 1986.

It is however now 18 years since we qualified for a tournament. The World Cup in Russia in two years look as distant as the nearest star in terms of qualifying now, and barring a small miracle, I can’t see Strachan leading a Scotland side to qualification so by the time we have another chance I’ll be in my early 50’s, and running out of tournaments to root for as I refuse to have anything to do with Qatar in 2022 for obvious reasons.

What do we do though? We’ve got a decent group of players and if teams with less resources and talent than Scotland like Iceland or Northern Ireland can do well internationally then surely we can?

Demanding Strachan go is an easy demand but who replaces him? Who’s willing to not just pick players on form, but take on the dinosaurs of the SFA? I can’t think of anyone who’d do that. So, it’s this endless pain of being a Scotland supporter. Unless of course, you want to get behind Scotland’s ladies side, see them qualify for tournaments and work out how the men’s side could learn from them. A question being asked by not just myself.

Maybe there will be a miracle, I dunno, I just would like to see Scotland not be a joke in terms of international football. Men’s football that is…

It’s shite being Scottish

Last night Scotland’s national football team were beaten by world champions Germany 3-2 at Hampden in Glasgow. This is of course par for the course for Scotland to fail heroically and as a Scot living in England this means that you’re told constantly that ‘it wasn’t to be‘ by smirking arseholes.

But it’s a task to support Scotland even back in the day when qualifying for international tournaments was something we’d do more easily than breathing, now qualifying is like ¬† shaving a balloon after you’ve drunk a bottle of cheap gin. You know you can do it if only you could stop shitting yourself every five minutes. That’s Scotland.

There’s also been all the same tedious keyboard supporters crying for manager Gordon Strachan’s job, but do people forget the halcyon days of Craig Levein or George¬†Burley where we’d struggle against a wet fart on our day? Strachan isn’t perfect but he’s right to say we’re still in it, but we need to beat Poland and hope Germany do us a favour by beating Ireland, then it’s all on for the final game as we play the titans of Gibraltar and Ireland go away to Poland, which is tough.

Even if we get into the playoffs I’ll be happy, but before I die I’d like for my country to qualify for at least one more tournament, and I hope we’re in the playoffs. Though last time we reached the playoffs in 2003 we played the Dutch who we beat 1-0 at Hampden and four days later we were utterly drubbed by the Dutch in a display which was awesome if you’re Dutch, deeply embarrassing if you’re Scottish.Sadly for the second leg I watched the game in a gigantic pub in the centre of Stockholm thinking ‘ach, there’s not going to be too many Dutch fans here‘ before quickly realising I was in this pub in Stockholm with around 100 Dutch fans as there’s a large Dutch community there. I did however manage to find a few fellow Scots to despair with, which was nice.

So don’t give me any shite about suffering for your team. If you’re Scottish and of a certain age, you’ve seen highs, lows, and positively subterranean depths our country has fallen to in the game of associated football over the last 40 years.There’s still hope. There’s always hope.

But sometimes it’s shite being Scottish.