BBC BLOGS - BBC Sport: Chick Young

Archives for August 2008

UK Olympic team spells danger for Scotland

Chick Young | 17:57 UK time, Wednesday, 27 August 2008

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Life can be confusing in this little outcrop of rock in the North Atlantic. We can't even agree on what we disagree on.

There aren't many places on earth where people boo their own national anthem, although, to be fair, the Basques and the Catalans, for example, do think the reign of Spain is mainly a pain.

But the booing of God Save the Queen - played as the anthem of visitors Northern Ireland at Hampden - was like looking in the mirror and kicking lumps out of the vision in front of you.

The Tartan Army at Hampden.jpg

It is, after all, given that Scotland is actually part of the Union, the national song of Caledonia too.

Had it been the anthem of the Germans, the Russians or the French that was getting pelters then there would have been outrage...but then this is a little more complicated.

The fixture was played as the Games were going full tilt in Beijing, where Fifa president Sepp Blatter was sat grinning like a Cheshire cat at the growing stature of football within the Olympic movement.

Once the domain of players who turned out for Queen's Park and Corinthians, the tournament was suddenly blessed with Lionel Messi and Ronaldinho. The stakes have been upped.

And so has the heat. The football associations of Wales, Northern Ireland and Scotland are about to have applied to them temperatures that could deep-fry a Mars Bar.

Fifa's stance is that this is a once-only offer and that, in the wake of a UK team playing in the London Olympics, normal service will be resumed.

Aye, right. I'll bet Sepp Blatter's dentist could verify his forked tongue.

The aforementioned Spaniards - European champions no less - and their component parts don't even enjoy what these islands have embraced for 100 years and more.

One passport...but four teams. Four cracks at World Cup qualification: you can see the injustice of it all from the outside looking in.

But, if you believe in international football and your heart thumps at the prospect of a team in dark blue and epic Hampden days and nights then you will do everything you can to defend the status quo.

The Scottish FA will have nothing to do with a UK team and - albeit to the tune of The Self Preservation Society - they are spot on.

And that, in itself, is a collector's item of a sentence.

If the associations of Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland agree to Fifa's grand plan then it will be the beginning of the end. It will be like autographing your own death warrant.

And that is why - although I do agree that there may have been more than one or two booing for darker reasons - the Tartan Army, on the whole, were not simply mutinous in Mount Florida.

Fifa's wooing is the thin end of the wedge. If the SFA contributes to a GB team for the London games then we are on the road to self-destruction. It will be the dismantling of a football nation. Or four, actually.

And we will have considerably more to worry about than the night they booed a national dirge.

Paying the penalty in SPL games

Chick Young | 17:18 UK time, Monday, 18 August 2008

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Celtic fans may or may not be delighted that Chris Hoy rode his bike at the Olympics: but they'll be ecstatic that Thomas Gravesen got on his.

The Parkhead club eventually slipped the manacles off the deadly dull Dane whose only contribution to lighting up the place was a hat-trick against St Mirren at Love Street.

To be fair, Gravesen was a nutty as a fruitcake off the pitch, but at £40,000 a week the club wanted world-class footballers, not after-dinner speakers.

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