Whistlers not up to scratch
A couple of things this week have made me think that Scotland doesn't get respect as a rugby country.
Refereeing and Brian Moore, in no particular order.
I'll start with refereeing. Each weekend, I watch a Magners League game, usually from the stand and at least one Heineken Cup match or English Premiership game on TV.
And do you know what? Especially in the Magners Leagues games, I am absolutely fed up watching referees from our neighbours who are very, very poor yet have been selected above Scottish referees.
I coach West of Scotland Rugby Club and there are referees in charge of our games, Scots, who are better than some of the men with whistles I watch regularly.
According to the Magners League website, there are 21 referees, five of whom are Scots, but I don't see them getting as many games as the others and I cannot believe that the Scottish referees are poor in comparison.
I suspect a carve-up in Dublin as the more powerful nations in our area get their men to the top. It is a fact, I think, that, on a global scale, the worst referees come from the most powerful countries. Scotland has no referees on the IRB international panel.
Who chooses referees?
But can I talk about what Brian Moore has said in his book? He was a fantastic player, he is a great pundit, he is probably a great bloke and he is plainly honest in what he says. I heard him on Radio 2 last week and he is a highly intelligent man who has had a very difficult life.
But, and here's the crux of what I am saying today, to suggest, as Brian did, that Scotland beat England in a rugby match in March 1990, thereby winning their second Grand Slam in six years completing a decade in which it also topped the (then) Five Nations table three times was down to the fact that Maggie Thatcher had trialled the poll tax north of the Border is to deny the truth.
It shows a lack of respect for a small rugby country that, shock horror, actually beats teams sometimes.
And it's a deliberate attempt to do down a Scottish Grand Slam.
I've always found this attitude strange. To their great credit, the New Zealanders, South Africans and Australian always talk about the efforts they will have to go to beat a team and praise a team that beats them.
I actually feel petty and guilty in even replying to silly comments from an out-of-date perspective.
But, sorry, Scotland had a better team than England that day and were better coached, as I suspect the names Ian McGeechan and Jim Telfer might suggest.
Ignoring the fact that Scotland scored more points is to do down the exploits of a raft of Scottish players, including Findlay Calder, both Hastings boys, Gary Armstrong, David Sole, John Jeffrey, Tony Stanger and the others who won the game.
We have to respect each other and admit that, usually, the better team on any given day scores more points and wins a game.
Politicians have little impact and do Glasgow top the Magners League through luck?