Saturday, June 12, 2010

In Defence of the Scottish Cretin

Regular readers will know that I really have no truck with anybody's nationalism. Flags are good for two things, in my opinion - identifying a person or product's nation of origin, and as a last resort when the toilet paper/firewood runs out.

I'm particularly unimpressed with the nationalism of my compatriots, which focuses far too much on biscuit-tin bullshit and anti-English belligerence and does no credit to our generally genial nature. Our entirely excellent sporting rivalry with our southern cousins should be amusing and good-natured, but is all too often merely an excuse for Scottish cretins to act like aggressively stupid and nasty twats. With that in mind, it's not an entirely bad thing that our godawful football team failed to qualify for the finals.

That said, I have to explain that our behaviour is not entirely unprovoked. If I wanted to illustrate the Scottish football fan's relationship with our English pals, I'd point to the following incident, which took place on the day of the play-off draw for the 2000 European Championships, pairing England and Scotland in a head-to-head fight for the one available place.

Right after the draw, the ITV national news presenter asked their football pundit the entirely reasonable and straightforward question - isn't this the worst possible fixture, since it means that only one nation will be able to qualify?

The sports reporter, a Londoner, responded as if he'd been asked whether the players should take to the field naked. Of course not, he snorted, totally missing her point. It's a great draw - England will win easily.

This, I think it's fair to say, is our relationship with the England team in microcosm.

Anyway, enough of this self-pitying crap - South Korea are about to take on Greece in the world's premier football tournament. Despite my previous endorsement of the USA, I wish Rooney et al the best of luck in today's game and hope that England make it into the later stages, for local interest's sake if nothing else. So long as you don't win the damn thing, of course.

I hope readers enjoy it too and I'm looking forward to seeing the cream of the Premiership in action on the biggest stage of all. Here's to a seven-goal thriller, guys.

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