Craig Brown was always far too clever to be regarded as a successful Scotland manager.   Not clever in the Andy Roxburgh sense of clever – schoolteacher, blackboard, improving the footballing minds of youths like Paul McStay and, er, well, Paul McStay – but clever in the “I’m going to interpret what just happened” way, trying to persuade us that we had just witnessed wasn’t a god-awful load of boring rubbish after all but all part of the plan and even if it wasn’t there was actually a silver lining none of the rest of us had spotted.  Now, no-one despises the self-serving free-loading Scottish media more than I but at least they don’t give stuff what their readership thinks.   They owe their jobs to their editors.  So if Craig Brown had just got on with the job, and not given a toss what the wider audience thought, I might have respected him more.   (Might, I said.)   But he seemed to think it wisnae jist the Boss Man at Perk Gerdens, Glesca G3 that he had to impress.  I’ve never known a football manager so desperate to spin the facts so unnecessarily in his favour.  There was always an excuse, there was always self-justification– though he didn’t over-emphasise just how friendly the game was when Scotland beat Germany, I noticed – but he was determined we shouldn’t make up our own minds, the patronising git.   No-one can possibly deny he was a fine husbander of resources, making a good fist from a poor hand, bluffing the opposition a little, getting his players (and they were definitely  ‘his’ players) to play together as a team.   We knew what you were trying, Craig, and actually applauded you for it!  Qualifying for finals is a great achievement - we don’t need telling that.   Quite possibly Scotland will never manage the trick again.   He chose all the right players for qualification purposes, and then spoiled it by choosing exactly the same team for the Finals, hoping to fashion, manufacture, blag a 1-0, or even a 1-1.  Sorry Craig, you blew it there.   You should have changed the players – or perhaps we should have changed the coach.   Holland had the right idea in 1974:  no-one remembers Frantisec Fadhronc who was in charge when they scraped through their qualifying group, and quite rightly too.    As soon as they qualified, the gifted and imaginative Rinus Michels was brought in.    Stein once said you wear your working clothes during the day and put on your dancing shoes when you get to the party.   You give it a go.   You give us something to be proud of.  After getting beat off Stavangar the other week Bobby Williamson said “If we’re going to play like that in the UEFA Cup, I’d rather not play in the UEFA Cup.”  Strong words well spoken.   We kid ourselves, of course, because the better teams tend to let us look good for a bit.   As a Hibernian fan said after losing (that’s LOSING) to AEK Athens, “It proves that we can nearly compete with the best.” Well said, that dustman!   Couldn’t have put it better m’sel’!


After watching Scotland play Norway and Morocco in ’98, I was saying something most similar to Williamson, though perhaps a little more foam-flecked.  Craig, Craig – No, No.  Did you really think we could wankle our way past the bouncers and gain access to the big time by doing Nothing?  Nothing at all??   I won’t go on about certain players: certain players like Malpas, Boyd, Hendry, Gallacher – SFA Hall Of Fame Pah Phooey!!  Get them their 50 games, and then add VAT for good measure – but as next witness for the prosecution I call Thomas Valley McKinlay,  Tosh by name, Tosh by nature ”-  Middlesbrough reserve star!   I would sooner have seen anyone wearing a dark blue jersey with the name “Triallist”.  

And if you’ve got any regard for Scottish football, not to say your own professional dignity, you will not appear as a telly pundit for future Scotland matches.   Go and bury yourself in coaching (we’re told you’re very good at it).   If you don’t, you will only confirm what one or two (million) have suspected for so long: that your are a self-justifying careerist whose main mission was to preserve Scotland’s artificially-high rating so as to get second-top-table seats at the FIFA junkets and hotel rooms that didn’t have a view of the service alley, as well as, of course, feathering your own next by enhancing your reputation as a ‘coach’.  Now C4’s given up Italian football and the Sunday Post no longer gives stars out of ten for Cup Final performances, where are you going to go?  Is there a respectable job in football for you?  Will Dundee want you back?  Will Rangers Reserves recognise you as one of their own?  Good luck, thank you, now get lost.