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George Burley <-auth Stuart Cosgrove auth-> Charlie Richmond
17 of 020 Steven Pressley 6 ;Roman Bednar 12 ;Rudi Skacel 91 L SPL A


Aug 18 2005

Stuart Cosgrove

IT is not often that WH Auden and Paul Hartley appear in the same sentence But this is a week for reciting the funeral poem from the movie Four Weddingsand a Funeral.

"Stop all the clocks, cut off the phone, prevent the dog from barking with a a juicy bone."

Or put more simply - end it now and give Hearts the title.

Wouldn't it be great if you could just stop the clock and declare the end of the football season this week?

Hearts would have romped home unbeaten, the Old Firm wouldbe licking their wounds and reflecting on a bungled and indefensible season.

Player of the Year dinners would be scrapped in Glasgow and Mo Camara and Bob Malcolm would be skulking around the Barras dressed as Sonny and Cher.

What a breath of fresh air it would be if Hearts were to win the championship at a canter.

Not gasping over the line with asthma but thrusting through it like an Ethiopian on a Ducati, with the Glasgow clubs stuttering behind them in disarray.

Blistering I sincerely hope their blistering early-season form takes them all the way but I suspect that by Christmas reality will have blown its cold wind through the league and the Old Firm will be back claiming the championship as if it's their constitutional right.

We all know change wouldbe good for the game and that a league winner from outside the Old Firm would send a signal to the outside world.

Look across Europe and the bug is catching.

Norwegian football stands on the eve of something very significant.

Perpetual champions Rosenborg look like blowing it for the first time in 14 years as unfancied teams Start Kristianstad and Valerenga look like scrapping their way to the title.

Not even that flawless goal machine Harald Brattbakk can save them now and he is out on loan to lesser mortals and cannot save Rosenborg's skin again.

For a generation of Norwegian football fans Rosenborg have been a one-sided Old Firm, dominating the top flight and making a fairly decent fist of the Champions League.

Now it has all gone pear shaped and Norway's answer to Hearts are having their day in the sun.

Stopping the clock would not go down well in Livingston.

If the season ended now Paul Lambert would have had a howler in his debut year, relegated without a single goal being scored and dumped to the lower leagues in a humiliating baptism.

His desperate registration as a player would have come too late to save his club.

But stopping the clock wouldbe great news for Killie. They would steal a European qualification slot from the jaws of criticism.

Jim Jefferies would break the habits of a lifetime and run round Rugby Park in a jester's outfit and for the first time in newspaper history a Killie press conference is censored when Jim responds to a question about football agent Raymond Sparkes.

Even Ozzy Osbourne was embarrassed by the response.

Elsewhere in Scottish football stopping the clock wouldbe a mix of the predictable and the catastrophic.

Gretna and Morton began as favourites in the Second and if the season endednow they wouldbe promoted.

Collapse But worryingly for Kirkcaldy, the collapse of Raith Rovers would continue unabated.

Raith have had a dire start and with no points from their first two games would find themselves relegated alongside Forfar.

Clock stopping wouldbe catastrophic for Fife. Alongside Raith, East Fife would be bottom of the pile, anchored with no points with East Stirling show-boating above them on goal difference.

Just to add insult to injury Dunfermline wouldbe locked in a survival battle with Dundee United for second worst of a bad lot.

The only other clear-cut result wouldbe the champions of the First Division- where Owen Coyle's St Johnstone are currently in cruise control and who's that in their slip stream, it's Dundee - quick stop the clock

Taken from the Daily Record

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