Saturday, 23 March 2013

Scotland 1 v Wales 2

Tomorrow, I am going to do a count-back because I can't remember the last time I saw Scotland win at anything. I think it's been at least fourteen consecutive rugby and football matches without one but maybe longer. When you add the Addicks current plight, I am looking for hefty sympathy.

I set out yesterday in the new car much against my wife's advice and having picked up a mate in Cambridge, we fought our way up the M6 and into Scotland. The widespread snow caused havoc on the southbound carriageway and we passed three bad accidents before seeing a car in front of us pirouette right to left and leave the motorway. Having made our way into Glasgow we really didn't think we would get back today with more snow expected.

Glasgow was jumping last night in anticipation of Gordon Strachan's first game in charge and an expected victory over Wales. Personally, I was nowhere near as confident and still can't forget the yawning gulf in class between Scotland and Belgium that I witnessed last year. 

The snow began to fall heavily before kick-off and it got nearly as cold as Edinburgh a couple of weeks back when the Welsh beat us at egg-chasing. Gareth Bale dominated the early scene as he and his red-shirted colleagues pinged the ball around and ran Scotland ragged for 25 minutes. Steve Fletcher was carried off after a couple of minutes and I was bemused to see Miller replace him instead of Rhodes. This was Gordon's first match and he went with the old guard Miller as his automatic second choice? Kenny's been a fine servant and has punched above his weight but yesterday should have been the time for new blood.

Scotland came back into the match and Kenny Miller got two headers, the second of which he should have scored with but both went high. Grant Hanly then stooped to head home from a corner kick and suddenly Scotland were afloat. Richard Snodgrass struck the inside of a post  before the break or we might have wrapped it up. 

Gareth Bale succumbed to a tummy bug at half-time and spirits were lifted when he failed to appear. All of a sudden in the second-half I had an overwhelming sense of deja-vu. Gordon's troops were looking to hold their one-nil advantage and I felt uneasy. Sure enough fate turned against us and a double calamity landed on 70 minutes. Snodgrass failed to block a driven Gunter cross at the edge of the box and the French ref decided Snodgrass had fouled and raced in to book him for a second time and flourish a red. This was a very harsh decision as Gunter's crossing momentum took him over Snodgrass' attempt to block. Players from both  had sides their say in the ensuing minute and then, from nowhere, there was a roar from the visiting contingent of Welsh followers from the opposite end of Hampden. They had heard that a penalty had been given. Not only did none of the players suspect it, but none of the fans of either side did either. Wales duly followed up and within a minute the stunned Hampden crowd saw Robson-Kanu head home a winner from close range. Talk about sickening.

I made the long drive home today. The roads were empty and I was hugely impressed by the number of gritter lorries operating to keep the motorways free of snow and ice. Scotland's footballing future looks about as rosy as the country's economic future under an independent SNP government. We are headed for Pot 6 and a future of trying to luck out against the other world minnows before being dropped into impossible qualifying groups for future tournaments. 

Perhaps the SNP will be my saviour after all? I have already decided that I will not take a Scottish passport in exchange for my British one if this choice is foisted on me by selfish opportunist politicians who might be successful in emotionally blackmailing gullible nationalists north of the border. The vote is next year and there's every chance my losing streak will continue until then.


Anonymous said...

at least you got a new car that's something to hold onto.

Wyn Grant said...

When the wee man managed Coventry City he lived in a house in the grounds of Stoneleigh Abbey. A friend had an apartment there and often saw Strachan jogging in the grounds in the morning shouting at the flower beds. As for Salmond, he is going to lose and he knows it. I think I might qualify for a Scottish passport if there was a grandparent rule or perhaps having a degree from a Scottish university would suffice.

Dave said...

Wyn - classic Strachan's! I can't see him succeeding here. I hope you are right about the SNP. They have 18 months and will use every trick in the book. Lowering the voting age to 16 is just for starters. Grant is a fine Scottish name and I have it on my Mother's side.

Anonymous said...

Salmond can't lose. If he wins the vote, he gets his independent Scotland. If he loses the vote. The (dis)UK government will give him more devolution and money. All to the detriment of England, the country NEVER mentioned in Westminster.

ThamesmeadIrons said...

well said Daggs..