the state of things


5 Reasons Not To Be Miserable After Scotland’s 1-0 Loss To Macedonia

by Douglas Lindsay - 09:21 on 08 September 2008
5. You can now get odds of 750-1 on Scotland winning the World Cup.

4. We’re still level on points with Holland.

3. The 2-2 draw between Norway and Iceland plays into our hands.

2. We don’t have to go back to eastern Europe in this tournament.

1. When we play Holland in March, none of MacGregor, Weir, Ferguson, Miller, Boyd, Broadfoot, Dailly or Thomson will be exhausted after a long European campaign.

I wrote this today, rather than later in the week, in case we lose on Wednesday. Which is not exactly out of the question. An English friend said to me last week, when I was expressing reservations about Scotland’s ability to win in Macedonia, that I shouldn’t be so negative, hadn’t we beaten France twice etc etc.

The English just don’t think like us. They weren’t in Argentina in 1978.

Talking of which. Alex Salmond will be desperately hoping we make it to South Africa in 2010. Nothing fuels nationalist fervour like a World Cup campaign. Should we get there, and should he actually be in a position to hold the independence ballot he so cherishes, he would be in a quandary over whether to hold it before or after the tournament. Before, and he can ride the wave of the build up, the anticipation and the excitement.

But then, what if we had an ‘Ireland in 1990’ type of tournament, a great galvanising run, something to inspire Scots and their notion of nationhood. Wouldn’t it be perfect to hold the ballot immediately afterwards?

But then, Alex would be thinking, what if we had a repeat of Argentina in 1978? There’s the risk. Embarrassment and total failure. And as a long suffering member of the movement, he will well know that the reason the first Scottish parliament vote failed in 1979, was because of the hangover from the previous summer, the crushing blow to the nation’s psyche that was that failed trip to South America. For years afterwards, nobody wanted to admit to being Scottish. ‘Whit, me? Naw, Ah’m nae Scottish, just goat ma accent fi’ watchin’ tae much Take The High Road, ya bastard.’

It’ll be a tough call. And all we have to do is recover from our latest football embarrassment enough to once more defeat Holland, for it even to be a call at all.

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