The Benchman: French rugby has a lot in common with Scottish football

Which trophy-winning team is this?
Which trophy-winning team is this?

This week, The Benchman - in an unusually cheerful mood after Falkirk went top of the league - ponders who the biggest heavyweight in Scottish football is and reckons Albion Rovers have made the right decision by sticking to Cliftonhill.

WE’RE TOP OF THE LEAGUE: ...and you’re no! It was great to hear that song again after a long, long time. The Bairns support really got behind the team last Saturday and enjoyed every minute of it. Now we don’t need ifs, buts and maybes - keep winning and we can’t be caught.

SCAREMONGERING: What a panic Neil Doncaster caused by that statement about plastic pitches. He doesn’t make the decision and those who do include representatives of clubs who all have - you’ve guessed it - plastic pitches.

FOURTH ESTATE: Scotland are in pot four for the European Championships draw. We are paying a heavy price for the follies of the recent past. Gordon Strachan has a huge task to get us back to where we were, but if anyone can do it, he can.

SOUNDS FAMILIAR? Phillipe Saint-Andre is the coach of the France rugby squad. He is finding it hard to get a team together due to the numbers of overseas players in their leagues. It’s a similar situation in football. Every time the transfer window opens, there is a mad rush to get a big name signing. Invariably, they are from other countries. Whatever happened to youth development and recruitment from the Juniors and lower division teams? Arguably, Falkirk’s best Scottish players in my lifetime have been Alex Parker, John White and Gary Gillespie. Where did we get them? Kello Rovers, Alloa Athletic and Grangemouth International.

BOVRIL A GO-GO: There were quite a few at the game who were glad to have the story of the Bovril Boy confirmed. They had spoken about this to their kids and grandchildren, but nobody had believed them.

HEAVYWEIGHTS: I thought I had seen some big forwards when Armand One turned out for Alloa and Gary O’Connor pulled on a Morton shirt. But Christian Nade looked capable of matching them pound for pound. Talk about a big, big name signing?

ANSWERS: Last week’s mystery player was Frank Sandeman who once played for The Shire and had been at Hearts before that. The Bairns signed from Stoke City were Jimmy Adam and John Clark.

MYSTERY PIC: Which team is pictured above and what have they won? Tweet your answer @FalkirkHeraldSp

TEASER: Which Falkirk player, an under-23 cap when he was at Pittodrie, was signed from St Mirren in 1964 and left to play in South Africa with Durban City?

TENSION: The biggest tension last Saturday was caused by the news coming in from Hamilton. Many of the pessimists were waiting for a late Cowdenbeath collapse.

TOO RIGHT, MATE: Well done to the Albion Rovers chairman who wants to redevelop the existing ground. “We have witnessed many examples of football clubs being uprooted from their traditional homes and relocated to soul-less out-of-town sites or worse still to another town altogether.
This often leads to clubs damaging their identity and losing long-established connections with their traditional fan-base.”