The Benchman was one of many with his head in his hands at 7pm last Saturday
HAMPDEN PARK DÉJÀ VU The predominant image from Saturday’s game at Hampden was one of Scottish heads in hands after that late, late goal from Harry Kane. So, so near to getting the result that would have given real hope of making “This Time” a reality. In truth, it was a strange game and given the time of year it maybe shouldn’t have been a surprise. It was very much an end of season game and some players were struggling with cramp. Maybe our football calendar needs reviewing to ensure players are fresh for major international competitions which are invariably played in June and July.
JOE HART If ever there was a case of excessive hype it is that of the England keeper. I recall hearing an over-the -top radio commentator saying that the keeper was destined to be England’s first choice for years to come. He was to be a worthy successor to Banks/Shilton/Clemence and soon was the face of Head and Shoulders shampoo. His display at Hampden has surely brought stark reality into the situation. To lose one free kick like that was maybe unlucky, but to lose a carbon copy effort two minutes later exposed his vulnerability.
MIND THE TIME There wasn’t a dry eye in the house as some of Scotland’s leading poets read out examples of their work at Hampden Park on Wednesday at the launch of the new football poetry book “Mind the Time”. The football poems covered all the emotional aspects of the game- humour, tragedy, loyalty and memories. Billy Hunter the former Motherwell, Hibs and Scotland player kicked off with an intriguing poem “A Baw’s A Baw For A’ That”. The book is selling well and all proceeds go to the Football Memories Project.
TEASER Which Falkirk managers have played for Scotland?
A GOOD BIG YIN? Interesting to contrast the physique and size of the two teams on Saturday. England looked bigger, faster and stronger. Scotland had their traditional fight, spirit and determination. Fascinating.
BRIDGING THE GAP England in the final of the World Cup- against Venezuela. Scotland beating Brazil in the Toulon tournament. All is well with British football? No. Something goes wrong in the gap between youth football and adult football. Everyone knows what the problem is – except those running the game. Young players who are good enough at youth level run into the cul-de-sac that is top-league football. Chelsea had 34 players out on loan last season. Hibs get emergency loans from Celtic. Where are the chances for young Scottish players? Look at the influx of overseas players coming to Scotland this summer to make clubs “more competitive”.
ANSWERS Alex Parker won 15 Scottish caps (14 as a Bairn) and John White won 22(4 as a Falkirk player). The team in the mystery picture was Hibs and you might have spotted Jim Scott in the line-up.
BENCHMARKS Match rating: 8 Teams rating: Scotland- 8 England- 7 Referee: Paolo Tagliavento 7 Best Players: Scotland- Griffiths England- Livermore