My Sporting Week: Strachan bites his tongue

Gordon Strachan is appointed the new Scotland boss
Gordon Strachan is appointed the new Scotland boss

Newly appointed Scotland manager Gordon Strachan is renowned for his sharp mind, almost as much as he is for his footballing prowess.

Last April, the former Manchester United star was at Falkirk’s St Mungo’s High to take a training session with the school’s senior boys and girls teams.

Each squad had reached their respective Scottish Cup finals - which they would both later win - and their reward was an hour’s coaching from Strachan.

Of course, The Falkirk Herald was in attendance and the responsibilty to interview the man who won league titles on both sides of the border fell to this reporter.

As I waited for the session to finish, I chatted to the friendly public relations man accompanying Strachan for the day.

We reminisced about some of the great put-downs Strach had delivered to journalists over the years.

One of my favourites is when asked if James Beattie should be in the England squad, the then Southampton boss replied: “I don’t care, I’m Scottish.”

The PR chap reminded me of another time, when asked by a reporter if he could have “a quick word”, Strachan had famously replied “velocity” before walking off.

“You won’t say that, will you?” asked the PR. How we laughed.

We’d been talking about that incident in the office that day too, so it was fresh in the memory.

Too fresh.

Training over, I saw my chance. I walked over to the coach.

“Gordon, can I have a quick word?”

It was the journalist’s equivalent of ballooning a last minute penalty over the bar.

Strachan, to be fair, just paused and gave me a bemused look.

“Are you new to this game?” he said, laughing. Like a true pro, I regained my composure and completed what was an enjoyable interview.

I can laugh about it all now - but it’s taken ten months.

Good luck, Gordon.