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Saluting Our Captain Andy Robertson

Date: December 28th, 2022

Andrew Robertson picked out Mo Salah with a lovely pass to set up the Egyptian in scoring for Liverpool in their 3-1 win over Aston Villa on Monday night.

That assist made Scotland captain Robertson the Premier League’s assist record holder. He has now created 54 assists, beating previous record holder Leighton Baines. 

It proves what we’ve already known about Andy; he’s committed to the cause and loyal to his teammates. 

I know some Scotland supporters have differing opinions regarding the twenty-eight year old. I feel some unfairly compare his performances for his national side to those he produces at Liverpool. Liverpool are a squad specifically purchased at a hefty cost to suit world class Jurgen Klopp’s game plan. With Scotland you need to play with more discipline and with a different standard of teammate. It was the same with Darren Fletcher. 

The fact we have another top class left back in Kieran Tierney makes things awkward at Scotland too as Tartan Army boss Steve Clarke tries to get the two into his starting eleven. When Robertson recently missed a couple of Scotland games, Tierney moved to left back and had a superb outing. Sparking the debate about dropping Andy from the starting team. 

Robertson has now won himself 60 caps, again showing his commitment to the cause. He’s definitely passionate about playing for Scotland and that shows. I don’t think we really appreciate how good and committed Andy is when it comes to representing his country. 

Here’s hoping he can repeat the his biggest international feat, qualifying for a major tournament, and get us to Germany in 2024!

Posted in: Latest News

Scottish Football Clubs Supporting Their Communities This Winter

Date: December 14th, 2022

It is bitterly cold outside at the moment. Financially December has always been a tough month for many but add the current cost of living crisis and it has become extremely desperate for a lot of people in need. 

Thankfully we have some wonderful football clubs with great charities and community trusts out there passing on some much needed festive cheer, spirit and kindness. 

This afternoon (Wednesday 14th December) between 12pm and 2pm, Big Hearts will be offering a free bowl of hot food plus teas and coffees as part of their lunch club. It is fantastic to offer food, warmth and even a wee bit of company during this harshest of times for the people who really need it. It all takes place at 1874 Cafe on McLeod Street in Edinburgh and it’s in partnership with homeless charity Cyrenians

Yesterday evening Motherwell’s Community Trust offered something similar to anyone who needed assistance in North Lanarkshire and they’ll do the same tomorrow night (Thursday 15th December) at Fir Park. 

St Roch’s FC in Glasgow are in the middle of a toy drive and are accepting donations of new toys to distribute to local schools, nurseries and housing groups. Some children aren’t always lucky enough to enjoy new things at this time of the year, so it is great to see a football community club like St Roch’s  giving back this month! 

If you are up in Aberdeen then you can help the AFC community Trust as they hope to spread plenty of Christmas cheer with their drive. 

It really is amazing to see football clubs, volunteers and the like to come out all over Scotland and really make a difference to people’s lives and once again shows how football can help out the local community in so many worthwhile ways! 

If you can help out, then seek out a club or community trust near you and offer what you can. If you need help then go along and make yourself known, someone will look after you.  

Posted in: Latest News

Sky Sports Cup Final Shows There’s An Appetite For Growth In Women’s Game

Date: December 12th, 2022

Copyright – @RangersWFC

Congratulations to the Rangers Women’s side who yesterday added the Sky Sports Cup to their ever growing trophy cabinet. 

Lizzie Arnott scored an absolute screamer to open the scoring and then Kirsty Howat added a second with a well placed shot from the edge of the box to finally put the game beyond a plucky Hibs team. 

But while it was a fantastic day for Rangers, it was also a sensational day for the Scottish Women’s game.

Over 3500 people braved the cold, bitter conditions to view the showpiece event at Tyncastle. That coming on the back of the 8k plus who recently went through the turnstiles at Easter Road to watch the Edinburgh derby shows that interest is there. 

I should also praise Sky Sports. I’m not slow to put the boot in when they struggle to properly cover the game in Scotland but they helped make yesterday such a special occasion! 

They had the game live on the Sky Sports PL channel which is fantastic but the fact that they also put it on the free to air channel Mix was a sublime touch from the broadcaster to get as many eyes on the product as possible. 

To show us the potential the women’s game has up here, look at Arnott’s goal. It was sensational as were the numbers on Sky Sports Scotland’s tweet. Over 216k views have been recorded watching the goal on that particular tweet and that’s in under 24 hours! 

All over social media the game was being advertised, talked about and praised from new fans as well as old ones. Hopefully the new viewers can become supporters, go to the games and develop a strong connection with the Scottish Women’s game. 

For those in charge of the game, it’s all about continuing the development and for broadcasters it is all about continuing the coverage. They all deserve a lot of credit for yesterday but they can’t afford to rest on their laurels, they need to keep that passion to drive everything even further forward. 

Hopefully people can see that the potential is definitely there and help see it being realised!  

Posted in: Latest News

Partick Thistle Need Listen To The Fanbase

Date: December 7th, 2022

Firhill has been in a bit of turmoil as of late. The result today has seen seven members of Partick Thistle’s board resign, including chairwoman Jacqui Low. 

It seems like a lot of this mess could have been prevented had the club been more transparent and offer a different fan ownership model that the supporters could genuinely get behind. If your intentions are to move to a club sustained by fan ownership and investment then you have to make it with consultation at the heart of the really big business decisions. St Mirren and Motherwell have excellent templates that Partick Thistle could take a look at. 

Once you go down a certain road and continue to go down that road despite growing pressure from the terraces, then chances are you won’t succeed. As seems to be the case with The Jags in this scenario. A record low crowd attendance for Thistle’s Scottish Cup tie against Kelty Hearts showed that things couldn’t realistically continue as they were.   

Offering up fudge options or a fan ownership light model rarely works. As I say fans just need to look at Motherwell and St Mirren and see that fan representatives can be elected on to the board and they’ll instantly become more invested in that idea. 

I don’t think the outgoing board’s statement regarding their departure was particular smart either. Again it kind of showed that they were out of touch with what a fan owned club should look like and how they should deal with issues relating to your main stakeholders. 

The club now have a chance to bring everyone back around the table and come up with a better ownership model that reflects what the supporters really want to see at Firhill. It is a time for fresh, innovative ideas. To keep the club inclusive and with the fans at the heart of every major decision. Scotland have had success when it comes to incorporating fan ownership and these clubs are always willing to help out those clubs that want to follow in their footsteps, so ask of their advice. 

It is time to listen, be transparent, be ambitious and follow your heart! 

Posted in: Latest News

Reminder: You Can Still Support Scottish Football This Month

Date: November 24th, 2022

If you’re in Scotland and craving real football this month, instead of consuming the World Cup in Qatar, then I’m here to tell you that you can! 

Yes the higher echelons of our men’s game have taken a break till the festive period because of Fifa’s main competition but if you look further down the pyramid then you’ll notice games are still taking place. 

The West of Scotland have a bumper fixture list this weekend and throughout the next month (weather permitting). If you want one of the tastiest pies in the game then checkout Beith versus Irvine Meadow IX on Saturday. Pollok versus Darvel should provide a tense nighttime encounter on the 7th of December. 

Over in the East Of Scotland you’ll be able to see the likes of Penicuik Athletic, Linlithgow Rose, Musselburgh Athletic and Sauchie Juniors flexing their muscles in November and December! 

In the tier above the Lowland League is also bursting with fixtures in the upcoming weeks. League leaders Rangers B face a tricky home tie in Dumbarton against Open Goal Broomhill on the 29th of this month. The University of Stirling have been highly impressive this season and they’ll be up against East Stirlingshire on the 7th of December. 

The Highland League has some enticing ties coming up as well including Brora Rangers vs Clachnacuddin (Nov 26th), Keith vs Fraserburgh (3rd Dec) and Brechin City vs Deveronvale (Dec 10th).

The Women’s game is still going strong too. This Sunday Partick Thistle Women’s FC take on Glasgow City at Petershill Park and it’s a Family Fun Day too. Kids enter for free and they’ll have fun actives such as face painting, beat the Kingsley, a selfie station and a meet the team event. On the same day Rangers host Celtic live on BBC Alba and Easter Road will host the Edinburgh derby as Hibs await Hearts. 

There’s obviously a crucial weekend in the Scottish Cup this weekend too. While the Scottish Championship and Leagues 1 and 2 are still playing week in and week out, I thought it would be good to check out the lower leagues! 

All of these games and teams strive to do more within their communities. The play is often at a higher standard than fair-weather or glory hunting fans think. The grub is often superior than what you’d get in the leagues higher up. The pricing is a lot more affordable and the stadia are often dog friendly too (just check beforehand). 

Forget all the hoo-ha that comes with this winter’s World Cup (still feels strange), it has quite often been devoid of any passion and is certainly not a fan friendly experience. Take a trip to a local club and I’m guessing you’ll have a much better time of it! 

Posted in: Latest News

Improving VAR In Scotland

Date: November 23rd, 2022

VAR has been shockingly bad thus far in Scottish football. Who would have guessed? Yes, every fans of Scottish football. 

As it seems like we are stuck with VAR I’ve tried to think of ways in which we could improve it before Scottish football resumes in December. 

I think having professional officials should be a long term goal for our footballing authorities. At the moment we are relying on the same old faces to call the decisions. Surely it would be better if we had professional referees who were focused solely on learning the technology and constantly referring to the rule book and not part time officials. I’d like to think having professional teams learning and training beside each other every week would give our game more consistently correct calls. There’s still too much inconsistency within the decisions we are getting from Video Assistant Referees. 

We need better angles and every TV angle afforded to the VAR teams. I don’t think we have enough cameras with different viewpoints being used to make these important decisions. Going cheap can often cost you more in the long term. 

There should be a liaison officer between The SFA and those that hold our media rights. Someone who can explain clearly why decisions are being made and why the technology might not always give instant answers. Transparency to those covering our game would filter through to the fans and that would hopefully stop a lot of the confusion that still exists. As I constantly say on here, the footballing authorities and clubs often forget about the biggest stakeholders in the game -The Fans. 

I hope they can speed up decisions and concentrate on the main calls. I think VAR taking over all the decisions brings in more doubts to officials and leads to even more bad calls. It’s about assisting not about taking over. We want as much ball 0n the pitch time as possible and not 10 minutes of overtime we are currently seeing at the World Cup. Stop start games are the worst! 

At the moment VAR is the bane of every fan in Scotland’s top tier and that shouldn’t be what Scottish football is about. It needs to improve and it needs to happen fast. 

Posted in: Latest News

SFA Should Review Euro 2028 Commitment

Date: November 17th, 2022

It was announced that the five associations of the UK and Ireland launched their bid to host Euro 2028. 

Fourteen stadiums have been shortlisted as venues for the possible fixtures in 2028 with Hampden Park being Scotland’s sole representative. 

Wales also only have one stadium in the running as does Northern Ireland, while Ireland have two and the list consists of nine English grounds. 

Scotland and the SFA shouldn’t settle for having one ground hosting games, while London has three! 

Why has Celtic Park and/or Ibrox Stadium been excluded from the list? 

There’s two in England’s north east and three in England’s north west. 

Yet I’d argue that Glasgow has a richer footballing history. Glasgow was the first city to host any sort of international football match after all. Both Celtic Park and Ibrox have regularly been praised by football’s top stars for creating some of the best atmospheres in world football. Glasgow also has the infrastructure to hold more people and get them around the city with plenty of hotel rooms, good public transport links and a road network that can get you to all of its stadia.  

Time and again Scotland as well as Wales and the two Irish FAs have to sit there and be happy to just accept the crumbs that the English FA and the UK government hand us from time to time. It’s ridiculous that the SFA would just accept this as an ideal solution. 

Just adding one more Glasgow stadium would see Scotland increase its income dramatically. Yet once again were are deemed an after thought. Clearly England want to host this event and are just carrying the rest of us to gain extra support. That’s not good enough. 

This also stinks of a political stunt and again I’m not sure that The SFA should be associated with it. 

If the UK and Ireland get the nod then I am sure it won’t feel like a UK and Ireland tournament when 2028 comes around. It will feel like the London Olympics 2012 when Hampden got the odd game. It will be all Three Lions and football coming home in the press and few people around the world will think of anything other than this being England’s tournament! 

Posted in: Latest News

Scotland Not Making Qatar (A Good Thing)

Date: November 16th, 2022

It’s never easy when your country misses a World Cup but unfortunately for the Tartan Army we’ve had to get used to that this century. 

But as this year’s competition gets set to take off in Qatar, it doesn’t seem to be as big a miss as previous tournaments have been for Scotland. 

I still can’t really comprehend just why FIFA awarded the 2022 World Cup to Qatar. When they were handed that tournament Qatar had no World Cup worthy stadia and the country’s infrastructure wasn’t deemed a “high operational risk” by a Fifa committee who were sent to assess the various bids. The USA bid seemed the best and if Fifa wanted to take it to a new area of the world then Australia looked a good choice.

Yet Qatar won every round of voting and were announced as hosts. That news was met with calls of corruption. A chunk of that executive committee who selected Qatar were later arrested on corruption charges (although not directly linked to the 2022 World Cup bid). 

It also became pretty clear that it would be impossible for Qatar to host a World Cup in the months of June/July that we’ve always seen in the past. The heat would simply be too ferocious for the players and for the fans and that’s why we now have a winter World Cup. This should’ve been disclosed before the tournament was awarded. 

Qatar isn’t a traditional footballing nation. They’ve never qualified for a World Cup before. I have no issue with a country from the Middle East or an Arabian country to host a World Cup but it should probably be either Saudi Arabia or Iran from a footballing view in the Middle East(although both would still feel uneasy given human rights records) or a Morocco or Algeria if you wanted an Arab country. 

The human rights record at Qatar is another huge issue that makes us glad not to be there. The amount of foreign workers who have been used to build the stadia and the infrastructure who have suffered with extremely poor working conditions and those that have died is significant and is a problem that Fifa and Qatar simply can’t ignore because it has never gone away. 

The rights, or lack of, for the LGBT community in Qatar is also very disturbing. Fifa like to state that football is for everyone but this World Cup seems to contradict that statement. Former Fifa President Sepp Blatter’s answer to gay football fans who had raised concerns of Qatar hosting the event stated that gay supporters “should refrain from any sexual activities.”. That’s simply not good enough from football’s governing body! 

Fans are already complaining that facilities are not great. We’ve had a Danish TV reporter threatened by Qatari security officials during a live broadcast. This is all before the big kick-off on Sunday. 

This World Cup simply doesn’t feel like a festival for football fans. In truth Fifa has been too busy making the World Cup a super cash bonanza for decades now, fans seem to be much forgotten about. But this still feels different. Even had Scotland qualified I don’t think I’d be willing to make the trip to Qatar, nor would I have regretted not being there either! 

Here’s hoping that we can draw a line under Blatter regime after this cash heavy tournament and we can get back to just being about the football in 2026 and have the Tartan Army there! 

Posted in: Latest News

Participants wanted for study to under the role of alcohol consumption in football cultures

Date: October 31st, 2022

Alcohol FC is a research project looking at the way football fans view and understand their relationship with drinking alcohol.

Alcohol consumption in the UK remains high compared to other countries, and is often associated with watching or attending football matches.

In this project, Alcohol FC aim to provide new evidence on the role alcohol plays for football fans, to help prevent excessive and binge consumption, violence and other alcohol-related harm.

The research team are looking for participants to get involved with the study.

What is this study about?

This study aims to explore the issue of alcohol consumption for those attending football matches in Scotland and England, gaining insight into: the role alcohol consumption plays for people attending football matches; how current restrictions surrounding alcohol at football matches influences the alcohol consumption of people attending football matches and what differences exist between England and Scotland.

This will be done using a research method known as photovoice where you will lead the research process and capture photos which visually represent your experiences with football and alcohol. This method allows fans to narrate their experiences using their own voices. Photovoice allows participants to reflect on and communicate their concerns and expose any issues with the current system of laws which govern alcohol consumption whilst attending football matches in the United Kingdom.

Do you have to take part in the study?

Your participation is entirely voluntary, and you are free to drop out at any point without giving a reason. If you agree to take part, you will receive £100 worth of Amazon vouchers as a thank you.

What is involved?

If you are happy to take part after you have read the study information, we will first ask you to sign a consent form. You can ask any questions you have about the study before deciding to take part.

  • If you agree to participate, you will be invited to take part in a research activity called Photovoice (where people take photos). The purpose of taking photos, and asking for an explanation of the photo, is to help you tell your story with your own pictures. There are two goals for this research activity:
  • To enable you as a football fan to record and reflect on experiences of attending football matches in the UK through taking photos
  • To promote discussion about important issues around alcohol consumption through talking about the photos taken by all those in the photovoice group (others also doing the same activity).
  • You will be asked to attend an online training workshop about the photovoice method and the responsibility of taking photographs.
  • Then we will ask you to take photos showing your experience of attending football matches and any alcohol consumption which occurs whilst watching football over a period of 2 weeks. Then the researcher will gather all the pictures and the photovoice group will meet twice with the researcher and other fans to discuss and thematically group the pictures taken and identify those most representing the key issues related to alcohol and football. We will be audio recording the meetings and taking notes.

What will be the benefits for me taking part?

You will not have any direct benefit from taking part. However, the results will be used to: record and reflect football fans’ experiences; promote critical dialogue and knowledge about this issue; to reach policymakers. You will receive £100 worth of Amazon vouchers for taking part.

How confidential are the images and interviews? 

All information gathered will be treated confidentially. We won’t share information about you with anyone other than the research team, and your name won’t appear on any reports or publications which we write about the research. If you choose to take pictures of yourself or others all faces will be blurred in any publications. Anyone else who appears in the images will be de-identified. Images may be used for dissemination but these will be agreed with you beforehand. Also, in doing the research you may find that some people may feel taking pictures is an invasion of their privacy. Some people may not want to have their photo taken, and you cannot take close-up photos of people without their permission. But we will provide you with  training before we start.

What will happen to the results of the research study?

The results of the study will be analysed by the research team and written up into a number of reports/outputs and possibly presented at future conferences. However, your identity will be protected as above.

Who is organising and funding this research?

This research is organised by the Institute for Social Marketing and Health, University of Stirling and is funded by the Economic and Social Research Council (Grant Ref: ES/R008485/1)

Who has reviewed this research?

The University of Stirling’s General University Ethics Panel has reviewed this research (GUEP 607).

What happens if something goes wrong or I want to leave the study? 

If something goes wrong or you feel there is a problem and you need to speak to someone within the research team, please contact Richard Purves from the University of Stirling on the details provided below. If, for any reason, you decide you no longer want to take part in the study, please let us know using the contact details below. Your details will be removed from our database and any information you have given us will be deleted.  

Who can I contact for further information? 

If you would like to take part in the research, have any questions or would like to discuss the study in more detail please contact Richard Purves from the University of Stirling

If you would like to speak to someone else not involved with this research or pursue any complaint, you can contact:

Jayne Donaldson,

Faculty of Health Sciences and Sport, University of Stirling, FK9 4LA

Thank you for your participation.

Posted in: Latest News

Should We End Saturday 3pm TV Blackout?

Date: October 26th, 2022

We’ve often been told that Saturday 3pm kick-offs are sacred affairs and we can only view those fixtures in person. 

Clubs and authorities believed that that was the best way to keep attendances up, no one would want to go to a game of football if it’s on the TV. 

It has been recently reported that The EFL will consider lifting the blackout when negotiating their next TV deal. The UK is pretty unique when it comes to enforcing a blackout for a period of time each and every week. 

Now The SPFL has recently signed an extension to their current TV deal with Sky and that could mean removing the blackout might not be possible until after that contract ends. This again would seem like the Scottish footballing authorities and its members may have rushed in to a new deal without thinking everything through. 

I think it’s a myth that crowd numbers will instantly and significantly go down if we remove the blackout. Look at Newlandsfield Park on Monday night, Pollok hosted Annan Athletic in the Scottish Cup, and the ground was sold out. It was a true spectacle and those that were there would’ve enjoyed it more by just being there. 

Clubs scared of disappearing attendances are again thinking in the short term. It would be up to them to make the match day experience as exciting and as enjoyable as possible. If you aren’t willing to listen to new ideas then things will become stale and that’s what will drive fans away quicker than anything else. 

It was completely shortsighted to agree an extension with Sky without adding a proviso that clubs could generate extra income with streaming their own games that Sky Sports aren’t covering. The technology is there and there’s an appetite for it, we saw that during the Covid pandemic. Yes Sky have agreed to clubs doing some streaming but it’s not enough to really make it significant to the fans or to the club’s coffers. 

I’m not saying we should 100% get rid of the 3pm blackout. What I am crying out for is that the SPFL and it’s members take fans seriously and ask them what they want!

We are no longer in the 1960s, times have changed. Going to the football and having it streamed for those that can’t make it can co-exist. 

Football clubs want to see attendances grow, yet they never really consider how they can do that with the input of the spectators who are the ones that keep those same football clubs alive. 

Posted in: Latest News