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Scotland Need To Sort Out Own Issues & Forget Copying Others

Date: 23rd July 2018

After each major tournament that Scotland inevitably miss, some of our media and supporters will point to an overachieving nation and tell us that the Scots could learn something from them.

During Euro 2016 it was Iceland and in this summer’s World Cup it was finalists Croatia that were given as the latest example for us to follow. Scotland have a greater population than both of those nations, that’s the biggest reason why they’ll use those countries as an example.

Yet it’s not a quick fix that we need, nor is there a plan or blueprint that we can copy and instantly replicate.

Croatia, for example, have a a chaotic football infrastructure and have had issues with corruption. Their success isn’t really down to plans created by the Croatian Football Association.

The Croats have a rich history of producing strong defensive players, technically gifted individuals and decent goalscorers. Football was also an outlet in the 1990s for youngsters to do well and get
away from a war torn country that was finding it’s feet in the world.

Scotland can’t copy any of that, nor quite frankly should we want to.

Iceland possess a totally different culture to us. They have a shorter working week, kids start school later in life and they were investing in grassroots football back at the turn of the millennium.

At that same time, clubs in Scotland were getting richer and it was more in vogue to bring in a foreign footballer rather than give young Scottish talent the chance.

Now we have learned a lesson here, and we are spending more on the grassroots of our game. That’s the biggest thing we should do when it comes to looking at other national team’s success. We can’t copy it but we can implement certain elements that could enrich our game.

But we also have to realise that our football and society as a whole needs to be fixed in different ways for us to hope to reach the heights of reaching a top class international tournament again.

We currently have an obesity crisis amongst our population. You no longer see kids playing on the streets or in public parks. They’ll eat rubbish, mainly due to poor education and upbringing, and they prefer to stay inside and play on their games consoles or they’ll be glued to their phones.

Back in my day, at primary school we got between half an hour to an hour of PE a week. That was ridiculous and while I’m sure it’s better now, we should be aiming to get our children doing an hour a day of physical exercise. That won’t just help our footballing hopes but it will also help keep the next generation healthy both physically and mentally.

Schools also need to find a way to incorporate proper education regarding diet. Back in my day (again), which was just a generation ago, we were being taught how to took doughnuts using a deep fat fryer. We should be teaching our kids healthier options and also educating them on how to shop and get the best for your money!

If I’m being honest, life is a bit too easy now and the hunger to succeed isn’t as high or important as it used to be. Kids no longer look at sport (particularly football) as a way to escape working in shipyards or going down the mining pits.

That’s why we have to get kids from both sexes interested in sport at a younger age and expose them to as many different sports as possible.

People may have been critical of Project Brave, and it might not be the answer but at least we are trying to create something that can be Scottish and isn’t fixated on any other country.

Hopefully we can flourish in football tournaments again. It won’t happen immediately, so we need to be patient. I believe we are at least making steps in the right direction and I hope we soon find a Scottish model that we can be proud of!

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