WEIR’S WEEK: 24th January 2014

Rangers Team stayed at the Carnoustie Hotel
before their match against Forfar Athletic

I think I know what BBC Radio Scotland’s Liam McLeod meant when he said during his ‘Sportsound’ commentary something along the lines that all that was left for Motherwell to do in the closing minutes against Celtic was ‘to try and soil Fraser Forster’s clean sheet.’

Robbie Shepherd 'Take the Floor' makes the journey home easier
Robbie Shepherd
‘Take the Floor’ makes the journey home easier
(Pic: Wikipedia)
As I say, I think I know what he was trying to say!

Moving on, another of BBC Scotland’s products grabbed my attention this Sunday evening with an hour of telly time dedicated to Robbie Shepherd and a tribute to him in the shape of ‘I’ll Be Looking for You.’

And where does the host of Radio Scotland’s ‘Take The Floor’ fit into my sporting day? Actually, it’s more where he dovetails into my sporting life.

Over the years, believe it or not, Robbie has kept me company on many a miserable winter journey hame from various football venues across the land, accompanied by some of the most colourful music this nation has produced with equally colourful titles such as Mrs Grieve of Howdan, Gibby Lang’s Jig, A Trip to Murcia, Tug Argan Gap and Ma’ Granny Deep Fried The Tattie Scones.

Okay, the last one was made up, as I was regularly when the signal on medium flavour in the middle of nowhere would crackle then pick up accordions and fiddles playing to a three-four beat.
Made many a trek home most enjoyable. And for that I will never have a bad word said of Robbie Shepherd.

Players rejected a pay cut
Players rejected a pay cut
Much is made of Rangers’ decision to book in to the four-star Carnoustie Hotel ahead of their league contest against Forfar Athletic. The news angle to this was of course that it came just a few days after the Rangers players had knocked back a 15% pay cut to alleviate the club’s financial strains.

Manager Ally McCoist could always point to the fact that it was part of his the preparations ahead of his team gathering another three points on the way to back-to-back championships and promotions.
He could also say, that such rest bite was nothing new. I can remember then assistant manager Walter Smith playing dorm warden at the Grosvenor back in the days of Souness, when McCoist himself was a player.

Me, I didn’t see anything wrong with a few hours in Carnoustie, just as I never did when previous Rangers squads checked in to the Moat House or Huntingtowers in Perth, or various locations in Aberdeen. After all, it was probably the one time you knew where they would be and you could have a chat with them, uninterrupted. It sounds glamorous, but being cooped up in a hotel is for most players as boring as hell and they’d do anything to break the monotony – even speak to journalists!

What's the future for the games?
What’s the future for the games?
And the Commonwealth Games Federation voices concerns about a lack of interest from member countries in hosting future Games. So far, no member country has expressed serious interest in hosting the 2022 event ahead of a March deadline.

But didn’t we know already that this was how the Commonwealth Games was going?

I think some of us realised it when Glasgow ‘won’ the bid to host the year’s games back in November 2007, seeing off the rival bids from Abuja, Nigeria and, er, Abuja, Nigeria. Halifax, Nova Scotia,
had grabbed their hat out of the ring when they took fright at the projected operating costs reached $1.7bn.

Good job Scotland’s show will come in on, or under budget … won’t it?

Won on penalties
Won on penalties
The Manchester United versus Sunderland League Cup semi-final is eventually decided by a penalty shoot-out; ten kicks taken, only three converted as United tumbled out to add to the woes of David Moyes. Naturally, as it a) involved Manchester United, b) was played in England and c) took place in a World Cup year, then this really had to be the worst penalty kick competition of all time.

Sorry, but it didn’t even come close to the example I (and Hamilton Academical doyen of all things Academical, Scott Struthers) quoted, namely Accies shoot out win over Meadowbank Thistle in the 1992 B&Q Cup semi-final.

That night at Douglas Park, of the 14 kicks taken, ten were saved and one missed – leaving the home side 2-1 winners. I am glad Scott and me could put United’s loss and that penalty kick disaster into some context – a whole day and a bit before some media outlets picked up on it. Oh, the power of social media …

Picture of elegance Norway's curling team
Picture of elegance
Norway’s curling team
In the run up to the Independence Referendum much has been made of how Scotland should be copying the financial and social model of other nations, one of them being Norway. Another part of the Scottish Governments white paper on Independence set out the case for Scotland competing as a separate nation at the likes of the Olympic Games.

Mix those two topics together and the SNP just might have lost a few votes, especially amongst the curling fraternity if Scotland standing alone, financially and sportingly means this (see pic left!)

And the Norwegians have so much going for them? Aye, right …

And well done to Coventry City boss and my old mate Steven Pressley for extending the hand of friendship to Arsene Wenger ahead of the FA Cup tie with Arsenal. ‘Elvis’ has a special bottle of single malt for the Frenchman, which he hopes Arsene will consume – before the game. Good ploy. But I fancy Steven should have bought a case and made friends with the entire Arsenal starting XI!