Time and tide wait for no man, so the proverb goes. I for one can admit to this being painfully true as, despite enjoying a large time difference between Florida and Scotland, I awoke on Sunday morning awash with news of a skelping by the US Men’s National Team. 5-1, to be precise.
Having not watched the game or having avoided the Twitter traffic I was indolent in my indifference. See, Scots are a cynical bunch. We have the famed Tartan Army, sure, our rag-tag support portended as the most jovial on the globe. Which to some extent is true: they love to travel and make friends wherever they go, kilted and well lubricated.
On this trip, though, they would be forced to turn to their cynical side once more. Apathy, even. “We lost again? So what? We’re losers…”
At least this is the impression created by incumbent Scotland boss Craig Levein.
“I think a brief assessment of the game would be quite difficult. There was one team focused and ready to play and another who looked as though they had finished the season and had nothing to play for,” the manager exhaled towards the British press.
This, it must be insisted upon, is a terrible, terrible excuse. This man’s job is to inject enthusiasm into his wards. If he cannot and then limply blames the summer for existing then he may find himself under much more pressure than he has previously expected. He conceded that the USMNT were the better team and started with spectacular intent.
Lest we forget that Levein is the manager who once deployed a 4-6-0 tactic in a qualifying match. He was so cynical and negative that he selected no strikers and then looked glassy-eyed and dejected when the opposition took up the invitation to continually attack. That day the Czech Republic won 1-0, but the damage was more psychological.
Then this week a documentary aired on the BBC, entitled ‘Rangers: The Men Who Sold the Jerseys’. It was a scathing undertaking, with evidence taken as soon as the scandals broke. In the work it came out that the executives at the club could well know a lot more than they could publicly admit, that players’ payments were handled in incredible fashion (through an Employee Benefit Trust) and also the way in which black-marked owner Craig Whyte had taken advantage of administration proceedings.
The administrators have lashed back with strongly worded retorts and are now pursuing legal action over the investigative piece, but however it comes out in the wash Rangers have been one of the most inappropriately handled institutions in Scottish sport.
Perhaps some will say this as well about Levein’s Scotland, from a purely playing perspective. Either way it has been an embarrassing week for Scottish football. The Rangers debacle gets richer in absurdity whilst the team have still not sorted out their future (be it in the third division or the Scottish Premier League) and Scotland have taken a humbling lesson from their New World counterparts.
It can be used as an excuse for this one result, but thank former glories that Scotland are not playing towards EURO 2012.