Scottish sports comment: About a decade ago a good friend insisted that by now both Celtic and Rangers would be playing in the English Premier League. His argument went along the entirely reasonable lines that economic muscle would propel the Old Firm towards larger audiences.
I disagreed on the basis that the game’s ruling bodies, both at home and abroad, would have no truck with such plans. So it has proved, but perhaps things are just beginning to change.
It may easily have passed by unnoticed that the AGM of the International Football Association’s Board was held last week in Edinburgh. Such discussions can prove highly soporific, but for all that SFA boss Stewart Regan has intriguingly re-opened the possibility of cross-border competition.
Regan talked openly afterwards of “opportunity” and “different possibilities” despite strong suggestions that both Uefa and Fifa will reject a joint Russian/Ukrainian league.
We have often been down this road since the mid-1980s — most recently via Charles Green at Rangers — with talk of playing and even relocating elsewhere.
The closest the Old Firm have come to this was the Atlantic League, a now battered old proposal which would have seen the leading lights of Scotland, Portugal, the Netherlands, Belgium and Scandinavia thrown together on a regular basis.
Though still mentioned from time to time — as the Champions League has prospered, it has come to nought. And yet Regan raised the prospect of what can perhaps be summed up as an Atlantic-lite vision.
This would involve playing part of the season in the traditional domestic setting and then, as Regan says, “depending on where you finish,” heading off into some sort of merged competition.
Exactly what form that might take is anybody’s guess, but one can easily imagine a Celtic League or Northern League arrangement.
One of the interesting things about the driver for change is its source — the professional Dutch/Belgian women’s leagues and closer to home Glasgow City’s desire to join the women’s English league.
Still no-one should forget the turmoil Scottish football has been through recently. Indeed the game is seemingly on the verge of further controversial reconstruction within its own borders.
But perhaps we should not worry ourselves over-much, for as Regan suggests the emergence of any supranational league would not be “an overnight journey.”
That is no bad thing for we are talking of historic and groundbreaking reform which would doubtless be welcomed and abhorred in equal measure.
So yet again poor old Hearts are on the lookout for a new manager after John McGlynn departed after a mere eight months in post.
The Gorgie club are in a real old pickle, second bottom of the league in a season blighted by serious financial woes.
On the bright side they have a date at Hampden for the League Cup final later this month.
Win or lose that one there’s no escaping the real problem — a lack of consistency at Tynecastle over the past decade.
The best illustration is an astonishing statistic from Hearts’ longest-serving player Jamie MacDonald.
The 26-year-old goalie has seen 15 managers come and go since signing professional terms aged 16. He calls this “a bit mad” and it’s hard to argue otherwise.
That leaves one wondering why anyone who fancied themselves as a top-flight manager would want to enter such an arena of doom?
They do so knowing there is an absolutely ruthless attitude from those in charge of the club and that they will be asked to succeed with comparatively little cash.
As an official statement rather euphemistically puts it “potential candidates must be aware of the scale of the job.”
Still, ambition means that a number of weel kent faces, such as interim boss Gary Locke, Craig Levein, John Robertson and Paul Hartley, are already in the frame.
There can be no doubt that each of these gents, with strong ties to the Edinburgh club, would have what would seem to be the advantage of being on familiar ground.
What Hearts need most, apart from being sure they have got the very best man around, is to give their newest of new guys time and space to put the team back on a firm footing.
On that score no one will be holding their breath.
There can be little doubt that we are likely to hear a great deal more about Eilidh Child in the coming months and years. Not as yet a household name, Child won gold and silver while setting two records at the European Indoor Athletics in Gothenburg at the weekend.
The 26-year-old from Perth became the first Scottish individual medallist at the meeting for more than a quarter of a century with gutsy performances in both the 400m and the 4x400m relay.
Child may have hit form at just the right time with this summer’s World Championships in Russia on the horizon. This is no mere coincidence for personal bests come only from the punishing daily grind of the training track.
Happily Child feels she will now go into the most crucial meeting of the year in Moscow with the belief and ability to “nail it.” Who can blame her?
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