John McGinn from West Dunbartonshire is a top player in the present Scotland team.
By Bill Heaney
Football used to be a game for the working classes. It was relatively affordable to get into a match – or get yourself lifted over the turnstiles – and you could always watch it on television if you were stuck.
Now, however, the men (and women) in the pinstripe suits and skirts, and fat wallets, of course, have taken over the beautiful game.
And even though it’s not nearly as beautiful as it used to be (present Scotland men’s team excluded) it’s not as affordable to watch as it used to be. And the pies and Bovril days are gone.
One MSP, Stuart McMillan (Greenock and Inverclyde) (SNP), who stands with the Morton soap dodgers at Cappielow, asked Maree Todd, the Sports Minister, when she last spoke to the Scottish Football Association “about its efforts to make elite men’s football in Scotland as accessible as possible to everyone, specifically children from disadvantaged backgrounds”.
He added: “The minister will be aware of the two recent Scotland men’s games that were televised on Viaplay, which is a monthly subscription service, in addition to the Scotland men’s home shirt costing £50 for juniors and £70 for adults.
“What discussions has the Scottish Government had with the SFA about televising our national men’s game on free-to-air television so that everyone across Scotland can have access and show their support?”
Maree Todd, pictured left, told him: “Unfortunately, neither the Scottish Government nor the SFA plays a role in the selling of match rights for the Euro 24 qualifiers. There is a centralised process that is run by the Union of European Football Associations.
“We believe that men’s and women’s Scottish international football matches should be part of the crown jewels of free-to-air sporting events.
“However, sadly, the United Kingdom Government has absolutely failed to act on that matter.
“We will continue to press the UK Government to expand the listed events regime, and we will continue to work with the SFA to continue to make football more accessible to everyone across society.”
So, the SNP line is to blame the English. They have never really forgiven them for that 9-3 game at Wembley all those years ago. Send in the Tartan Army, I say. Or maybe just John McGinn. We’ve got John McGinn, and we’re going to Germany for the Euro qualifiers come the autumn.
Delight for Scotland – match winners John McGinn and Kenny McLean celebrate during the game against Norway at Hampden.