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Former referee Stuart Dougal's claim that Scottish match officials are obliged to function in the world's most hostile environment was the more preposterous for having been made within a few days of a Copa del Rey final between Barcelona and Real Madrid in which virtually every decision was hotly disputed by each set of players.
LIKE one totalitarian state condemning another over its record on human rights, football fans are often so consumed by inappropriate outrage and indignation that they fail utterly to notice their own hypocrisy.
Oscar Wilde's famous critique of Dickens's The Old Curiosity Shop - "One must have a heart of stone to read the death of Little Nell without dissolving into tears - of laughter" - could equally be applied to reports of the latest intentions of the Scottish Premier League.
The widespread respect pursued by referees and their apologists will remain an elusive quarry for as long as match officials continue to bamboozle and frustrate the public with injudicious interpretation and application of the Laws of the Game.
That eventful Hibs-Hearts match also offered further evidence of sloppy professional standards among officials and observers whose questionable interpretation and application of the rules are no longer a surprise.
The late Tommy Burns was a genuine rarity in that those who sought his company would revere him for his precious good nature rather than the football gifts for which he was more generally celebrated. In the matter of reducing the fever of a heated antagonist, the sweet-talking Tommy would disarm by charm.
It is surely an odd week that begins with the Scottish FA's chief executive pleading poverty and ends with the announcement of a £50 million bounty from Uefa that would entitle the national association - unlike financially-harassed families throughout the country - to pose the question, "What recession?".
Given his nationality, Fabio Capello should be better acquainted than most with the implications of the maxim which decrees that, when in Rome, one should do as the Romans do. After more than three years in England, however, the Italian seems not yet to have absorbed the significance of one of the most meaningful traditions of his (temporarily) adopted country.
As DEMONSTRATED by two recent high-profile cases north and south of the Border, inconsistencies in the application of the law in football are no different from those which prevail in the civil and criminal courts.
This column owns up to a long-standing struggle to understand the difference between a supporters' "trust" and an old-fashioned supporters' "club". Apart, that is, from the former's curious and misguided belief that the fortunes of the football club of their favour would increase dramatically were they allowed to take a hand in its affairs.
The producers of STV's The Football Years have an unerring instinct for the widespread appeal of nostalgia, recognising that reflecting on a chequered past not only induces a pleasurable yearning, but stimulates debate.
The possibility of punitive repercussions notwithstanding, Walter Smith's deepest regret over the Scottish Cup defeat by Celtic on Wednesday will surely have been his encounter with a truth that is familiar to any worker who ever picked up a tool.
While the average life span among humans continues to stretch year on year, that of football teams has been noticeably contracting since the onset of gross commercialisation in the mid-to-late 1980s.
If there is a natural resentment among non-Old Firm fans over the seemingly excessive attention paid to followers of the big Glasgow clubs, there is, equally, an understandable tendency in the media to focus on the interests of the most populous areas of any field of endeavour. Nothing compares with numbers when it comes to the seduction of sponsors, advertisers and marketing executives.
Few experiences in football are as gratifying as the sight of unchecked delinquency ultimately meeting with the kind of justice that appears to have been dispensed by a particularly vengeful god.
The 43rd president of the United States and the 50th president of the Scottish FA have more in common than just a first name. There is also the not inconsiderable matter of the administrations of George W Bush and George Peat both having been marked by bumbling uncertainty, questionable decision-making and the whiff of scandal.
The old fantasy time machine seemed to have become reality on Wednesday, when the impressive manner of Scotland's 3-0 victory over Northern Ireland often had the appearance of a visitation from a team from an earlier, more dazzling age.
Taking a break from a severe Scottish winter may have been something of a guilty pleasure, but it was quite a shock to discover that it was considered by the Fates to be a punishable offence.