There have been a succession of ex-players and managers who’ve been invited to talk up the William Hill Scottish Cup this season - most of whom have shot straight from the hip and provided some juicy headlines.
Tony Watt - Scottish football is rubbish
There was a reason Hearts never let the striker speak to the media either before or after matches during his six-month spell in Gorgie, and it quickly became apparent when he was invited back north to promote the Scottish Cup fifth-round in February. Instead of talking up the product, Watt said Scottish football was “not for me” and that he didn’t see himself in the SPFL for “the next five or ten years”. “Everything” about English football was better.
• Another little snippet concerned his time at Hearts, where Watt insisted he wasn’t a flop. No, of course not, one goal in 17 games is a great record for a striker.
Maurice Johnston - King, spend or sell
MoJo had his say on Rangers’ bid to close the gap on Celtic. Continuing a long-running theme of ex-Rangers men suffering from post-2011 amnesia, Johnston thought the answer was to spend, spend, spend. Despite, by his own admission, not knowing much about King’s takeover of the club or the South African-based businessman’s finances, Johnston thought it was only right the club chairman put his hand in his own pocket to fund a league title bid. If not, well then he should sell the club, obviously.
Craig Brown - Youngsters must be worked hard
This came right out of the big book of ‘my generation was better than yours’ clichés. According to the former Scottish boss, young players are not being worked hard enough, they have too many distractions (damn that blasted GameStation), and are no longer required to do menial chores around the football ground. There’s definitely a valid point in there, but it’s lost in the “things were better in ma’ day” rhetoric that we’ve heard countless times before, and it doesn’t offer a solution to our problems.
Simon Donnelly - No Rangers players would get in Celtic team
A hot take though it definitely may be, the former Celtic striker is probably still right. Looking through both squads, there’s few arguments to be made for anyone from the Rangers squad to be picked in a select XI ahead of their Celtic counterparts. Clint Hill at central defence, maybe, seeing as Erik Sviatchenko’s performances have dipped since the new year and Dedryck Boyata can still give supporters heart palpitations on occasion.
Archie Knox - I’d rather be a dinosaur
Even at 69 years old, Archie Knox is a terrifying man. So this entry will try hard not to antagonise him, lest he turn up at Scotsman towers and demonstrate his disdain for laptops by threatening to stick this writer’s one in a rather unpleasant place. On a similar theme to Brown, who Knox assisted at Motherwell and Aberdeen, the former Rangers and Manchester United No.2 believes modern techniques, such as sports scientists, analysts, statisticians and masseurs, have are taking things too far. As he puts it, “you can’t sense a lack of confidence in a young player by his stats”. Again, you can see where he’s coming from, but it’s still indicative of the general distrust in Scottish football when it comes to embracing new ideas and technology.
And... hang on a second, there’s someone angrily banging at the door.