DCSIMG

Letters: Derby analysis fails to account for Hearts’ history

Picture: Ian Rutherford

Picture: Ian Rutherford

IT WAS curious to read Stuart Bathgate’s reference to Hibs’ recent Scottish Cup victory over Hearts as a “footnote in the history of the derby fixture”.

His sports editorial piece appeared to be reasonable, at first glance, but why was there no mention of HMFC’s past financial overspending (high wages, bonuses etc) while other SPL clubs, like HFC, were operating within their own limited budgets?

I would strongly debate that Hearts would not have won any Scottish football trophies in the past 15 years, had they not “taken the gamble” and “bought these trophies” by attracting better “mercenary players”! If Hibs had been operating on a “level playing field” then I’d gladly accept Bathgate’s superior pro-Hearts comments but this was never the case. And Hearts’ current demise is mere confirmation of how another over-ambitious Scottish football club exchanged short-term football success for financial meltdown – how ironic!

B JACKS

Craigleith Hill

Edinburgh

Easter Rd win by no means a ‘footnote’ in the context

I FELT there was an unnecessarily grudging tone to your writer Stuart Bathgate’s comments after Hibernian’s 1-0 win over Hearts last Sunday.

Factually, his article (“Easter Road faithful will savour moment, but victory likely to be footnote in history of fixture”) was 100 per cent correct, yet it completely ignored the emotional side of a derby win. Yes, a 1-0 Scottish Cup fourth round win can never come close to Hearts’ 5-1 cup final win in May and even the most zealous of Hibs supporters would be hard pushed to claim otherwise. However, Sunday’s victory – no matter how scrappy it was – will still be remembered for a long time by those who were in the home end. It was a first win in 13 derby games, a tiny measure of revenge for the drubbing Hibs received at Hampden, and also the first time Hibs have beaten Hearts in the Scottish Cup since 1979. Hardly a footnote in the fixture’s history, as Stuart Bathgate concluded. More a notable victory, I would suggest.

TM WILSON

Pinkiehill

No need for McGlynn to apologise for derby defeat

SO JOHN McGlynn feels it necessary to apologise to Hearts fans for the defeat by Hibs at Easter Road last Sunday. Why? He took his team to the home of their greatest rivals, whose recent form has them sitting seven places above them in the league and eight points ahead. A tight game went against them – so what’s to apologise for? McGlynn should be careful of setting a dangerous precedent for himself. After all, what would he say to Hearts fans if he took his team to play against a side at the bottom of the league and got beaten. Oh, come to think of it. . .

MIKE BRUCE

East Craigs Rigg

Edinburgh

Panathinaikos win record in error, as Rangers well know

YOUR football correspondent, Paul Hirst, was wrong in asserting that Panathinaikos “have never won in Britain”. On the 9th of December 2003, they beat Rangers by the margin of 3-1 at Ibrox in a Champions League group match.

BILL GREENOCK

Mount Annan Drive

Glasgow

Academy system is a must for future of Scottish rugby

I really enjoyed David Ferguson on the proposed academy system for young rugby players. All I can say is keep us updated and please continue to highlight the true need for a better development system than we have. As a lifelong Glasgow fan living down south for the last few years I just look in utter despair at how our precious (little) rugby talent gets developed.

The problem was highlighted a few years ago by Sir Ian McGeechan, when he stated that it was madness that Scotland was the only rugby playing nation who have no academy system in place, to which the SRU responded that Sir Ian had no idea what development programmes they had in place as he hadn’t worked for the SRU in years. But how right he was. What we are seeing now are the repercussions of ignoring the advice of people who have seen and lived in other rugby nations, and the reduction of pro teams to a mere two. The problem with the current (cheapo) development programme is that it simply does not give enough (in some cases any) game time to the developing players who are too good for premier club rugby. Take Sean Kennedy for example. He should be on the bench of a pro team every week, learning his trade, but he’s not because there are too many players fighting for a slot. This is because a) There are not enough pro teams b) The SRU has panicked and realised that they have a lack of players for the immediate future so have brought in overseas players to get them playing for three years and/or brought back players who have moved on like the Lamont brothers, Chris Cusiter etc.

For me the answer is simple. We should have four regional academies in Glasgow, Edinburgh, Aberdeen and the Borders. They should remain separate from the Premiership teams and we don’t want any of this “who you know” rubbish. These academies can play each other and academy and A (reserve) teams down south, as well as against our own pro teams. Make them competitive, get some outside input.

And the SRU need to sort out a third pro team asap. That’s my Christmas Wish.

STEPHEN MCKENDRICK

Daines

Carrington

How about getting the strip right for starters?

We hear all the time how the all-black strip inspires the “All Blacks”. Surely England will now continue to be all-white. May I suggest that for starters our management team take note of the following:

1) we permanently get back to our original strip of royal blue shirt and white shorts rather than some of the uninspiring outfits we have had to endure over the years?

2) when I was at school in the 1950s, Jim Greenwood, the great Scotland/Lions flanker was our coach and taught us “soft hands” – I’ll never forget the positive effect it had on our side in 1957/8 when we were probably the best school side in Scotland.

I believe Scotland have the talent: it’s just about putting it all together.

GRAHAM D BLACK

Templar Lane

Gullane

 

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