Aidan Smith

Aidan Smith: How many times do we want to see Morelos and McKenna tangle? A lot

What did we do for fun in the old days? We went to the game, we stood in the rain and watched the players kick lumps out of each other, and then we came home. There might have been highlights on TV that night but they’d be brief, eccentrically edited and with a very good chance that the coverage would miss the most eye-watering of all the skin grafts conducted without anaesthetic on the pitch. And if by some fluke the worst challenge had found its way into the excerpts, the commentator would refrain from drawing attention to it, or at least he’d cloak it in some heroic euphemism.

Scotland's Sam Johnson is brought down by Andrea Lovotti. Pic: SNS/Craig Williamson

Scotland analysis: A good start, but conviction required

In low winter sunshine, snow on the approaches and the perimeter track and with a tingling crispness in the air, Scotland could be forgiven for feeling claustrophobic rather than invigorated – as if they were stuck inside a TV studio where one of those infernal quiz shows had just begun.

Hugh McIlvanney

Aidan Smith: Why I have many reasons to thank Hugh McIlvanney

I have many reasons to thank Hugh McIlvanney. His brilliant sportswriting, most importantly, and then there are all the phrases I’ve pinched from him. I’m pretty sure it was McIlvanney who minted “Snatched defeat from the jaws of victory”, doubtless to describe some Scottish disaster or other. It’s turned up many times since in my witterings and those of others. We are all sons of Shuggie so come on, guys: now might be a good moment to own up to what you’ve stolen.

Terry Christie at home with his trademark duffle coat. Picture: Toby Williams

Interview: Terry Christie on juggling football management and school teaching

Terry Christie’s most recent football match as a fan, the Hearts-Livingston Scottish Cup tie last Saturday, left him and a pal £800 richer. “We won the prize draw,” says the retired manager who famously combined dugout duties with those of head teacher at one of the country’s toughest schools. Doubtless as a Hibernian fan in boyhood he was chuffed to be strolling out of Tynecastle with this tidy sum, so will good fortune smile on him again at Ochilview on Tuesday night?

'Spygate' brought memories of Robert Vaughn, left and David McCallum as Napoleon Solo and Ilya Kuryakin.  Photograph:  Moviestore/REX/Shutterstock.

Aidan Smith: Why Marcelo Bielsa should carry on spying

Football story of the week, maybe even the year already? If it merely concerned Argentine craziness I would be excited, but on top of that there’s the espionage element. A pity that Spygate can’t work prog-rock into the mix as well, but I shouldn’t be greedy.

Now 54 years of age, Dave Bowman is a scout at Dundee United. Picture: Sammy Turner/SNS

Interview: Dave Bowman on red mist, red cards and Jim McLean

Midway through my chat with Dave Bowman, a woman from the Tannadice staff approaches
with a greeting card. Someone is leaving and she wants one of the toughest-tackling players ever to wear the tangerine of Dundee United to sign it. Then, spotting my recorder, she apologises for interrupting the interview by letting slip a wee swearie word.

Dundee United
Andy Murray changed the attitude towards tennis in Britain.  Photograph: Scott Barbour/Getty Images

Aidan Smith: Andy Murray meant we no longer had to accept plucky loserdom

I must be careful here. Careful to not make this read like the man’s obituary. Andy Murray from the small, damp, cratered but elite tennis nation of Scotland isn’t dead, far from potted heid, and not yet even an ex- player. But the distinct and sorrowful and semi-tragic impression we have right now is that he has just zipped up his racket, heaved that holdall capable of housing a small electricity sub-station on to his back and magic-markered his last-ever “AM” on an oversized souvenir ball as the undisputed, all-comers Brigadoon men’s champion. And now we must all go to sleep for 100 years.

Andy Murray
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