Aidan Smith

John Martin, now 61 and still living in Prestonpans, helps coach local youth team Musselburgh Windsor and works in Tesco. Picture: Alistair Linford

Interview: Airdrie’s madcap keeper John Martin on kissing royalty at Hampden, Robert Duvall, the miners’ strike and showering with Justin Fashanu

Remember when Royal “incidents” were something to laugh about rather than threaten the end of civilisation as we know it? I am in wet and windy Prestonpans, East Lothian, seeking out the fellow who once famously broke protocol, ignored politesse and thumbed his nose at deference in the presence of a duchess, but all these harled-wall streets look pretty much the same. Then I walk up another paved path and notice the inscription on the mat: “Welcome to the Madhouse!” it says. Yes, this must be the place.

Alfredo Morelos gestures to fans as he is sent off during the latest Old Firm clash with Celtic.  Photograph: Craig Williamson/SNS

Aidan Smith: Nothing in an Old Firm game is too small to be forensically analysed

We were told our game was rubbish. We were told the league was boring, the least competitive in world football. But look at the Scottish Premiership now: Rangers and Celtic neck-and-neck and at each other’s throats, to the extent that when Alfredo Morelos draws a finger across his gullet it causes an international incident. Morelos had to flee back to Colombia and Rangers were forced to put out a statement stressing that their striker, nicknamed El Gruffalo, meant nothing sinister by the gesture which in his own land apparently signifies the end of something, in this case last Sunday’s Old Firm game. I for one get this: when I was watching the Netflix drama Narcos, wading through the relentlessly bloody saga of Colombian cocaine kingpin Pablo Escobar where enemies and even his own men were routinely turned into sieves then flung into shallow graves or wood-choppers, I often “did a Morelos” to indicate I could take no more and needed to turn in for the night with a mug of warm Ovaltine.

Opinion 8
Raith Rovers manager John McGlynn is happy with his team's two-point lead in the League One title race. Picture: Ian Rutherford

Interview: John McGlynn on how pushy parents prepared him for Vladimir Romanov’s regime, and keeping spirits up during dark days at Hearts

Good friends who follow rival teams tend to go all queasy when the story of the Raith Rovers shipwrecking is told for the umpteenth time. No fans like the sworn enemies getting one over on them in any shape or form, and the 1923 calamity off the coast of north-west Spain grabs almost the entire quota of comedy and romance allocated to the Fife corner of the fitba 
firmament. But it should be said: the current manager at Stark’s Park sounds like the ideal man for such a crisis.

Andy Murray fights back against Stanislas Wawrinka to win the European Open in Antwerp in Ocotber. Picture by John Thys /AFP via Getty Images.

Sports review of 2019: Andy Murray resurfaces with a trophy

Andy Murray began 2019 thinking it would be the end. He’d lost his battle with his own body – the hip that couldn’t be made good again had won – so down in Melbourne he poured honey on his breakfast cereal, watched The Inbetweeners on his laptop and got ready for what seemed certain to be his last-ever competitive tournament.

Blair Kinghorn has made 17 appearances for Scotland. Picture: Ross Parker/SNS

Interview: Blair Kinghorn on Stuart Hogg, the World Cup, hat-trick heroics and why he quit Hearts to play rugby

On Election Day I am with a man called Blair, chatting over coffee close to Fettes College. This is not Tony Blair, the former Prime Minister, who often spoke of feeling the hand of history on his shoulders but as a Fettesian did not want anyone trampling on them and couldn’t be persuaded to play rugby. Blair Kinghorn, though, is thrilled to be a Scotland internationalist, 17 caps so far and looking to kick on in 2020, one of a clutch of talented young bucks who, post-Japan, are trying to make us feel better about the country’s oval-ball prospects.

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