The Lithuanian banker and one-time submariner also sacked manager George Burley, who took them to the top of the league, paid the players enormous bonuses, claimed the Scottish game was run by the mafia and laid on bananas and peanuts for media ‘monkeys’.
Meanwhile, Nicola Sturgeon set out her own five-year plan for Scottish independence when interviewed recently on US television. The First Minister used her appearance on CNN to declare her belief that the majority of Scots would back a Yes vote in a possible Indyref2 within the next five years.
To be fair, Sturgeon had been asked if she believed that Scotland would be applying to the EU as an independent nation in the next three to five years but she couldn’t help biting, before proceeding to embellish the question. “I’m not going to put a particular timescale on it right now but in the not too distant future, I think Scotland will be an independent country looking to join the EU and looking to take a seat the United Nations”, she declared.
Cue Zadok the Priest-based Champions League anthem.
There’s also the tricky question of Scotland’s transition to independent membership of the EU in the event of a Yes victory. Something no one has been able to give a clear answer on for the last six years as it takes on elephant in the room-like status. I reckon the period from calling Indyref2 to leaving the UK and negotiating to join the EU could take between five and 10 years, by which time Nicola will be lying on a beach in Portugal poring over her well-thumbed copy of Sunset Song.
The rest of us will be even more knackered than we are now, ready to switch off from politics altogether as the gap between rich and poor widens even more, life expectancy continues to stall and the NHS in Scotland grinds to a halt.
A look back at the 2013 Scotland’s Future white paper, where it states that transition to the EU could be completed in 18 months, seems rather quaint in an olde-worlde pre-Brexit era. I’m not comparing Sturgeon’s quotes with Vlad’s claims – well not entirely – but it certainly shines a light on the global trend for making outlandish political claims. This came to a head in the election of Donald Trumpet, but may have had its roots in Scotland. No doubt the Scottish referendum, followed by the EU referendum and the Trump election combined with the rise in populism across Europe has shaped political thinking where carefully constructed soundbites are used as precision missiles to target voters.
The SNP were at the vanguard of this, encouraging fanatical elements in their support to scream ‘Project Fear’ anytime someone dared question their fatally-flawed economic case for independence. That behaviour won’t get them over the line if there’s an Indyref sequel.
Sturgeon is desperately trying to keep her core support onside with vague three to five year timelines, while trying to appeal to Remainers who voted No to Scottish independence first time around, but may be flirting with change. The question is whether this will be enough to placate the Twitter roasters and folk who hang Saltires and Catalonia flags out of the windows of their souped-up Subarus.
The Tories meanwhile decided to get their own whopper in when Jackson Carlaw claimed that Ruth Davidson is “likely” to be Scotland’s next First Minister. I can just imagine Ruth spluttering down the phone – “He said what? Get him to phone me right away” – as she changes her baby’s nappies.
I will say this for the Tories they’ve got the best names. Jackson Carlaw, Murdo Fraser, and I remember they once had a spin doctor called Ramsay Jones CBE. I don’t know what happened to Ramsay Jones CBE, perhaps Jackson shot him in a duel on the Meadows for talking about Surname as a First Name Club. First rule and all that.
Anyway I heard Jackson spent the weekend hanging around car parks in protest at the SNP, sorry I meant Scottish Greens, car park tax. The Greens managed to hold onto this flagship policy for about as long as it takes a meter in the centre of Edinburgh to charge you eight quid for parking – about two hours tops.
No doubt this was Jackson’s punishment for his earlier gibberish. Jackson Carpark if you prefer. However, do not despair – among all this Trump and Putinesque madness there is a lone voice of reason. Step forward Scottish Liberal Democrat leader, that Nice Man Willie Rennie.
Nice Man Willie (NMW), like Charles Kennedy before him, is a much-needed voice of reason in these troubled times. NMW has captured the zeitgeist by sussing that Scots want to “move on” from all this constitutional upheaval and get back to discussing what really matters over a nice cup of tea and a caramel wafer.
By playing the long game and not saying anything daft, NMW is offering tired Scots a default voting option for those seeking a more moderate progressive approach. There is definitely a silent majority, those without Twitter accounts, perhaps looking for a return to some kind of normality, whatever that may be. The public aren’t that daft, although it’s debatable after Brexit, so the days of politicians saying one thing but sending not so coded messages to their real target audience may soon be over.
Hearts lost 2-1 to Motherwell on Sunday and currently sit 5th in the Scottish Premiership table. To date they haven’t won the UEFA Champions League.