Aidan Smith: ‘Yes, the Scotland fans booed Farrell, an old Scotland player among them’

He glowered at the ball like a B-movie baddie would his cowering rival, like a sadistic headmaster from equally long ago would the classroom irritant.

Owen Farrells extended kicking routine elicited boos from more than just rude fans
Owen Farrells extended kicking routine elicited boos from more than just rude fans

He sneered at it as if to say: “I’m going to knock you to kingdom come.” Wait, though, there was something else: “But I’m not going to do it yet.”

Yes, it’s Owen Farrell and his wacky, contemplative anti-speed of life kicking routine, and the controversy about all those lost Murrayfield seconds we’ll never get back continues to rumble.

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David Johnston, the 1984 Grand Slam hero, got in touch to raise a few pertinent questions, and also to admit that he booed the England captain over the length of time he took readying himself for shots at goal.

After I mentioned how Peter Brown used to whack ’em between the sticks with minimum faffing and fuss, Johnston wrote: “Never mind Broon, what about Adam Hastings? He fired one over in front of us in no time at all.”

The jeering of Farrell during last Saturday’s storm-battered Calcutta Cup clash was condemned by England head coach Eddie Jones but Johnston questioned the player’s indulgences.

“When do you start the clock? When Farrell arrives at the spot? Can he have a wee wander and a chat with team-mates on the way? High-fiving all his forwards for winning a scrum penalty or whatever?

“Or when the kicking tee arrives? Or when the ponderous water-boy hands him his bottle for rehydration? Or when he finally – finally – has everything lined up to his complete satisfaction?”

Then came the confession that Johnston – a zippy fellow throughout his career, rugby and football – joined in the catcalls: “Our family were booing because of the time taken, and because the conditions determined that there would be precious little rugby to watch – and we certainly didn’t want to watch the clock being wound down by pedants.”