The amount of times Scotland and Israel have met recently could re-write Billy Connolly’s old Partick Thistle sketch. Rather than believing the Jags’ name to be ‘Partick Thistle nil’ Saturday’s opposition are fast becoming known as ‘Israel again?’ in a contemporary version of the comedy great’s tale.
If Scotland and Israel have closed combining to conclude (we can but hope) a long-running saga that's beginning to rival the Fast and the Furious series, the appropriately named Tyson Fury completes his trilogy against Deontay Wilder on BT Sport’s box office channel a few hours later.
Wilder is an intense fighter and Fury always puts on a show in and outside the ring so there’s value for money to be found on a weekend where international football takes over elsewhere. Yes, like the Anthony Joshua fight last month you’ll need to pay extra on top of the subscription to see this repeat - that’s what happens when you are literally box office entertainment – though there’s a bit less riding on it now after AJ’s defeat marked down a potential £200m blockbuster into a £200 bargain-bin battle.
Describing Steve Clarke’s national team as box-office might be stretching it a bit but it’s testament to their current popularity that the ticket office will be closed with Hampden already a sell-out to see ‘Israel again’ within the basic Sky Sports subscription.
Tyson Fury speaks at the press conference with Deontay Wilder . (Photo by Meg Oliphant/Getty Images)
That’s the only place left to go for the rest of us without a ticket and joining Eilidh Barbour, James McFadden and friends in the Sky Sports studio for a pivotal game in the group will be drier, at least. Games between the pair haven’t been classics so there is also opportunity to flick between the channels with plenty of options on the other side at the same time, or when it feels like you’ve seen it all before.
The other group game affecting Scotland – Moldova v Denmark – is on at the same time, as is Switzerland v Northern Ireland and Andorra v England on terrestrial TV. If you can’t wait for the weekend though there’s also the climax of the UEFA Nation’s League with Spain facing Italy in the first semi-final on Sky Sports Football on Wednesday night.
Scotland’s Caroline Weir will be in action for Manchester City against rivals Manchester United – fresh from thumping Scott Booth’s Birmingham City – on Saturday lunchtime too.
Domestic football might be off but rugby continues and the penultimate weekend of the Super6 will have two games broadcast. Friday night’s Southern Knights v Stirling County match is worth catching on BBC iPlayer and third host first on Sunday as Watsonians play Ayrshire Bulls on Freesports.
Deontay Wilder faces Tyson Fury on BT Sport box office. (Photo by Meg Oliphant/Getty Images)
UEFA Nations League: The European champions Italy are first up in the semi-finals of the UEFA Nations League, facing former champions Spain. The winner of will face either Belgium or France. Kick-off for Wednesday and Thursday’s semi-finals, and Sunday’s final is 7.45pm on Sky Sports Football (Sky ch.403 / Virgin 503).
Boxing: The WBC world heavywight title goes on the line in the third match between Deontay Wilder and the defending champion Tyson Fury – dubbed ‘Once and for All’. Fury had been hoping to defend his title and set up an all-British unification bout with Anthony Joshua but the Watford boxer’s titles were lost to Oleksandr Usyk last month. Fury's bid to retain some heavyweight titles in Britain begins on BT Sports Box Office (Sky ch. 490 / Virgin on demand) at 0.00am.
World Cup qualifiers: Scotland face Israel – again – on Saturday with Nir Bitton and co. due at Hampden for a World Cup qualifier. The match, like all Scotland World Cup qualifiers, will be shown on Sky Sports from 4pm on the Football channel (Sky 403/ Virgin 503) with Eilidh Barbour and James McFadden. Highlights will also be available on BBC iPlayer and on BBC One Scotland on Saturday night at 10.35pm.There are plenty of other WCQ options across the weekend with Czech Republic v Wales on Friday night and Andorra v England on ITV at 7pm on Saturday.
FOSROC Super6: The penultimate weekend of the domestic rugby competition in Scotland will have two of three weekend fixtures shown live. Southern Knights, the recently deposed league leaders host Stirling County live on iPlayer on Friday night at 7.30pm. The new leaders, Ayrshire Bulls are at Watsonians on Sunday afternoon, live on Freesports (Sky ch.422 / Virgin 553) at 1pm.
Manchester derby: There’s a Scottish accent on the Manchester derby in the Women’s Premier League with Jen Beattie, Claire Emslie and Caroline Weir lining up in City’s blue. They’re on BBC1 at 1.15pm on Saturday against Lancashire rivals United.SWPL highlights will also be on BBC Scotland (Sky ch.115 / Virgin 108) as usual on Monday evening at 7pm.
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