Welcome to Issue 18
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Beauty in Belgrade
By Daniel Gray
Tidings of comfort and joy
The right manager, the right players, the right mentality. Steve Clarke’s men did not just end 22 years of longing, they raised hopes of proper showings at Wembley and Hampden in the summer.
By Hugh MacDonald
Why Canada could hold the key to our comeback
How can Scottish clubs and the national side ever hope to progress under the rigid and skewed set-up of our top league? Let’s put aside our pride and look across the Atlantic.
By Iain McMenemy
Football must be foundation stone as we rebuild
Society and government need to tap into clubs’ unique role in the community to help ensure Scotland transforms the pain of Covid into a better future.
By Andrew Wilson
Highs and lows of a Scots-Italian folk hero
Rolando Ugolini’s family endured ‘enemy alien’ status in the war but the acrobatic goalie went on to play for Celtic and star for Middlesbrough.
By Daniel Gray
Only one shade of blue fits this Italoscozzese
I was born and raised in Scotland of Italian descent. So what happens when the countries clash on the pitch? There has never been a scintilla of doubt.
By Giancarlo Rinaldi
Writers fail to script glory in Tuscan ‘Scotland’
A motley collection of poets, novelists and playwrights soaked up the Caledonian surrealism of Barga but victory over their Italian counterparts was only ever going to be a fantasy.
By Thomas Clark
From Hampden glory to Neapolitan despair
Scotland’s famous win over Italy in the 1966 World Cup qualifiers raised hopes cruelly for the away fixture. The clashes were also a fascinating tactical education for Jock Stein.
By John Irving
Dazzling displays, drama and La Dolce Vita
Scotland legend Denis Law left his mark on Italian football during a brief, incident-packed spell with Torino.
By Alasdair Mackenzie
When young Scots joined the Carnevale
Almost 50 years ago fledgling stars from Scotland’s biggest clubs got their first taste of a famous tournament in Tuscany.
By Simone Pierotti
How Hibs lost their mystique in Brazil
In 1953 Hibs arrived in Rio to much fanfare and with a reputation as one of the best teams in Europe. After three-high scoring games at the Maracanã, Brazil would never hold Scottish football in the same regard again. By Andrew Downie
Celtic’s five-week jaunt around North America in 1966 was peppered with japes, celebrities, visits to Disneyland and Hollywood and not a lot of training. In fact it was a trip that was meticulously planned to the last detail by Jock Stein as a way to forge the team spirit that carried them to Lisbon.
By Mark Poole
Murdoch’s awesome swansong at Ayresome
Middlesbrough fans were sceptical when the ageing and overweight Lisbon Lion arrived in 1973. But he won them over at once, playing through the pain and bossing the midfield to ensure promotion.
By Harry Pearson
Postie’s treasured late delivery
Gareth Wardlaw had to wait years to step up from amateur football. When he eventually did so, Ayr United were among the many beneficiaries.
By Mike Wilson
Driver takes the road less travelled
Andy Driver sealed a place in Hearts folklore despite almost swapping Tynecastle for the English Premier League. Having retired aged 30 following spells in the USA and Holland, the winger has no regrets.
By Sean Cole
Getting by on glimpses
Photo essay. Traces of the game we love remain visible in our parks, on our walls and bus shelters. They trigger our memories and console us with their deep-rootedness.
Words by Daniel Gray. Photographs by Alan McCredie.
A fan once again, back in Dens dreamland
Now that I don’t have to cover football any more, I can embrace life properly as a supporter. And that means revisiting in detail my memories of Dundee’s 1962 title win and the extraordinary European nights that followed, Gilzean and all.
By Patrick Barclay
Robbed of the rites of passage
Young players have been making their first-team debuts in stadiums devoid of fans and celebrations. Away from the pitch, many have struggled with motivation or faced loneliness. Like everyone, they are having to dig deep.
By Dani Garavelli
How to stop the conveyor belt to mediocrity
Scotland may still produce the odd top-class player but only a cultural shift and a bolder approach to coaching will truly raise our game.
By Greg Gordon
Tough times demand clubs dare to be different
With or without Covid, professional football cannot afford to rely so heavily on matchday revenue. Scottish clubs would do well to look at some pioneers, including Tranmere Rovers and Germany’s St Pauli.
By Paul Grech
Work ethic still vital as Uncle Billy looks after his loans
Graft and dedication were behind Billy Kirkwood’s success as a player. Today he instils the same qualities in his brood of Rangers loanees.
By Heather McKinlay
The Blair switch project
Compiling fixture lists for the past 22 years seems a thankless task. Now the SPFL’s company secretary is preparing his successor for the role – and all the madness that comes with it.
By Richard Winton
Clubs count extreme cost of seats at top table
A misguided demand to increase capacity has left Scottish towns with too many unsightly stadiums. The age of SPL arrogance may have abated but there are still lessons to be learnt.
By Graham Ruthven
Shameful silence on our lack of non-white managers
My attempt to fathom why so few BAME bosses and coaches find work in Scotland drew blanks from almost every club.
By Christopher Sweeney
When fans took to the field of dreams
Football and wider society certainly had their problems in the 1980s but the Scottish Supporters’ Football League fostered kinship on the pitch – and in the pub – for three decades.
By Colin McPherson
They come fae near Lochgelly
Forget the modern banter era, Scottish football’s weirdest and funniest moment happened a quarter of a century ago in Fife.
By Scott Fleming
Our hearts are in the Highlands
When a Norwich supporter and a Fulham follower became honorary Inverness Caley Thistle fans for the day, they were treated to one of the most extraordinary semi-finals Scottish football has ever seen.
By Ffion Thomas
Away from home
Tied To My Club has tried to give fans their voice back at this desperate time of withdrawal.
By Stephen Watt and Jim Mackintosh
Memories still raw 50 years on
The crush that killed 66 supporters, many of them teenagers, at a Rangers-Celtic match in 1971 is seared into Scottish history. For the survivors and bereaved, the pain lives on.
By Maurice Smith
In a short-lived league of their own
An expansionist move by six city clubs in 1912 ended after only a month. The behaviour of some of its protagonists foreshadowed the messy end to the 2019/20 season.
By Michael Gallagher
Scots and Leeds United: a chemistry born in heaven
From Bremner to Cooper via the Grays, Lorimer, Strachan, McAllister and the rest, what is it about this country and that club that keeps bringing out the best in each other?
By Mark Holmes
How Ancell Babes taught big names a thing or two
Motherwell’s scintillating team of the late 1950s and early 1960s claimed some memorable scalps. But their manager was more intent on turning on the style than winning trophies.
By Jack Davidson
Nothing to write home about …
Celtic’s season spent as lodgers at Hampden was a largely disappointing one, but it did help sow the seeds of the club’s recovery.
By Paul Murphy
Team GB and the heebie-jeebies
Scotland has long held misgivings over joint Olympic football but the Caledonian contribution has been big, from the infamous Berlin Games to Rome 1960.
By Steve Menary
Just another Saturday
The pause in football left one Partick Thistle fan with the time to movingly reflect on what football means to her and her father.
By Orla Bell
Fantastic fields and where to find them
A young fan takes a memorable journey with his father.
By Calum Lewis
What is football?
A poem by Grace Lawther
Classic tournaments of bygone days
The foaming waterway of Scottish football is littered with the detritus of forgotten competitions: the Dryborough and Tennents’ Sixes to name but a brace that bob up and down in the chip-papered waters of the imagination. But there were others…
By Duncan McCoshan
When Gazza’s genius broke brave Hearts
Rangers’ midfield maverick proved the difference in a thrilling cup final, but the Tynecastle side’s stirring fightback laid the foundations for ending their long trophy drought just a season later.
By Paul Macdonald
Six of the best strips: Dundee
The Dens Park side have worn some stunners down the years, from one manager’s vanity project to the title-winning shirt of 1962.
By John Devlin
From Pitch to Parapet by Victoria McNulty
Accept all cookies by Kevin Graham