Archive for March, 2011
Every blog I seem to write about the old firm, it’s not actually about their football but either the government, the SFA or violence.
So, I want to change that…but unfortunately I can’t, as plans to have the last old firm game of the season on a bank holiday are being discussed.
If anyone doesn’t remember the last time that happened, here you go..
I think you will all agree that these scenes from the fans were unacceptable and no-one wants to see this again, but what fuelled this chaos was the fact it was a title decider. It seems like this year the title could go down to the last old firm, which could spell trouble. Celtic and Rangers are evenly matched at the moment, making the scheduling for this game really difficult, as the police want to avoid any trouble. Especially after the Scottish Cup clash earlier this month.
The dates that are being discussed are Friday April 22 and Monday May 2. In addition, the game will be a lunchtime kick-off. Presumably this is to discourage all fans from drinking
Just a moment, is this still Scotland we are talking about…
However, in my opinion, no matter when and where an old firm game will take place, there will always be some trouble. Whether it’s a bad refereeing decision to spark the furore or a on-pitch flare up, it will be the same as most games that have gone before it – steeped in controversy.
If this fixture is in any way similar to that in May 1999, the government had better set the date for the summit just now…
All joking aside, I think that Friday April 22 will be the best date to hold the match, meaning that the old firm will be the first fixture of the split. It looks as if the title will still be up for grabs by then, so it’s the best solution for me.
Glasgow-born Laird held his nerve in the last few holes, after a terrible start. He was three over at the turn and double bogeyed 11. Tough conditions and tricky pin positions caused so many problems for the whole field, which made for a thrilling last few holes.
It went to the last where Laird needed a par to win, after American Steve Marino, looking for his first tour win, blew it in the last 3 holes. He needed 2 putts from 86ft to win it, and done it with confidence.
It’s very rare you would see an over par final round win you a competition but thankfully for Laird, it did.
The Scot moved over to America as a teen to follow his dream and learn his trade, and has played on the PGA Tour for a couple of years now. He done brilliantly and I was really pleased to see a Scot do so well over in America.
It really was a fantastic final day, one I watched myself and thoroughly enjoyed.
With very few Scots competing these days, it seems a long way away from the days of Sandy Lyle and Colin Montgomery when they were in their prime.
However, hopefully we are witnessing some sort of come-back with Laird flying the flag for Scotland. I have watched him a few times over the past year and has improved a lot, adding much-needed confidence to his game.
But, to give him his due, he held his nerve to complete a magnificent win. In fact, a double winning weekend for the Scots as Paul Lawrie won the Andalucia Open, to make it a great weekend for the Scots.
Well done to the Scottish boys and lets hope they continue to do us proud!
Paul Lawrie rolled back the years today as he won the Open de Andalucia by one shot, over Swede Johan Edfors.
The Scot finished on 12 under par, with Edfors 11 under and Chile’s Felipe Aguilar one shot back on 10 under.
Having led overnight, I was hoping Lawrie could hold his nerve. He did just that, but after a terrible start. He bogeyed three of his first five holes, having only dropped one shot all week.
But, he managed to get back on track and birdied the 10th, 11th, 12th and 14th to seal his first victory in 9 years. That came in 2002, when he won the Welsh Open at Celtic Manor. Of course, he also won the British Open at Carnoustie in 1999.
The Aberdonian told Sky Sports : “It’s nice, it’s been a long time, nine years, and I’ve had a few second places in there too…I played lovely and the putter behaved better. I got on a nice run at the right time.”
Here’s the rest of that interview….
It was a great day for golf as the sun shone non-stop, but high winds made it tricky for the players. However it added to the enjoyment.
In fact, at one point, 6 players were separated by just one shot!
It was good to see Lawrie win after a 9-year drought and to see a Scot lift a trophy again. It has been a while since that last happened and hopefully this paves the way for other Scots.
In fact, Scottish born Martin Laird leads the Arnold Palmer Invitational in America as I write.
I hope I haven’t jinxed it now…
So, a good little spell for Scottish golfers and long may it continue!
Having been knocked out the Indian Wells tournament to a qualifier a week previous , Andy Murray has continued his poor form with yet another defeat. He was beaten by an American qualifier Alex Bogomolov Jnr in straight sets 6-1 7-5 in the first round of the Miami Masters.
This is now the third straight game in which the Scot has failed to even win a set!
Murray was broken 7 times by Bogomolov and only managed 3 aces, which is usually his strongest asset.
Last week, he lost to qualifier Donald Young. This has seen Murray lose confidence and stumble at the first hurdle of competitions in the last 2 weeks.
The Scot, who is yet to win a major tournament in his career, has come so close in recent years. In fact, he has lost the last two Australian Open finals to Roger Federer and more recently to Novak Djorkavic. Just like last year, Murray has been in poor form since his Australian Open defeat.
So, does Murray have the mental toughness to win a major? Going by recent years, the answer would have to be no. For now…
Being defeated players ranked ouside the top 100 in the world will no doubt be a shock to the system but he will have to pick himself up quickly. That’s how he’ll learn.
However, he certainly has the class to be a huge success, it’s just a matter of winning the first one. Once he breaks his voodoo, it will become easier. (well, easy for me to say)
It must be hard to carry the country’s expectation on your shoulders, but that’s part and parcel of being a professional athlete. So, here’s hoping Andy’s current form goes out the window soon, paving the way for a major win.
Wimbledon would be a good place to start…
3 reds, 11 yellows, countless arrests and a government inquiry. Yes, it was that match that sparked mayhem which led to the police and First Minister to hold a summit meeting.
So, this League Cup Final between Celtic and Rangers was eagerly awaited by all, but for the wrong reasons.
Having been spoken to by Strathclyde police before the match, both Celtic and Rangers cooperated and competed in a fantastic final, which should be talked about for its footballing reasons only.
Walter Smith’s side won the match 2-1 after extra-time, lifting the first cup of the season.
Despite there being a red card for a professional foul, this was a rather tame affair compared to the last match but was enjoyed just as much. The football on show was good, especially in the first half. Both teams were attacking, creating an end-to-end match, providing a great spectacle for all.
However, I would like to question if this match will be talked about as much as the last one. The government was quick to criticise the scenes of a few weeks ago. A summit was then called, which seen the press cover the story for a few weeks leaving a dark cloud over Scottish football.
Here’s a video to give you a quick reminder of the summit outcome…
In my opinion, the fall-out from the last old firm game was an over-reaction which portrayed Scottish football in a bad light. So, hopefully this final showed that the event s that took place a few weeks ago were a one-off.
But will the teams and fans be praised? As of yet, no. The government are always quick to blame, but this final was played in a good spirit and should be noticed by all as a great spectacle.
In recent seasons, it has been these two countries battling it out to avoid last place. So, it gives something for the fans to shout about….I suppose.
Scotland were looking to stop their current losing streak, to avoid their first whitewash of the competition since 2004, in front of just over 42,000 fans. It didn’t look good half way through, though. Italy went in 8-6 leaders after an Andrea Masi try in the early stages but the much-improved Scots hit back with second half tries from Nick De Luca and Nikki Walker. Some expert kicking from Chris Paterson sealed the win for Andy Robinson’s side.
Interestingly, it was Scotland s first tries in 8 games at Murrayfield. This unwanted record stretched back to November 2009! Easy to see why the team have been lacking confidence lately, and slumping to defeat after defeat.
However, this was a much improved performance which pleased the fans and manager alike.
Robinson told the BBC…
“I’m delighted with the composure that’s been shown by the squad and the attitude that’s been there in every training session.”
He added: “I’ve been seeing improvements throughout the championship….I thought our shape was good in attack and defence”
Elsewhere, despite losing 24-8 to Ireland, fierce rivals England still picked up the trophy to end an impressive campaign.
So, overall a very disappointing 6 Nations for the Scots, as usual. It seems this is what they play for these days – to avoid the wooden spoon. To give them some credit, they have done that!
All joking aside, this game against Italy showed that there are some up and coming stars in the Scotland squad. Players such as Ruraidh Jackson and Richie Gray, who got the man-of-the-match award, excelled in this game. And with Andy Robinson signing a contract extension until 2015, lets hope he can take the on to bigger and better things.
Will Scotland start to compete for trophies now? We can only hope..
Scotland’s very own Ricky Burns retained his WBO super-featherweight title after defeating Ghanaian Joseph Laryea in Glasgow, with a technical stoppage. Burns won it in the 7th round when Laryea had to concede due to a hand injury.
It proved to be a tricky fight for Burns, as Laryea dominated the early stages and in the 4th round landed the better of the punches, frustrating the Scot. However, Burns stuck in and began to show why he’s champion and landed a few jabs of his own, before the match was cut short because of Laryea’s injury, thought to be a broken knuckle.
Burns was strong favourite before the match and was pleased with his performance on the night. He told sky sports: “I was enjoying the fight although I knew he was going to be difficult and awkward.”
“I noticed he was getting uncomfortable at the end there and I’m pleased with my performance. Things just keep better for me and I’m starting to get used to all the attention.”
So, Burns is doing a great job of representing Scotland and continues to improve with every fight. As he says, he is getting used to all the media attention, so lets hope he can keep grounded and continue to win championships.
There has already been talk of Ricky Burns’ next fight. It has been touted it will be a unification match with the South African Mzonke Fana, who currently holds the IBF championship. This looks to be his last fight at this division, before moving up to lightweight.
Burn’s is hoping that the fight will be held at the Broomfield stadium in his home town Airdrie. He told the Daily Record: “Airdrie stadium would be ideal. Its’ only five minutes from my house and if we could get that packed out of 14 or 15 thousand it would be perfect.”
Having not watched boxing a lot, I thoroughly enjoyed seeing a fellow Scot do so well on the big stage, flying the flag for the country. And with it going well so far, hers hoping he can keep it up and give us all something to be proud of.