When a theme develops in the Scottish media, the cynic in me is alive to the possibility of the unseen hand of PR. The current ‘clamour’ for Alex McLeish to be the new Scotland first team coach must come from those who say their bedtime prayers facing the Copland Road. I assume that they are The People who look back nostalgically to Helicopter Sunday as Rangers cheated their way to title wins with players that but for systemic tax evasion they could not have afforded. To these individuals the fact that McLeish also had his nose in the EBT trough, to the tune of £1.7m, is not a showstopper.
Suddenly Alex McLeish is ‘open‘ to the Scotland position. Is there a causal link between McLeish’s new found openness and an Advance Payment Notice arriving by registered post from HMRC? It is my contention that Regan and his cabal of gutless frauds want Mackay to be appointed permanently. Mackay is cheap and a ‘yes‘ man. Mackay also has a relationship with Celtic as a former player in the period 1993-1998.
The Scotland job is not a difficult gig if you forge a relationship with Brendan Rodgers. If one were to choose Gordon in goal; Tierney and Ralston at full back; with captain Scott Brown in a holding midfield role, partnered with Stuart Armstrong; McGregor and Forrest on the flanks; and Griffiths up front all one needs to add are two centre backs and a number ten. I realise that Ralston at 18 might be considered a little green at this level by the Lee Wallace apologists who wanted Tierney to wait his turn. However the Celtic left back has developed to the point where Wallace would not be fit to lace his boots. Mark my words: Tierney will be a future captain of both Celtic and Scotland. Scott Brown, the best player in Scottish football bar none, would pass his armband to Tierney with pleasure when the time is right.
The Celtic players are being blooded in the crucible of The Champions League. Lining up to face Neymar and the sublime Cavani was a learning experience. Lining up tonight against FC Hollywood in Munich, lining up against a squad valued at north of £525m, will be learning in the raw. Any optimism from the Anderlecht result should be tempered when considering a forward line containing Müller, Robben and Lewandowski. Celtic will not go toe-to-toe with Bayern as this would be suicide. The best that they can hope for is that Robben has a quiet night and that two of the finest predators in world football have their supply lines blocked. The Celtic defence is in for a torrid time.
I digress. Birmingham City with Alex McLeish in the dugout were relegated twice. After the ignominy of this double, he walked three miles down the road to Aston Villa and overnight became the biggest football pariah in The Black Country. Having only narrowly avoided relegation in the 2011–12 Premier League season, his contract was terminated by Villa at the end of his first season. McLeish was then appointed manager of Championship club Nottingham Forest in December 2012, but left after 40 days by mutual consent. He managed Belgian Pro League club Genk in the 2014–15 season, and Zamalek of the Egyptian Premier League in 2016.
In the absence of EBT’s, McLeish’s record is nothing to write home about.
One could be forgiven for thinking that Stewart Regan has briefed Darryl Broadfoot (always the bridesmaid, never the bride, but not one to Mone about it) at Frame to introduce the spectre of McLeish to improve the prospects of their preferred candidate, Mackay.
On this occasion the unseen hand of Slim Shady Traynor is nowhere to be seen. In a further sign of the weakening of King’s position in the blue boardroom, Lite are currently recruiting a full-time PR professional. Traynor will soon find himself to be redundant. Level 5 PR’s accounts were published yesterday. With an annual turnover that is shy of £632,000, and £316,000 or less on its balance sheet, this micro-entity is heading for choppy waters. Is Traynor just keeping the seat warm for his replacement? If the Lite account is not renewed, Traynor will be chapping over a game of dominoes at his favourite ex-serviceman’s club in Airdrie. One can but hope that he will be drinking bitter.
In other media news, Grant Russell is serving his notice at STV. He will live long in the memory of those who questioned his integrity apropos Andrea Traverso’s assertion that Rangers Lite are a new club. Grant claimed that his communiqué from UEFA did not hole the good ship Continuation Jeopardy under the waterline. As he refused to publish his letter, it smacked of Lite-facing editorial control.
In the moribund world of the SMSM where cub scouts like Chris ( The King is Back) Jack have a voice, Russell was a breath of fresh air. I wish him well.