It’s almost summer. Hot weather (supposedly).
So of course time for another Scottish football disaster. On this occasion, a 5-1 thrashing in steamy Florida at the hands of the erstwhile minnows, the USA.
You see, Scottish footballers don’t do hot weather. Maybe it’s a national characteristic.
Personally, I keep well away from the sun. When, for some reason, I come into contact with its rays, I turn beetroot red. Then I bleed. No intermediate stages.
No soft shades of brown or an interesting Mediterranean look. No, with me it’s beetroot red. Then blood.
Scottish footballers’ problems with the sun have lasted at least as long as my life. In the 1954 World Cup finals in Switzerland, Scotland lost 0-7 to Uruguay on a blisteringly hot day.
Tommy Docherty reckoned the Scots were well-beaten even before the game started. He joked that the Uruguayan national anthem was so long the Scottish players were all suffering from heat stroke by the end of it.
Willie Cunningham, the Scottish right back, was given an especially torrid time by the Uruguayan left winger. Afterwards, it was said that Willie was the only full-back in the world with a sunburnt tongue!
And so it has gone on ever since – one sun-cursed disaster after another. Paraguay in 1958, Peru and Iran in 1978, Costa Rica in 1990, Morocco in 1998.
We couldn’t beat Uruguay in 1986 even though they played almost the whole game with 10 men. It didn’t matter. They already had an extra man against us – the sun!
It’s not just the national team’s problem. Unfortunately, the qualifying rounds for the European club competitions all now start in August. It’s just too hot for us then.
Think of how many recent club disasters have included press reports from the likes of Switzerland, Slovenia, Sweden and Israel with the common line: “….wilted in the heat”.
We used to judge the success of our clubs by counting how many were still involved in European competitions after Christmas. Now it’ll be a triumph if any survive the late summer temperatures and are still there come the start of September.
And some jokers want to introduce summer football into Scotland. No way - our beetroots just couldn’t cope with it.
No, our only hope of international football glory is if a future championship is staged in a country where summers are cold, rainy and windy. A country like…..well, Scotland.
That’s why we’ve all got to get behind the joint bid with Ireland and Wales to stage the 2020 European championships. And if we do get them, all pray for bad weather.
In the meantime, the next World Cup finals in 2014 will be in Brazil. Far too hot for us, even if we do qualify. It could be the setting for another heat-induced disaster against the likes of a Bhutan, Equatorial Guinea or Micronesia.
But hang on a minute. June? Isn’t that the Brazilian winter? Look at the famous victory the Scottish rugby team has just achieved in Australia – a game played of course in pouring rain and a gale force wind!
Hey, maybe we might have a wee chance in Brazil after all!
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