Twelve years ago as, if ailing memory serves, the only Scottish journalist attending the launch of a British & Irish Lions squad to tour New Zealand, I had the rather strange experience of being consoled by one colleague after another from England, Ireland and Wales following the announcement of Clive Woodward’s ill-fated tour party.
They clearly felt Scots had a reason to feel upset, even insulted, by their poor representation with only Gordon Bulloch, Chris Cusiter and Simon Taylor listed.
Yet, apart from the clear mistake that was Jason White’s omission - the first of what would prove to be countless blunders by the over confident Woodward - while there was disappointment there was no real surprise after two seasons that had produced a single Six Nations Championship win under the hapless Matt Williams.
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That contrasted with my feelings in 2001 when the treatment of Scots was outrageous as only three were selected in that initial tour party, just four years after Scottish players had played key roles, on and off the pitch, in the course of what was the Lions greatest success of the past 40 years and just two after Scotland had won the last Five Nations Championship.
The best interpretation of 10 Welshmen being selected for that tour is that Graham Henry, Wales’ coach at the time, knew their capabilities better than those of other players. The worst is that he saw a chance to use the Lions to develop what was largely a group of up and coming players. Either way Wales’ gain was much greater than that of the Lions that year.
Because of that I still believe no coach should be allowed to hold such dual responsibility which could colour my view of yesterday’s Lions squad announcement. However for balance it is worth observing that in a world of sporting spin and hubris, international rugby quadrennially grants us the gift our bard longed for, of getting to see oursels as ithers see us with its potential to frae mony a blunder free us.
If all was as well as some would have us believe, then, the inclusion of just two Scots among 41 players in a Lions squad which contains 12 players from Wales who finished below Scotland after losing at Murrayfield would be reason to feel a real sense of grievance and doubtless the cheer-leaders will try to generate it.
Looked at objectively, though, it is very hard to argue that any of the current squad was particularly hard done by when compared with their rivals from around the rest of the British Isles.
And Another Thing...
Monday and Tuesday of this week were, it seems, days for assessing risks of the highest order.
We are, here, not discussing the calculated gamble made south of the border that has surely clarified matters for those in Scotland who lean left of centre politically once and for all with Theresa May’s affirmation of Conservative confidence that her party is set to control Westminster as they have never done since the Thatcher years.
No, for some of us the far more pressing issue was that facing directors at Dens Park who are facing the real prospect of letting the opportunity to re-establish their club as the dominant force in the city for the first time in the best part of half a century slip through their fingers.
The way things had fallen apart at Dundee United as they slid into and then struggled in the Championship, allied to difficulties in their boardroom, provided a real chance for the old order to be re-established.
In that context the sacking of Paul Hartley was an understandable reaction to seven successive losses, then, albeit rather questionable given all he had done in the preceding three years, not to mention his collection of the Premiership Manager of the Month award just four weeks earlier.
However given that his only apparent failing in terms of addressing what lies ahead was that he had not been involved in a relegation battle as a manager, it was all the more odd that his replacement turned out to be an older man with no experience whatsoever of being in charge of a club.
Neil McCann’s acknowledgement that the club is running a far greater risk than he is on a personal level was consequently no more than admission of the obvious, given that he remains contracted to Sky TV so can return to what he described as his ‘comfy seat’ in their studios in a couple of months’ time if things do not work out at Dens.
The confidence McCann conveys as a pundit was reflected in how he put himself across on Tuesday evening, though. Perhaps, then, we should give the Dundee board the benefit of the doubt by accepting that they were merely reacting to their situation as quickly and transparently as possible by holding a press conference on Tuesday evening, rather than hoping, Westminster-style, to bury what some might consider bad news.