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Recriminations should stop at the dressing-room door . . .

WHIT a week.

The dressing-room door, behind which -- and not beyond -- battles and recriminations rage.  Picture: James Galloway
The dressing-room door, behind which -- and not beyond -- battles and recriminations rage. Picture: James Galloway

The wrestling has been dropped from the Olympics and switched to the penalty box at Celtic Park for perpetuity.

Firstly, I believe wrestling has brought this all this on itself. Any sport that allows participants to hit each other over the head with chairs while refs look the other way should be banned. Or at least be preceded by the Champions League theme song.

And matches seem to be fixed in the World Wrestling Experience. There have been many suspicious results down the years and I have serious doubts about the validity of Hulk Hogan's winning run. Again, any sport that has the taint of match-fixing should be banned. Or preceded by the Champions League theme tune.

Professional wrestling also allows dwarves and managers to enter the field of play. This should be banned or preceded etc . . .

The best bit about the move to drop wrestling from the five-ringed circus is the sense of outrage, particularly from those who have never watched Olympic wrestling. This is a sport so boring that people leave early to go home to read the phone book. This is a sport where the hold options are more time-consuming and tedious than a bank helpline.

One can accept the moaning from the wrestlers who may be deprived of an Olympic spot in 2020 – there is still a chance that the decision will be reversed – but most of the rest of the whingeing has been of the whining variety.

However, one of the staples of sports reporting – or so I am told by those who do it – is to chronicle the complaints of beaten competitors. Strangely, winning ones tend to have few moans.

As Wullie Wordsworth would have it, bliss was it in that night to be alive, but to be a journalist was very heaven in the tent outside Celtic Park on Tuesday. The Celtic players walked in and around the mixed zone (an area set aside for interviews or more regularly non-interviews) with such a silence one suspected they were Trappist monks with laryngitis.

The top sports journalists in Scotland and I thus had a problem. There was a big space in the paper, to use a technical term, and nothing to fill it. Until Kris Commons came along. The Scotland internationalist is a top talker. He natters for Scotland. He so delivered the goods that his words should have been served on a pallet.

Basically, he blamed Efe Ambrose for everything from the annihilation of the dinosaur onwards. His team-mate had just flown in from South Africa after playing the Africa Cup of Nations final. Given the Nigerian's performance, some wondered if he had actually walked it.

Commons let it be known he was seriously unchuffed. There was a feeling too that this had been discussed in the dressing-room. But the noise that resounded around the world, or Glasgow anyway, was that of Commons' statement in the mixed zone.

The journalist in me – a small parasite in my large intestine, since you ask – was grateful for the story. The former footballer in me was slightly disappointed.

I have never played Champions League football. And I am as surprised about that as you are, dear reader. But I have graced teams with my stylish presence and have always adhered to the rule from primary school, through juniors to amateurs, that one never disrespects a team-mate in public.

The dressing-room in one part of St Ninians in Stirling was so violent that it was patrolled by UN peacekeepers at half-time. I used to sit in a corner with my lip trembling as team-mates fought over a mix-up at a corner. These awful scenes would occur if we won. When we lost, there were battles in the washing area that resembled the shower scene in Psycho.

The recriminations were loud, violent and painful. But, like civilisation, they stopped at the dressing-room door. Once the team trooped from the battlefield, sorry dressing-room, all matters of dispute were ended. There might be the odd huff, there was certainly the odd split lip. But it was done. Over. Until the next week when someone lost his player at a set-piece.

Then the fighting would start in the dressing-room all over again. And if that variety of wrestling had been televised it would still be an Olympic sport. Or, at least, an X-rated movie.

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