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Dead jammy, now bring on the elusive Estonians

DARREN Jackson will tell his grandchildren about the day he helped Scotland to victory over Sweden at Ibrox - and his most important contribution was not to touch the ball.

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For it was the Hibs striker's dummy - surely destined to become as famous as Archie Andrews - which set up the winning goal. But Jackson will also be entitled to relate how he ran his heart out for Scotland. Before he was substituted in the seventy-eighth minute the 30-year-old had covered more miles than Liz McColgan on a training spin. If there had been a run-of-the-match award he would have sprinted home. One of his chase-backs to tackle Jonas Thern in the first half underlined the fighting spirit of the entire Scottish side. There will be those who say Scotland were lucky, dead jammy, indeed. That the Swedes had a day when their entire strike-force could not have managed to kick the dressing room door. Who cares? We have the points. It was no classic, but it was no failure either, and this in World Cup qualifying is all that matters. For me, it was my second international in two days and the difference between this and events at Murrayfield was striking. Nobody in Edinburgh offered me the chance to ``buy the new Scotland scarf - We Hate Jimmy Hill.'' The spectators at Ibrox would also take note of the differing prices. It was #10 to cheer on the Scottish football team, more than double that to watch our rugby failures. Nobody loves a lousy loser, something on which the SRU may care to ponder. The players, too. After all, the boys on the park yesterday were not being paid the thousands which these days go to our rugby stars. Who are the real professionals? The David A Hall Whitburn Brass Band did its best with the Swedish national anthem, but they were drowned out in a sea of boos. This enraged one home supporter who dashed up to the press box to tell me: ``This is a disgraceful example to set in front of the youngsters here today.'' Absolutely true, though many of the kids were doing the booing. As for ``Flower of Scotland,'' it finished at different times in various parts of the stadium. All the acoustics at Ibrox are intelligible - there must be something that can be done about it; even a loud-hailer. Among those in the posh seats were the Minister Raymond Robertson and the Shadow Secretary of State George Robertson. Indeed, there were almost as many Robertsons to be seen as there were Anderssons in the Swedish squad. The Scots, no doubt for commercial reasons, play in jerseys and long pants which look as though they belong in a 1920s museum. But that did not put them off as they opened brightly, rocking a rather shoogly Swedish defence. In eight minutes the stadium erupted for a goal by John McGinlay, coolly taken. Now we just had to hang for 82 minutes and we were there. The longer the first half went on, the more the Swedes began to dominate the midfield. And the more Jim Leighton began to do his King Canute act. He may be 38, he is a bigger bandy than John Wayne, and he cannot see the number of a bus without his glasses, but Old Jim is still one of our finest. He was my man-of-the-match by the length of Paisley Road West. The man was courage personified as he flung himself at the feet of various Anderssons, Kennet in particular. Half-time was a welcome break. During the interval I noted that Jim Farry, the SFA supremo, never left the box. Who missed all the pies? Back came the team for a long 45 minutes for home fans. Let it be recorded though, that despite all the FIFA fankles of the week and Sweden's role in them, there was no ill-feeling on the field. This was a sporting contest with only one booking. Colin Hendry was proving to be Captain Courageous as the waves of Swedish attacks came without respite. Scotland were prisoners in their own half, but Leighton held the key to the gate. Jasper Blomqvist, straight through, hit the goalie when it would have been easier to hit the net. Leighton dived at feet, the ball, and at corners as the 46,000 crowd, including visitors, rose to salute a magnificent warrior. There may be plenty of room in the Hibs trophy case, but they're pretty good at producing goalies and runners. Kevin Gallacher, then Ally McCoist, were sent on in an attempt to raise the siege. Super Ally almost scored with his second touch, but the play was soon back at the other end. The minute hand on the clock staggered towards the magic figure. A roar of relief greeted a Scottish corner, a roar of gratitude hailed yet another Leighton save. Then it was over and the Scots were top of their section. Winning is a lot nicer than losing, just believe me. Take that, FIFA. Bring on the elusive Estonians.

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