WHEN a colleague asked me the other day what the first football match that I had covered had been, it drove home just how much sports reporting has changed over the years.

My debut in the press box came at a pre-season friendly between Highland League outfit Nairn County and the reigning League Cup champions Hibernian at Station Park on a roasting hot day back in the summer of 1992.

The hosts may have been part-time minnows and the visitors might have been one of the biggest and best teams in the country.

But I can still recall marvelling at how Murdo MacLeod, the former Celtic, Borussia Dortmund and Scotland midfielder, bossed proceedings from kick-off to the final whistle.

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Hibs ran out, if memory serves, emphatic 10-0 winners. Afterwards, I borrowed the club secretary’s telephone and filed my reports, including one for the Sunday Sport no less, to copy takers.

Back in those pre-mobile phone, pre-internet days, fans found out how their heroes had fared by heading along to the newsagent the following day and picking up a paper.

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No more. Supporters are now updated on their team’s fortunes by text updates, live blogs and social media posts as well as by 24 hour television news channels and specialist radio stations. They can watch videos of managers and players discussing events in real time. 

The advances which have been made in technology mean that how journalists cover games has moved on considerably – you have to get a wi-fi connection, hit the send button on your laptop and download your musings to your website the second the man-in-the-middle blows for full-time. 

The 2022/23 cinch Premiership gets underway this afternoon and subscribers to The Herald will be kept informed on every kick of the ball, offside controversy, penalty claim, injury scare and touchline rammy. The reaction to wins, losses and draws will also be relayed in full.

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But opinion and analysis - of new signings, of team formations and tactics, of key substitutions, of refereeing displays - is what readers are more interested in the modern age.

We have gone further in recent times by conducting in-depth investigations into the burning issues in the Scottish game and will continue to do so in the months ahead.

The rising use of pyrotechnics in the stands, the impact of the cost-of-living crisis, the clampdown on gambling sponsorship, the folly of the television deal, the remuneration given to the SPFL chief executive, the advantages of fan ownership and the future of B teams have all been examined in detail.

With a bit of luck, we will have players as good as Murdo MacLeod to write about in the next 10 months – and a 10-0 victory to report on.

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