PROFESSOR Richard Cogdell, speaking at Glasgow University when Celtic's Billy McNeill was presented with an honorary degree, recalled a different era in players' remuneration.

"Billy's nickname is Cesar," the prof told the audience. "However, this doesn't come from any Roman connections, rather from a movie. In the original Ocean's 11, the actor Cesar Romero drove the getaway car.

"Billy McNeill was one of the few members of the Celtic team that had a car.

"How times have changed."

On the up down under KEEN to hear about Scots abroad, we pass on from Australian correspondent Gary Johnson that Jimmy Barnes - originally Jimmy Swan from Glasgow's Cranhill, who became Australia's biggest- selling rock star with the band Cold Chisel - still has a Glasgow accent even after more than 40 years in Oz.

Jimmy also became a notorious womaniser and drinker, downing two bottles of vodka during each performance. But life caught up with him and he had a quadruple heart bypass, before heeding medical warnings to give up the drink.

We only mention the background as Jimmy's Glasgow accent can now be heard on an Australian advertisement for pasta sauce in which he declares: "These days, when I get on the sauce, I get on the Leggo's." Which is probably just as well.

Vodka jelly HOPEFULLY not taking a leaf out of Jimmy's stage performances is actress Keira Knightley, pictured below, who stars in the Edinburgh International Film Festival opening movie, The Edge of Love.

Keira, nervous about singing in the film, recorded the songs before it was made, and assumed she would mime through it. But director John Maybury insisted that she sang for real, in front of 200 extras.

"Someone very kindly brought me a couple of shots of vodka," explained Keira, "and I was OK after that."

Low blow DANCE-hall putdowns continued. A Glasgow chap asked a girl to dance, but she replied: "Not with you."

So he told her: "Oh, come on, lower your standards. I did."

Bill of wrongs OUR Washington correspondent tells us that Barack Obama took time off from campaigning to take his wife on a date. When Hillary Clinton heard about it, she asked husband Bill: "Why can't you do something like that?"

So the next day Bill phoned Barack's wife and asked her out.

Free reign APOLOGIES for saying that Lenin was shot - he died of natural causes. And apologies for saying his only joke was the one about two mothers-in-law being the penalty for bigamy. As Michael Bruce tells us: "He had a wry sense of humour, although this probably wasn't appreciated by the millions who died under his leadership.

" Freedom is so precious that it must be rationed' was another of his crackers."

Air of the dog STORIES about children on planes reminds Derek McCann in Aberdeen of flying north from Southampton when a little lad, dressed in a dog costume, was an "unaccompanied child" and being fawned over by the stewardesses.

Once airborne, the captain announced: "Ladies, gentlemen and Scooby Doo, this is your captain speaking."

Resting place WE are told about the hairdresser who moved to larger premises, and was annoyed when a congratulatory bouquet from a friend was delivered with a Rest in Peace card.

However, when she complained to the shop that had sent it, all the florist could say was: "I'm now worried there's a funeral out there with flowers saying "Congratulations on your new location'."

Tongue Thaid OUR tale of the American being taught to shout Scottish insults at The Fratellis reminded Ken Nicholson of former J&P Coats worker Willie McFarlane, sent to set up a new thread mill in Thailand some years back.

Says Ken: "The local workers he was training persuaded him to teach them a traditional Scottish welcome for the mill manager. So it was that the manager, a slightly precious English public school and Oxford product, came to be greeted by young Thai girls bowing and trilling: Yeraffyerheid'."