GOING to the World Cup? No? Me neither. The following wee report on

those who are winging their way to Italia 90 is not sour grapes,

honestly, but just for information.

The Scottish Football League is laying on a return flight for more

than 70 people. There are two invitations to each member club; it is up

to the individual club whether to send a director, manager, coach,

groundsman, tea lady or someone else who has done much to promote


It is believed that many more directors than managers (and definitely

no tea ladies) will be boarding the League plane for the two-week trip

to the World Cup.

The Scottish Football Association appears to be pretty restrained in

the number of non-playing personnel it is taking to Italy. In addition

to the 22 players and 10 ''technical staff'', and secretary Jim Farry,

the party will include:

* Three office-bearers (president and two vice-presidents).

* Five members of the international committee. At least they won't be

picking the team, will they?

* Two ''nominated members of council''.

Finally, and most laudably, the SFA is taking along six players from

the Scottish youth team -- none of them, unfortunately, registered to


Share values

FOOTBALL economics, part two: Wallace Mercer, chairman of Hearts, had

dinner on Sunday with two Hibernian counterparts to discuss the ongoing

rescue package. The bill came to #340. Or about the price of 2000 Hibs


Don't call us

SCOTTISH Television's job advertisement for a production assistant to

work on various Gaelic programmes has occasioned the odd smile and look

of puzzlement from media Gaels.

What Scottish TV was trying to say at the end of the Gaelic

advertisement was that it would only contact applicants it wished to

interview. What the advert actually said, according to various Gaelic

sources, was that Scottish would only contact people ''that they would

be thinking to see to speak to'' which is less than elegant in any

language. Another, freer translation, was that the company would only

contact ''those people they were interested in'' -- which is more

elegant but pretty callous.

But there is hope. Alastair Moffat, the new director of programmes,

has been devoting part of his precious time to a course in Gaelic.

Camera Ha! As we say in the Diary.

Fawlty info

NOT for the first time, and probably not for the last, the Diary has

been taken in. We reported last week that the department of management

studies at Glasgow University was seeking to appoint a reader in hotel

studies to conduct research into such topics as ''minimising towel

theft'' and ''portion control in hotel breakfasts''.

This came as news to David Boddy, head of the department, who was able

to point out that the said advertisement was part of a spoof column in a

leading educational publication. Mr Boddy has been very nice about our

besmirching the reputation of his fine centre of educational excellence.

Professor Peter Walsh of the Yooni's department of classics has taken

this opportunity to scourge the Diary:

Dear Mr Shields,

The scales have fallen from eyes. As a fervent admirer I mourn that in

today's Diary (May 29) you expose yourself as a religious renegade and a

credulous creature, if you will pardon the alliteration.

That mild academic joke about the university readership in management

studies was perpetrated by Laurie Taylor, weekly columnist in the Times

Higher Education Supplement. I admire the standard of his output almost

as much as I do yours.

I fear that Proverbs 6, 12 says it all, and in the language you best

understand: ''Homo apostata vir inutilis, graditur ore perverso . . . et

omni tempore iurgia seminat.'' Which means, roughly: ''The renegade is a

useless man; he perceives with a perverse tongue; and all the time he

sows dispute.''

Or, to put it another way: Scuta, you're a Didymus.

Standing joke

PEOPLE like giving their cars pet names. (Readers may remember the

Renault 5 question: What's yours called? And the embarrassing answer:


The East Germans have a generic name for their Wartburgs, the GDR

version of the Lada. Wartburgs are called Luther, after the Protestant

reformer's statement: ''Here I stand. I can do no other . . .''

Brain teaser

THE Nae Luck award is won this week by the Food Digest section of the

Reader's Digest magazine. It has chosen (obviously before bovine

spongifarm whatsit became a really hot issue) the theme of Midsummer

Madness for its next issue.

Zooming in on a pan

MOST unusual camera shot of Channel 4's coverage of Glasgow's Big Day

rock music event was surely that taken from a helicopter about 5.30pm.

It started as a view from on high of an ant-like queue of people.

Obviously intrigued, the cameraperson zoomed closer and closer to what,

it suddenly became apparent, was a snakelike line of gents entering and

leaving the toilets.

Unfortunately the band was not playing that old rock classic, A Whole

Lotta Shakin' Goin' On.

Sporting gesture

THE merger of Hutchesons' and Old Aloysians rugby clubs, across

Glasgow's now not so great religious divide, was approved by Hutchie

members last week by a resounding 57 votes to eight. But, thankfully,

the jokes based on the old rivalries remain.

A Hutchie chap asked the meeting for an assurance that their

traditional red jersey would remain the club strip. But he thought it

would be a nice gesture if the jerseys had roman numerals.

ScotRail's slow

motion replay

GRAMPIAN Television's summariser at shinty's Glenmorangie Camanachd

Cup final, Iain Cameron, was called into vocal action before the

start of the game on Saturday. Cameron, a senior official of ScotRail,

was travelling on the new Sprinter train from Glasgow to the final at

Fort William on the scenic West Highland line, a journey which was not

without incident.

On four occasions the train juddered to an unexpected stop as

passengers visiting the smallest room spotted a red handle inviting a

downward pull and flushed the emergency brake.

With an admirable sense of propriety, Cameron cleared his throat and

advised passengers in need that they should use the brown and not the

red handle. The journey was completed a few minutes late and he went on

to give his equally expert analysis of Skye's historic 4-1 win over


Place-name trail

A BRIEF trip today along the Scottish place-name trail: We asked how

did Glendaruel? Badenoch for her to be Moidart, says Mr J. Taylor of

Helensburgh. A full and final report later this week, we promise, on the

questions and answers raised by Scotland towns and villages.