Just thought you'd like to know that both Gordon Mackay and Andy Plastow have been over in France having trials for a French club.

Plastow, the big Hawks wing forward and No.8, has been a bit of a star in this country and is a formidable man with the ball in his hands.

However, having met big Steve Begley out at New Anniesland on Tuesday evening, it is obviously rough stuff, and Begley said that in one of his games he had been punched from behind, a blow that was so strong it knocked him out and he broke his nose on the way down, moving a cheek bone. This was in the French third division.

qLife is a wonderful thing, and so is sport. We heard a tale from the Reds' Day at Whitecraigs rugby club last Saturday, when many of the top Reds players were there to promote the game to the young lads and lassies from Glasgow.

They brought with them the Five Nations trophy, and sat it down proudly at the side of the pitches after letting the kids look at it and handle it.

Big Stuart Grimes, we are told, was in his element, with kids asking him if he won it. ''Yes,'' said Grimes with a laugh. ''All by myself.''

But not everyone there understood what the cup meant. During one of the little games the kids played, which was refereed by Graham Kilgour, the SRU's development officer, one little lad came up to him and asked. ''What's the score so far?'' Kilgour replied that he wasn't counting. ''So how do we know who's won that cup over there?'' continued the wee boy. It's enough to make you cry.

qJust to prove that the BBC is very much alive and kicking, the Queen Margaret Drive side won the Tennent's Media Five-a-side competition on Tuesday night.

Having seen off Sky in the semis, they turned over STV in the final. Ringers did you say? Well, the Beeb did call on Gordon Smith and Murdo Macleod, with added expertise in summary from Chick Young. ''It was the battle of the no budgets,'' commented Rob McLean, the, er, commentator. Not to say the battle of the bulges.

Funny thing was that when Sky played nobody was watching. Like their summarisers, STV couldn't put much together. And as I work for the Beeb, I'm saying absolutely nothing more.

qTalk about drumming up support. Now, each Saturday morning John Beattie's Sports Weekly hits the Radio Scotland airwaves at 9.30, and last Saturday we had a particularly appetising competition prize.

It was free tickets for the Glenmorangie Camanacht Shinty Cup final in June, and three bottles of 10-year-old malt. The switchboard was jammed, as you'd expect, and three winners were announced over the air.

Later, over breakfast in the sumptuous BBC canteen, we took a look at the people who had entered into the spirit of things and there was a certain Mr Douglas Vipond from Bridge of Weir who had called in with the correct answer.

Now, Dougie, as he is better known, was the drummer with Deacon Blue, but is better known now as a media chap himself taking over the On the Ball and Off the Ball slots over the summer.

But the competition question was quite specific. What, we wondered, did you call the thing they hit the ball with in shinty? It's a caman. Turns out Dougie is a shinty coach!

Mind you, if you can play drums for Deacon Blue then you can bash a ball with ease.

qAli Paton, sometimes known as Siren from Gladiators, tells us that the last episode, which was filmed this week, was a heartbreaking affair as Gladiators took each other on and

consequently had to beat their friends. Or maybe that's beat up their friends.

She also says that they stayed up late afterwards playing drinking games with Ulrika Johnson, who still gets the thumbs up from the Scottish fans who saw her in action in France.

The hotel they stayed in, says Siren, won't miss them, though for, the various gladiatorial requests for omelettes with six egg whites, and bran flakes with water and no milk.

''It was amazing,'' says Paton. ''The blokes who had been 18st seven years ago were down to 14st for the competition. I asked if I can keep my helmet and my stick.''

Reassuringly, according to Paton, there were the usual injuries in that there were four cases of stitches needing done, and two dislocated shoulders.

And who said it was all camera tricks?