Macaw’s winning ways

THE world’s greatest footballers are leaving Europe to ply their trade in more profitable continents.

Ronaldo struts and preens (and occasionally boots a ball) in Saudi Arabia, while Messi has a messianic role in America, preaching the gospel of soccer.

Back in Europe there is a struggle to fill the vacated positions on the footy pitch, which possibly explains why a parrot took to the field in Orkney, where Stromness were playing Hotspurs in a Reid Cup match.

The bird – a macaw named Blu – played a pivotal role. After he joined the game, Stromness fought back from 4-0 down, eventually drawing 5-5, and winning on penalties.

It was later revealed that the bird wasn’t sent on by the Stromness manager, but is a local pet who often goes for an afternoon jaunt.

He fled to the sanctity of the footy pitch after a gang of seagulls and crows started bullying him.

Blu’s owner, Carla Brown, has apologised unreservedly for the pitch invasion. Blu has yet to comment, not even a squawk of contrition.

He’s possibly keeping his council until he gets a big-money signing in Saudi.

Footy faux pas

MORE kickyball news. Reader Foster Evans tells us of a dramatic change to the footy landscape.

Perusing the BBC sports website, he spotted that St Johnstone were described as the Paisley Saints.

If the Beeb are right about this, it means absent-minded Perth have mislaid an entire squad.

Mind your language

LINGUISTICALLY limber Diary correspondent Patricia Castleton says: “Oxymorons are just unfair.”

Toilet humour

LEARNING Italian is handy for visiting places like Rome, for it allows you to ask sophisticated questions in the native lingo, such as: “Why isn’t this pizza deep-fried like a proper Scottish one?”

Learning Italian is also vitally important in Glasgow, especially when you’re desperate for a whizz.

Reader Deedee Cuddihy informs us that for several weeks the multilingual public toilets at St. Vincent Place have flashed the message FUORI SERVIZIO, with no English version of the words provided.

We’re guessing the phrase translates to mean the toilets are ‘out of order’.

Or perhaps it’s an entreaty to go elsewhere to pee, and Fuori Servizio is Italian for ‘feel free to drench a nearby lamppost’.

Beatles for brunch

OUR correspondents are fusing famous music acts with delicious food. David Walker suggests blending a fab quartet from the 1960s with Indian cuisine, leading to… Pepper-backed Raita.

Booze ban

“I GAVE up drinking and eat noodles, instead,” says reader Vicki Phillips. “I'm now six months soba.