DOING this job can be a joy.

Sauntering up to a football ground with a press pass in your hand, a fully charged laptop battery in your bag and a fresh Tetanus shot in your arm, and a world of exhilaration can open up to anyone who dares to hit a key in the name of football journalism.

Hearing the booming roar of the Champions League theme ringing through your ears while you scramble about on a Celtic Park floor foraging for a plug socket is just one of my own personal highlights.

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Your first match never leaves you. My debut arrived at the Brig O’Lea Park where the football titans of Neilston and Bellshill Athletic came together. Armed with a new pad, four pens and a whopping word count of 80, nothing could have prepared me for the 6-5 humdinger which would follow. By the time I listed every goalscorer I barely had space to mention the pitch invader who ran on the park after the third red card. To be fair I could hardly read his collar.

Still, I skipped out of the place knowing this is what I wanted to do, and I was doing it. Throughout the years, I’ve been lucky enough to have stolen a living doing this, and it can be the best job on earth.

However, there are five things which strike fear into the hearts of all football journalists. No pies, no plugs, no wifi, a late goal and a penalty shootout.

With that in mind, spare a that for our comrades scattered across Russia. While there is no doubt superfast broadband will be powering through World Cup press boxes faster than a speeding bullet, spot kicks and more goals than you can shake a Russian doll at have done little to steady the nerves of the brave men and women filling column inches across the globe. Indeed, look to the sky the next time two teams head for penalties and you will spot a glow over to the east caused by sparks coming from fingers clattering keyboards. The pies are apparently honkin’ as well.

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My first experience of covering something similar - sort of - came at Stark’s Park - where the streets have no Raith - during a rank rotten League Cup game between Raith Rovers and Hearts. Not quite the Champions League final, but enough to cause the night’s work to be pretty much highlighted, deleted, and rewritten with just enough time for the Herald Sport carrier pigeon to bring the penalty result back home for deadline.

Back to the World Cup, there will be plenty who will sympathise while punters around the world lap up the drama. There have been 21 goals after the 90th minute so far with two games having gone the distance to penalties already. There will be many in Scotland who will be holding out for something similar whenever England and Colombia take to the field in Moscow this evening, such is the Auld Enemy’s record from 12 yards out. The Three Lions are officially the worst in the world at penalty kicks - apart from Raith Rovers, obviously - having lost seven of eight.

The fact detractors are holding out for this outcome perhaps tells of the real chance England have at this World Cup. Much has been made of their easier half to the draw, and that they haven’t beaten any team of note. While true, no team has set the heather alight in Russia, and with Germany, Spain and Argentina already out, Gareth Southgate’s men are the fourth-highest ranked team left.

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That will surely only pour more salt into Scottish wounds as the Tartan Army spend another summer back at base camp. Russia, ranked 28 places below Scotland on the Fifa rankings, are in the quarter-finals. Japan, narrowly papped out by Belgium last night, sit 19 places beneath us.

This has been a terrific World Cup. While the drama has helped, the fact wee diddy teams like us have managed to upset the odds. If Gordon Strachan had held his nerve in Ljubljana, it all could have been so different.

It would be misleading to suggest Scotland could have still been in the tournament at this stage. Having said that, one can only sit back at home with the midgie cream and a Tunnock’s wafer wondering what might have been. In recent years we have performed well against so-called bigger teams - Poland, England, Peru... - so why not again? Just imagine how good Ally McCoist’s commentary would be if we were actually there.

Maybe one day. For now? I hear Alloa is nice this time of year. I wonder if they have a plug...