Once upon a long time ago, a certain President of the Scottish Rugby Union decided to pick a fight with the press corps and basically accused us all of wanting Scotland to get beaten to further some agenda or other. I wasn’t having that, not least because I didn’t know anything about agendas, hidden or otherwise, and though I’m normally a very mild-mannered chap, the said President got both barrels large from me.

I distinctly recall my words to him, not least because a fellow hack took a shorthand note of them. In short I told him he was a disgrace to his office – though not as politely as that – and I wanted an apology because “I never want Scotland to get beaten at anything, not even tiddlywinks.” He did eventually apologise but he never did get the usual tributes in the press when his presidency ended.

Being a supporter of Scotland at any sport is to know quite often the exquisite anguish of having your hopes raised and then dashed, often at the last minute. In the past fortnight alone we have seen humiliation on the field of play for our three remaining teams competing in European football, our national rugby league team humbled by Italy, and our national rugby women’s team so cruelly robbed of victory on successive weekends – I’ll be coming back to them.

Thank heavens for our cricketers in the T20 World Cup. I thought they had a chance of victory in Hobart, Tasmania, when they closed their 20 overs on 160 for 5, with George Munsey’s man of the match performance of 66 in 53 runs putting the boys in blue in good position. Calum MacLeod’s swashbuckling 23 off 14 balls provided the finishing touch to a wonderful innings and despite a good start from West Indies, when their wickets began to tumble it was a question of when, not if, Scotland would record their second victory in 21 attempts at the World Cup.

Is there anything Scottish rugby can learn from our cricketers? Yes there is. As I have written before, Scotland’s men’s squad and their coaches must focus their attention fully on next year’s World Cup in France. Whatever happens before then doesn’t really matter as long as Scotland perform well on the biggest stage. What happened with our cricketers against the former T20 world champions was a long time in the preparation, and having a settled and committed squad full of leaders is the first priority as our cricketers showed.

The same goes for our women’s national squad. The heartbreak of the loss against Wales was compounded by a similarly depressing end to the match against Australia. Yet in both matches, Scotland showed huge commitment, especially in defence, and they also showed a huge willingness to learn. For example, the slow start against Wales was not repeated against the Wallaroos, and though the result eventually went against the Scots, it was a great performance all round and the signs are there that, given the support they deserve, our women can be competitive at the elite level.

It may seem a strange thing to write in the month that two major English clubs ran out of money and went bust, but now is not the time for the SRU to cut back on the women’s squad and the women’s game generally. In fact it is time to invest in the national squad in particular, and while I know the SRU has been doing so, the blazers at Murrayfield need to lay out their long term plan for the women’s squad. If that means more full-time professional contracts then so be it. It is the SRU’s duty to ensure that our women’s national squad remains competitive and put it this way, if other unions can find money for full-time players, then so can the SRU. If they do not then all the promises of growing the women’s game will be exposed as mere bombast.

I am not going to waste much time on the Scottish team’s chances against New Zealand this weekend, because the Black Ferns, while far short of perfect, will have far too much power, strength and skill for the Scots. The host nation with its squad who are all full-time professionals will win, but I know Scotland will give them a game and prove once again that they belong at this level.

The good thing is that this World Cup has allowed Scotland to show that we have a core group of players who can build on their showing so far to prove themselves a force to be reckoned with in the Six Nations and the next World Cup. I believe they can achieve this aim in the long term, but it will need careful investment of hard cash which is something Scottish rugby as a whole needs now as the nation still recovers from the coronavirus pandemic. Anybody out there got a spare billion?