It’s the hope that kills, etc, etc. After the misery of Munich, the comeback in Cologne. Whether a 1-1 draw will be enough in the end we’ll learn this weekend, but Scotland, as Sportsound commentator Al Lamont said at the end of the 1-1 draw against Switzerland, on Wednesday night, “are still alive”.

Listening to Sportsound during the game you could feel the tension thrumming over the airwaves as the game swung to and fro. (And I’m not even a Scotland fan.)

To be honest, I usually find Sportsound commentaries much too busy. Too many voices as a rule. And there was a little of that this time around. As well as Lamont, Leanne Crichton and Steven Thompson were co-commentators and there was also a reporter in the crowd too, an addition that didn’t offer much to be honest. You could hear the atmosphere. You didn’t need someone to describe it.

To be fair, commentary boxes often suffer from a spot of tournament inflation during the Euros and the World Cup. Over on 5 Live Alistair Bruce-Ball had both Pat Nevin and injured Scottish striker Lyndon Dykes on hand.

Dykes put in a shift quite frankly. He also turned up on Radio Scotland before the game and at half time. Radio Scotland also had a line to Willie Miller up in Aberdeen, who was talking about Liebfraumilch and Blue Nun before kick-off. I don’t think he was putting in his half-time order, but I can’t be sure.

Inevitably on such occasions broadcasters turn into fans with microphones. There was no Ossie Ardiles to hand to suggest the game wasn’t much cop. (He had to do it on social media.) The big difference between the two commentaries? Fair to say there were a few more mentions of England on 5 Live.

Russell CroweRussell Crowe (Image: free)

Elsewhere … Russell Crowe was choosing his Tracks of My Years on Vernon Kay’s Radio 2 show all this week. He seemed to have met everybody he chose - from Rod Stewart to Ed Sheeran. Who would have thought Russell was such a name dropper?

The ultimate example came on Wednesday when he told a story of going to see Elton John in Madison Square Gardens at the start of the latter’s farewell tour.

“Coming out of the room is a guy who went through a period of time where he would obsessively call me wherever he was in the world when he was having a drink and smoking a cigar for a conversation,” Crowe began. “But we’d never met.

“We pass in the corridor and I realised it was him, but he didn’t see that it was me. So I just stop and I said, ‘Bill.’ And he stopped and turned around. I said, “Russell Crowe.”

“Oh my God.”

Can you guess which Bill it was? No, not Billy Connolly. Nor Billie Piper.

“It was Bill Clinton. Bill Clinton got obsessed by the movie Beautiful Mind and he’d be on the sauce with a couple of mates and he’d call up to ask a question about John Nash or something like that.”

You should stop leaving your phone number hanging around, Kaye suggested.

“I don’t mind if Bill Clinton has got my number. There are a few other American presidents I’ve withheld it from, but I don’t mind if Bill’s got it.”


Stevie Nicks is 76. Seventy bloody six. So don't miss this show

Foo Fighters hit Hampden as Glasgow retakes music capital crown

A fitting - if teary - tribute to a lost Scottish comedy great

Also on Radio 2 this week Jeremy Vine visited Glasgow on Tuesday. “Good contender for best British city for sure,” he said, buttering it up. Sounded like he meant it, though.

He was in the city to talk about the election in Scotland and speak to Scottish political voices.

In between Vine played a lot of “Glasgow music” - Simple Minds, Aztec Camera, Deacon Blue, Altered Images, The Fratellis - in between climbing up the Finnieston crane. (He was out of puff by the time he got to the top.) Introducing Douglas Ross he mentioned the Tory leader’s nickname “Three Jobs Ross,” referring to his roles as MP, MSP and part-time referee.

“They call me worse than that on the football pitch,” Ross said, which made me almost like him.

Listen Out For:

Mark Steel’s in Town, Radio 4, Monday, 6.30pm

Having recovered from a cancer diagnosis, the comedian returns to his travels pitching up in Margate in the first episode of a new series of his always enjoyable Radio 4 show.