By Jim Thornton:
Dinner for One?
The Daily Record’s Jim Traynor and Michael Grant of The Herald regularly share a BBC Radio Scotland studio on a Saturday evening, and for the most part they sing from the same hymn sheet when taking punters’ calls. It’s interesting, therefore, to see them take diametrically opposite views on the SPL’s investigation into Rangers alleged use of double contracts.
Jim Traynor was almost Chicoesque in the Record last Monday (17 September), where he leapt to Rangers’ defence like Ian Black in heat. The story has been distorted, he said, sometimes by deliberate design. (In the interests of transparency, shouldn’t he be telling us who these people are who’ve been trying to dupe us?) According to Jimbo, it’s all the fault of the SFA and the SPL, who’ve known about these deals for years. Why are they only carrying out an investigation now, he asked? And it’s all just a technicality anyway, he went on to explain.
On the very same day, Michael Grant was taking a more measured approach in The Herald, where he told us that the accusations against Rangers were in fact serious and ought to be taken seriously. He went on to argue against any conspiracy theories by explaining that the investigation had come about because of allegations made by a former Rangers’ director, allegations that the SPL couldn’t ignore. He also took pains to point out that Rangers were innocent until proven guilty, and cast doubts on the wisdom of Rangers’ decision not to defend themselves at the forthcoming hearing.
Mr Traynor seems to have taken a shine to Charles Green, having previously argued vigorously, albeit unsuccessfully, for the Rangers newco to be allowed into the SPL or, at worst, the First Division. Mr Grant, on the other hand, seems reluctant to join him on the ramparts. Perhaps Michael doesn’t like succulent roast beef and Yorkshire pudding.
The Return of the Prodigals?
Staying with Sunny Jim, he made an interesting point on BBC Radio Scotland the other evening when he posited the theory that Steven Fletcher’s Twitter statement that he was willing to play for Scotland again was not aimed at Craig Levein, but was in fact a heads-up for his successor should the current manager get the bullet.
Should we therefore be keeping an eye out for Kris Boyd saying he’d like to come back to Ibrox?
And do you think the pundits are starting to turn against Levein because they think he’s not the best man for the Scotland job? Or because they can see their Jolly Boys’ Outing to Brazil in 2014 going down the tubes?
A Big Boy Did It
Meanwhile, over at Parkhead, Neil Lennon should consider himself in Craig Whyte’s debt. Fifth in a Rangers-free league, with just eight points from a possible fifteen, doesn’t necessarily mean the Celtic boss’s shell-suit is on a shoogly peg, but if it wasn’t for Rangers’ current woes he’d be getting pelters from the Parkhead faithful. It’s only because his side have reached the group stages of the Champions League and get to play with the big boys that he’s getting a relatively easy ride. Which makes me feel old – I can remember when Celtic were one of the big boys.
Joey Barton has been described as ‘an angel’ by his Marseille team-mate, Rod Fanni. Well, I suppose it takes one to know one.
Jings, Crivvens, Help Ma Roberto
It seems I inadvertently misled a reader last week when I asked if ‘the two Robertos’ had an anti-Scottish agenda given that they’ve an aversion to signing players who hail from north of the border. I should perhaps have explained that I was, in fact, referring to Signors Mancini and Di Matteo at Manchester City and Chelsea, and not to Wigan manager Senor Martinez. Our amiable amigo, in fact, has a Scottish wife, so while he might be Roberto to everyone else, he’s probably just a wee Boaby to her. If you’ll pardon the expression.
But that’s the problem with having all these foreign managers – every Tom, Dick, and Harry’s called Roberto.
Follow, Follow the Yellow Brick Road
A final word from one of my bluenose pals on Rangers’ Ramsdens Cup debacle the other night. ‘Queen of the South? We couldnae beat the ******* Wicked Witch of the South!’