Celtic edge Aberdeen in Betfred Cup Final – The Talking Points

Celtic celebrate Betfred Cup victory. Photo by Russell Cheyne via Retuers (1)

Celtic celebrate Betfred Cup victory. Photo by Russell Cheyne via Retuers

Brendan Rodgers’ Celtic won their 18th League Cup title over the weekend as they beat Aberdeen 1-0. This is the Glasgow side’s seventh consecutive trophy under Rodgers whose side begin their defensive of Scotland’s domestic silverware.

While the scoreline may not reflect it, there were plenty of talking points as Celtic aim for their third consecutive treble winning season.

Ryan Christie haunts Dons

After a successful season under Derek McInnes side last campaign, Ryan Christie returned to Glasgow with the hunger to compete for first team football.

The 23-year-old had to wait some time for his chance but as soon as it arrived, the Scotland international hasn’t looked back. Christie has been involved in eight goals for club this season (five goals, three assists) and scored the all so decisive goal in Hampden on Sunday.

Speaking after the match, Christie highlighted that ‘it’s so strange’ the position he is in now in comparison to when he initially returned back to Celtic.

He said: “It’s hard to kinda look back and put myself in the mind frame I was at the start of the season. I’m delighted obviously how things have turned out and long may it continue because obviously I’m loving my football at Celtic right now. Even when I signed the contract I said that I wanted to make an impact at this club and wanted to help them bring back silverware so days like today help that.”

 

Aberdeen lack firepower

Despite both sides being fairly even with regards to possession, it was Celtic who dominated in the chances in front of goal. Rodgers’ side relished 17 shots, seven of which were on course to goal in comparison to two of Aberdeen’s seven finding the target.

This has once again set eyes on both McInnes and the board on recruitment with the club failing to replace players like Adam Rooney, James Maddison and Jonny Hayes with those who can fill the void of a clinical finisher. All three of which started the two sides last meeting in a League Cup final in 2016.

This is a problem Aberdeen have got away with in cup competition over the years under McInnes but has caught up with them this season in the league. They’re six points worse off than they were at this point last campaign and currently sit seventh in the SPFL.

The concussion to Gary Mackay-Steven sustained in a clash of heads with Dedryck Boyata certainly didn’t aid Aberdeen’s chances to pull back an equaliser. Thankfully Mackay-Steven has been discharged from hospital and begins his recovery but it must be said that his creativity for the Dons was clearly apparent.

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Celtic edged Aberdeen at Hampden on Sunday. Photo by Jmorrison230582 via Wikipedia

Will Celtic complete a ‘treble treble’?

While we’re not even into the new year and their Old Firm rivals sit top of the Premiership – albeit Celtic have a game in hand – some are beginning to believe Celtic could be on course for a record breaking third treble winning season in a row under Brendan Rodgers.

However, the Hoops manager has no intention of getting carried away with this idea and insisted after the final that the Glasgow side have plenty of work still to do before they can consider this possibility.

He said: “We haven’t even played the second round of games yet in the league. That’s a long way away. This was a very satisfying win this, after the start that we had in the summer we had. The last two months we’ve pulled our idea back round again in terms of our football and the quality of our game. Like I say, these players deserve it today. But like everything they’ve done since I’ve come in, they’ve had to earn it. There’s been nothing presented to them. They’ve had to earn it and they’ve earned it today.”

Girls With Goals

Women’s football has never been so popular.

Scottish Women's Football Team. Credits to Anders Henrikson

Scottish Women’s Football Team. Credits to Anders Henrikson

It may not be the official sport of our nation, but football’s following in Scotland is one of the most passionate around the globe. Sorry, golf fans. However, while off the field problems can blur the importance of what’s happening on the pitch, one section appears unfazed by these issues: the women’s game.

Support for women’s football is on the rise in Scotland with match attendance and viewing figures growing every season.

One of the leading teams in Scotland, Glasgow City, is on course for what could be their 12th consecutive league title, beating league rivals Hibernian in the closing stages of the league campaign.

You could argue that City’s dominance in the division doesn’t make for the most compelling league to watch, but their style of play is up there with the best. Hibernian can give Glasgow a run for their money at the best of times – with both sides having some success in the Women’s Champions League in recent years.

The success of teams domestically has somewhat transitioned to the national team as well. The Scotland women’s side qualified for their first ever World Cup earlier this year, having played in their first finals tournament in the European Championships in 2017.

It’s been more than 20 years since Scotland’s men’s team qualified for a major football tournament yet the women’s team have restored faith in Scottish football. When the team arrives in France for the World Cup, they may feel slightly out their depth.

There’s no beating around the bush, the funding for Scotland’s women’s team is far behind the wages of other national sides. But, leading into this tournament, out of the 23 players in the Scotland squad, 19 are professional.

The remaining four non-professionals may have to leave Scotland and head south of the border – where there are no amateur clubs in the top flight – to pursue their dream of becoming full-time players; something which their male counterparts probably would not have to do.

However, the success of the national team has struck a chord with young girls across Scotland. Participation in women’s football has risen from 6,500 to 12,000, bringing the goal of a professional women’s league in Scotland a lot closer.

It’s shocking to believe women’s football was once banned in Scotland. During World War One, the attendances for women’s football exceeded 50,000 but came to a halt when the men came home. One hundred years later, it’s women who are bringing football home.

The peak in interest has prompted UEFA to provide women’s football with 50% more funding from the year 2020. An additional £2.4 million will be given to women’s football projects per year, provided by profits from their male counterparts.

The rise in funding aims to take football right to the top as Europe’s biggest female sport but to get there they also need to fund coaching development. Something UEFA assured they would do, as they announced plans to increase the number of qualified female coaches.

Scotland has a national side playing in the World Cup next year, something we haven’t seen with the men’s side for over two decades. We should be excited about the future of women’s football – it’s certainly about to kick off.

Opinion: What now for Partick Thistle?

Alan Archibald

Alan Archibald was sacked after a poor run of form. Credit to Lauren Archer.

On Saturday, Partick Thistle sacked their manager, Alan Archibald. Archibald was the second longest-serving manager in Scotland, after being appointed by the club in 2013.

Archibald began his managerial career after the departure of Jackie McNamara in January 2013, although this was purely an interim basis. In March, Archibald and former player Scott Paterson were given the job on a permanent basis, signing a one-year rolling contract. In his first season, Archibald guided Thistle to the Scottish Premiership, after winning the First Division – now known as the Championship. In the same season, Archibald took the team to the Scottish Challenge Cup Final, narrowly losing to Queen of the South on penalties.

Archibald’s Thistle had a rocky start to their time in the Premiership. The club went seven months without a win at home but their record away from home proved they were more than able to stand toe-to-toe with other Premiership teams. The 2015/16 season saw the team go on a run of success, picking up seven points out of nine, resulting in Archibald being awarded the Premiership Manager of the Month award for November.

Speaking in 2016, Archibald hailed his side for consistent improvement over the years of his managerial reign.

Partick Thistle host Dundee United this weekend at Fir Hill. Credit to Lauren Archer.

He said: “I’ve always had a good group of players here underneath us and with a bit of success, winning the Championship. We’ve stayed in the league and that’s judged the success here because of our smaller budget. We’ve always progressed and gradually we’ve gotten better and better.”

Archibald kept Partick in the top flight for five consecutive seasons, finishing in the top six of the 2016/17 season for the first time since the post split fixtures were introduced in 2000/01.

Thistle suffered in the 2017/18 season, finishing in 11th place, meaning the team went into a relegation/promotion play-off with Championship runner-ups Livingston. Partick Thistle lost the two games, resulting in the club being relegated. At the time, the Thistle board were happy with Archibald and decided to stick with him. After a poor start to the 2018/19 Championship season, Archibald was dismissed by the club.

“I’ve always had a good group of players here underneath us and with a bit of success.”

So what now for Partick Thistle? Well it’s been all quiet on the Western front of Glasgow as there has been next to nothing with regards to candidates to take the managerial role.

The team face Dundee United on Saturday, who appointed Robbie Neilson as their head coach on Monday. Neilson himself was linked with the Thistle job, reportedly staying not too far from Fir Hill.

However, The Jags missed out on the former Hearts manager leaving them in a race to appoint a successor ahead of their Championship fixture this weekend.

Dobbie would score anywhere says Naysmith amid Scotland link

Queen of the South Arena

Queen of the South Arena. Copyright credit to Hugh Close.

Queen of the South boss, Gary Naysmith believes ‘on fire’ striker, Stephen Dobbie could do it for Scotland, however, he doesn’t expect Dobbie to receive the call of duty anytime soon.

The 35-year-old has scored 24 goals already this season, more than the likes of Lionel Messi, Cristiano Ronaldo and Kylian Mbappe put together.

With Leigh Griffiths pulling out Alex McLeish’s Scotland side to ‘focus on fitness’, it leaves a vacant space up front for the national side.

While Naysmith was open to allowing the Scottish Championship striker to be included in the match squad for Scotland’s matches against Israel and Portugal, he doesn’t expect a ring from the Scotland boss.

He said: “Well you’ll get the cynical people who’ll say that it’s just the Scottish Championship and it doesn’t really count but to score that amount of goals at any level it takes some doing. And he’s done it consistently at his time at Queen of the South.

“There’s no doubt he’d be available, yes I would be surprised. I think Stephen answered that question himself in the papers at the weekend that he thinks his time has passed.

“He’s quite happy to be playing for Queen of the South. But what I would say is to anybody is Stephen Dobbie will score goals at any level. He’s done it while he was in England, scored in play-off finals. Stephen Dobbie will score goals wherever he plays.”

The Queen of the South manager added that it would be a step up for Dobbie to cope fitness wise, but he believed he could cope with the challenge.

“I do think he could cope with it. Obviously, it’s just speculation, people are putting two and two together and trying to make something happen but it is just speculation.

“It’s a big step up to try go through Scotland Championship to international level but like I said previously, he would score goals at any level he plays at.”

The Doonhamers take on East Fife in the third round of the Irn Bru Challenge Cup this weekend, a side Naysmith managed for three years up until 2016. The League One side have won their last six fixtures and Naysmith was weary of the threat they pose.

“Stephen Dobbie will score goals at any level. He’s done it while he was in England, scored in play-off finals. Stephen Dobbie will score goals wherever he plays.”

He said: “They’re a team that are in form. They never started the season too well, but they’ve picked it up in recent weeks.

“They’re going to be a tough game. They’re a team playing with confidence and any team playing with confidence become harder opponents. They beat Partick Thistle in the last round in the cup, it wasn’t like Partick played a really weakened team. They made one or two changes, but they still had a really strong team out. So, it’s going to be a very difficult game for us.”

East Fife have kept four clean sheets in those six wins but Naysmith was confident that his side have the firepower to break them down.

He said: “I’m always confident we’ll score with the attacking players we’ve got in the team. I think we’ve scored something like 40 odd goals in 15 games this season.

“That’s how we set the team up, to go and try and score and sometimes it goes the other way and you concede a few but we do generally fancy ourselves to score.”

Meadowbank Centre in funding crisis

Meadowbank - no credit

Concerns arise amid council vote.

Councillors are set to decide whom to award the contract for building the new state of art sports centre in Edinburgh. However, questions are raised over where the money for the project will come from.

The Edinburgh City Council Finance Committee is being asked to approve a £39 million contract to build the new centre but the Save Meadowbank campaign has exposed the pitfalls in the council’s plan.

Executive Director of Communities and Families within the Council, Alistair Gaw, submitted a paper to the finance committee for discussion on 11 October with the comment that the capital funding for the project will mainly come from the sale of 300 homes due to be built on one half of the site.

“This is completely inaccurate because his report is based on a previous Council plan which was thrown out by the planning committee when it met in June,” said Save Meadowbank spokesperson Heather Peacock in an official statement.

Campaigners claim the inaccuracy is due to the council maintaining their plan for the new homes while claiming to have started from a “clean state.” They are committed to preserving the Meadowbank’s green space and have cast doubts over the council’s plans and whether the project will commence.

Save Meadowbank’s representative, Russell McLarty, was particularly critical of the council’s approach to the situation:

“If they had had a more measured approach and looked at different options for the overall development of the site and funding – including borrowing – then they may have come up with something better. However, they are pushing ahead and are constrained by the desire to produce a sports centre – the council seem to have gone about this the wrong way.”

The council, when prompted, refused to comment on the situation.

A report to the council finance committee has warned that the figures may be unreliable and that the council may end up with a funding deficit of £24 million. It outlines a precautionary £7 million that should not be used until more accurate data is received.

 

Jessica Jones – A mixing pot of neo-noir mystery and female empowerment

Kirsten Ritter as Jessica Jones Image Credit: Netflix

Arguably the best of Netflix Marvel’s TV returns for a second season- providing a perfect cultural avatar that reflects the outrage and unity of the Post #MeToo world.

The second season of Marvel’s Jessica Jones was released last week to coincide with National Woman’s day. This happened for a very important reason. IT is a show created for and about woman.

Each of the 13 episodes in the second season was directed by woman and, while Marvel do often have strong female characters in their films and tv shows. This is their first creation with a female lead.

It is no secret that the world of comic books and their mainstream superhero’s has been a male dominated market. All the recent Marvel success’ – Avengers Assemble, Spiderman: Homecoming, Captain America, Thor – all feature men as the main hero, idols of super strength and unatural power.

Scarlett Johansson as Marvel’s Natalia Romanoff ( The Black Widow) Image Credit: Marvel Studios

However the woman in the Marvel universe usually fall within one of two categories.There is the ‘love interest’, or to put it more accurately, the damsel in distress. The classic narrative trope of man saves woman, who seems to get into trouble at every turn. Then there is the ‘flawless’ heroine. With their flawless fight sequences where their hair and make-up are always precise, clad in skin-tight spandex, and always equipped with a sarcastic line or funny quip as a comeback.

It was then that Jessica Jones broke the mold. Jones lives by herself, runs her own private investigator business, and is the very definition of anti-social. A woman dealing with the horrors of her past and is angry being labeled and told what to do by others. Oh and just so happens to have super strength as the result of being experimented on.

Jones is angry at the world. She and those closest to her where victim to many horrendous crimes and injustices. Repeatedly and often brutally committed by mostly men. Jones has been orphaned, raped, exploited, and generally abused by those in positrons of power. Both human and Superhuman in nature.

And it’s the ways she copes, or doesn’t, with her anger, superhuman alcoholism and tendency to rely on her fist to solve her problems that made her an icon. An embodiment of all the emotions in this post #MeToo age.

Kirsten Ritter, the actor who plays Jones, has had many people come up to her with praise for the character.

Real women on the street came up to me in tears because this was the first time they felt represented by the lead; it made them feel so much better about their own traumas,” Ritter says. “Even hearing women saying they were excited to see a badass female character was great: people responded to her in such a huge way.”

The series broaches some serious issues, such as abortion, rape, domestic abuse, and addiction. But it does so with a deft hand. Offering a new perspective on trauma, that even those with power can be rendered defenseless. That these issues can be subject to anyone. It re-writes the victim narrative so that the viewer can begin to understand a fraction of how abuse can affect someone.

Overall the show offers a message of hope and inspiration. Showing the difficulties that survivors face, that opening up can help even though its hard and that most of all , Jones wasn’t to blame. This is all the while fighting her demons, both metaphorically and literal.

Watch the season 2 trailer here:

How ‘I, Tonya’ shines the spotlight on the pressures of international circuit figure skaters

An ex figure skater’s initial reaction to hearing about the release of a film depicting one of figure skating’s biggest scandals is naturally going to be excitement.

A film depicting the life of Tonya Harding, the redneck Olympian pushing the boundaries in every way imaginable, would undoubtedly bring back memories of controversy for even non – enthusiasts.

Film titles for I,Tonya

Revolving around an attack on Nancy Kerrigan orchestrated partly by Harding’s ex-husband, the story shows their battle with the media in preparation for the 1994 Lillehammer Winter Olympic games and leaves questions about how the sport has changed since – if at all.

Within the last year, the competitive figure skating circuit has seen two of its top skaters step down from competing. Gracie Gold and Julia Lipnitskaya both made shock exits from the figure skating scene in 2017, prompting a lot of questions about what skaters are dealing with behind the closed doors of an ice rink.

But the truth of the matter is – they rarely have such a thing as privacy in their new roles as their countries’ ‘sweethearts’. Gracie Gold, aptly named US Figure Skating’s ‘Golden Girl’ withdrew with a multitude of issues including anxiety and an eating disorder and is yet to return.

 

Julia Lipnitskaya shot to fame in the 2014 Olympics after winning the Gold medal for Russia in the team event at only 15 years old. She retired in August last year with anorexia, age 19. Both girls had become overnight sensations; Gracie due to her strong social media following and Julia making headlines in Russia because of her young age and a much reported hug from President Vladimir Putin at the 2014 Olympics. Only a couple of months after her triumphs there she confessed she felt “constant stress” and that she was trapped, unable to live up to the expectations of her following.

Canadian pairs skater and Olympian Kirsten Moore-Towers thinks that the media definitely play a part in a skater’s mindset going into competition;

“I think media coverage is very important for our sport, but I think it depends on the type of skater that you are on how you handle it. Some people really struggle with the mental aspect of competition. For me, it’s a healthy mix of both.”

Elizabeth Ryan, Master Practitioner of Figure Skating Psychology, also thinks it depends on the personality of a person, but believes that privacy is also important;

“It really depends on how they deal with the coverage and if they are comfortable with it or not, but I do think it adds to the pressure. It can have a negative impact on a skater’s performance when a camera is on them and a microphone thrust at them immediately before a skate or just after they’ve skated badly. But the sport is a ‘performance’ one and that necessarily means an audience and wider interest from the media as they start to become better known on the international circuit.”

So then maybe figure skating hasn’t changed; although the media are no longer flattening the tyres of the skaters in question like in the case of Harding to get a new picture of her, the press still continue to hound the stars of the sport – regardless of their personality and ability to deal with fame. Tonya’s world collapsed around her, albeit partly from her own doing – but the media’s headlines of “Few Tears, No Blood as Snow White Beats Poison Dwarf,” (Irish Times), and “Beauty crushes the Beast,” (Norwegian newspaper Dagbladet) left even the opposition with a bad taste in their mouths.

Julia Lipnitskaya performing her Olympic medal winning programme to ‘Schindler’s List’

Now over twenty years later the careers of two girls are lost as the media once again circled and piled on the pressure; but just like Tonya’s life after her figure skating career as she fought in a boxing ring, Lipnitskaya and  Gold both vowed to fight back – the latter planning to return to competitive skating.

With figure skating on the back burner for most organisations once again after the Winter Olympics, the media frenzy has shifted. As the lights in the cinema rise, the spotlight on the troubles facing the golden girls of figure skating once again fades.


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Exclusive: Archie Macpherson believes Sky Sports should sack Jamie Carragher

Broadcasting and football commentating legend Archie MacPherson believes Jamie Carragher should be sacked from his punditry role for spitting towards a 14-year old girl.

The former Liverpool defender has been in controversy after a video emerged of him spitting towards a father and daughter from his car.  Today he has been suspended from his analyst job at Sky until the end of the season.

A Sky Sports spokesperson earlier this week spoke of the companies’ condemnation of his actions, saying: “it falls well below the standards we expect of our people.”

Carragher’s broadcasting future is unclear Image Credit: Flickr

Carragher has spent the last three years working as a pundit for Sky Sports, reportedly earning a salary close to £1 million, but MacPherson thinks his time with Sky should be up.

He said: “I don’t like spitting.  In a sense it’s cowardly because it manifests itself as something purporting to hurt and not just to show your disgust.

“If I was an employer, whilst there is such a thing as redemption you have really got to draw the line.  I think if somebody breaks the code of conduct then it’s probably time to go.”

Archie MacPherson, was left disgusted when watching the incident, however he feels it was the action he describes as “human”.

He added: “There are certain places when you can lose your place.  I’ve lost my temper in some instances and so have others.  What we saw was disgusting but human.

McPherson believes it’s time for Carragher to go Image Credit: Youtube

“This is not a private case.  It has become very public and the publicity accrued to that affects the messenger which is Sky.  I would imagine they don’t want to give the impression of supporting someone who is tainted.”

There has been plenty of support from fellow industry professionals, including Monday Night Football partner Gary Neville and BBC’s Gary Lineker, who whilst condemning Carragher’s actions, called for him to keep his job.

Neville said from his twitter account @GNev2: “I’ve just watched Carra23 say sorry. No excuses he’s made a big mistake. He’s massively passionate about football and he’s overstepped the mark and shouldn’t have reacted. I’ve been on TV for three years with him and in my opinion this isolated incident shouldn’t stop us working together.”

Lineker added from his Twitter @GaryLineker: “On a serious note, we all mistakes. Carragher made a big one. He’s apologised and is clearly contrite. Sure he’ll be back soon and rightly so.”

The family of the father and daughter who were spat at have also echoed support for Carragher to keep his job after they received a personal apology.

Yesterday, Danish TV broadcaster TV3 announced they dropped Jamie Carragher from their Champions League coverage of Manchester United’s game with Sevilla.

 


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Another Birthday for the SFA

Yesterday the second oldest national football association in the world celebrated its 145th anniversary – happy birthday to the Scottish Football Association.

In the week where Scotland’s latest national friendly squad was released, take a minute to reflect on Scotland’s footballing past. For it was Scotland that hosted the first ever global football match against England in 1872 – a goalless draw in front of four thousand fans. It was that wet day at Hampden that began the thought process of a football association within this great nation, and it has never looked back.

Scotland’s first football team in 1872

Queens Park FC – the oldest football club in Scotland – has the honour of playing at the home of Scottish football Hampden Park. When Queens Park advertised the formation of a football association within Scotland and on the 13th of March 1873, eight clubs formed the Scottish Football Association (SFA).

Since then the SFA has developed into the biggest footballing association in the world versus its nations populous. A Scottish FA spokesperson told us:

“Our responsibility is the same now as it was on Day One – to do our best to look after and improve Scottish football from grassroots to elite level. Great strides are being made to ensure that football really is a game for all in this country – regardless of ability, gender or any other perceived barrier. At national level, the hope is for our senior teams to once again be represented on the biggest stage and there is optimism that initiatives like the Performance Schools and Project Brave will help create a pipeline of talent that will achieve that.”

Although created by the culmination of club football teams, as the SFA alludes too it is of course national football that the SFA is best noted for.

Scotland have qualified for the FIFA World Cup on eight occasions and the UEFA European Championship twice, but have never progressed beyond the first group stage of a finals tournament. Despite this, the National Side has boasted some impressive feats and victories. EN4NEWS looked back in history to pinpoint these as well as speak to the people who remember them most.


England 2 Scotland 3, 1967

Scotland became ‘unofficial world champions’ in 1967

We do not need to tell you that Scotland and England have a passionate rivalry across all sports. If you know an Englishmen we also probably do not need to tell you that England won the World Cup in 1966 – so imagine Scotland beating that same team the following year to become unofficial world champions? Magical stuff.


Scotland 2-1 Czechoslovakia, 1973

Once trailing in the game a second half comeback helped Scotland secure its first World Cup finals qualification since 1958. Although a World Cup finals drought of just over a decade may seem like the norm to you and I, a packed Hampden Park let celebrations boil on to the pitch in relief at the end of this one.


Scotland 3-2 Netherlands, 1978

Scotland are no stranger to qualification disappointment, but if they ever do get to a World Cup, they are no stranger to finals disappointment either. The 1978 Argentina World Cup was no different. However, the already eliminated Scots put everything into their final game beating a Dutch side that would go on to play in that year’s World Cup final – including potentially Scotland’s greatest ever goal scored by Archie Gemmill. Where was that in the first two games? A magnificent achievement non-the-less.


France 0-1 Scotland, 2007

“What a goal. What a goal by McFadden. Magic from James McFadden. He’s a genius again for Scotland, they’ve been suckered in the Parc de France.”

A 30 yard screamer from James McFadden sent Scotland top of their qualifying group having won consecutive games against the 2006 beaten World Cup finalists France. Amazing.


Although the team is certainly not the most prestigious in the world, Scotland’s football fans are known throughout the world.

The Tartan Army notoriously follow the Scottish national team throughout the world. Two Glasgow businessmen Ian and Alan Adie worked together with Keith Lumsden and the Scottish Tartans Authority to create the Tartan Army’s very own Scottish check in 1997, since then the band of brotherhood has grown without a nation.

Scotland’s fans are well known throughout football

Tony Fitzpatrick – a member of the Tartan Army – told us his recollection of their notorious initiation. He said:

“When I think about Scottish football, my Tartan Army initiation was probably my proudest moment. I can’t give it all away but it involves a lot of drinking, specifically a lot of alcoholic drinking. Your attire has to be polished and in top condition. If you’re missing anything like a sporran or your Sgian-dubh you’re punished with a forfeit. Then a senior member says his ‘piece’ about you. It’s a very humbling moment.”

The Tartan Army are not just known for their religious following however. Having won numerous awards for their charitable work, the following created two charities within Scotland – The Tartan Army’s Children’s Charity and the Tartan Army Sunshine Appeal. Both have gained notoriety for their work with disadvantaged children.

It is hard to imagine Scotland without football. The magnificent journey of the national side and the fame of the tartan army, can only be possible because of the formation of the SFA. So I am sure you will join me in wishing them a very happy birthday from each and every one of us.


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The Generation of Outrage

Is this generation too easily offended? Gregor Thomson discusses freedom of speech in the ‘post Weinstein world’.

In the last couple of months, it has been stated that many universities in the UK have restricted free speech with the creation of lists of restricted ‘trigger’ words and the removal of controversial books in libraries. Student unions in the UK also attempted to stop high profile speakers such as former UKIP leader, Nigel Farrage. Although many university spokespeople deny these claims, it still boils up a rising issue in politics and our society itself if the right of free speech is being threatened.

We are suddenly moving into a society of outrage and sensitivity towards offence. This dramatically threatens student’s opportunity for true and critical debate for fear of dangerous thoughts. It’s gotten to the point where universities are banning fancy dress and clapping. Yes, clapping. It’s okay to disagree with what someone has said or dislike the person who said it but we shouldn’t be trying to stop it from being said. This censorious approach to how we interact with one another can only end in the abolition of free speech. Of course, I’m not speaking about anti-Semitic, homophobic, victimised remarks or the generalisation of a certain group of people; however when you ban clapping in safe spaces to avoid people feeling nervous, you know we’ve got a problem. If we restrict people from voicing their true opinions, we could be impeding some important contributions to society, “some of the greatest ideas in human history have caused great offence” says Peter Tatchell, Human Rights Activist.

However, these restrictions have been bubbling to the surface for a long time, the so called, Social Justice Warriors have been harassing people by making allegations of sexual harassment. If I could remind you of an extreme example below.

A couple of years on and this leads me onto what Matt Damon was raged at for late last year, as seen below.

In the interview, Damon, says:

“There’s a difference between, you know, patting someone on the butt and rape or child molestation, right?”

“Both of those behaviours need to be confronted and eradicated, without question, but they shouldn’t be conflated, right?”

Now, what exactly has Damon said that’s so wrong? He states that child molestation and touching someone’s butt are different. Now, who could possibly disagree? He is not saying any of these assaults are acceptable, or tolerable. However, many took to Twitter to voice their predictable outrage at Damon’s ‘tone deaf’ statements.

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Source : Twitter

Milano started the #MeToo movement in October, urging people to share their stories of sexual harassment on social media.

Others voiced their outrage towards those offended by Damon’s remarks.

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Source : Twitter

Just last week, Phil Neville was scrutinised for a couple of tweets he posted over 6 years ago.  He tweeted on 1 July 2011:

“Relax I’m back chilled – just battered the wife!!! Feel better now!!!”

He later claimed that he was referring to a table tennis game. It’s a silly mistake to make but it’s just that, a mistake. Another read:

“Morning men couple of hours cricket be4 work sets me up nicely for the day!”

When asked why he failed to mention women, Neville replied:

“When I said morning men I thought the women would have been busy preparing breakfast/getting kids ready/making the beds – sorry morning women!”

Phil Neville was appointed England Women’s Head Coach in January. Image : Daily Star

These are clearly ironic, if you took those tweets seriously or were offended by them, fair enough. But, it’s good to remember this took place on Twitter, as Noel Gallagher would put it, ‘the playground of idiots.’ If you’re offended by something on Twitter, you shouldn’t be on Twitter, it’s full of offensive, controversial posts and outrage.

But this age of outrage and offensiveness is also part of something bigger. With the many brave women who came forward to speak truth about those in power, the disgusting, frankly weird acts some of these Hollywood moguls conducted, something that is rarely discussed is the effect these allegations have on young men in the western world. I’d just like to take the time to reiterate what I said before: I condemn any acts of sexual assault.  But some allegations can have damning effects on the careers of well-established men as well as those who are just starting to make it on the mainstream light.

Although, I’m positive many of the allegations made against those in power in Hollywood are true, I’m afraid we have to face the fact that people lie and SOME of these allegations may not be true, consequently damaging someone’s career and psyche. I think we need to be careful about who we condemn before we have all the information or hard evidence. An example of this comes from allegations that were made and spread by Twitter accusing Rob Damiani-the singer of rock band Don Broco-of inappropriate sexual behaviour with a female after a gig. Damiani spoke out to strongly deny the allegations. The alleged victim has fully retracted her claims, and the band are now looking to ‘draw a line under this whole matter’. The question to be asked is: what if this allegation wasn’t retracted? It is likely that a lot of people would’ve condemned Damiani’s alleged behaviour and his reputation would’ve been tarnished.

Don Broco was falsely denied of sexual assault. Image : NME.com

It becomes dangerous when we assume all men accused are guilty. As Jordan Peterson, Canadian Clinical Psychologist, said in an interview with the BBC:

“…we’re alienating young men- we’re telling them that they’re patriarchal oppressors and denizens of rape culture, and tyrants in waiting and we’ve failed to discriminate between their competence and it’s just awful and it’s so unnecessary.”

So why has this happened? Peterson argues it comes down to resentment:

“it’s people saying instead of looking at the part they play in making the world a dark and terrible place they blame something like the patriarchy and then assume that all the men who compose it are somehow malevolent tyrants…”

It’s alarming when we live in a patriarchal society and blame this on the men of that society and aim the sexual misconduct and assault others have committed on the young men of the western world. We are discriminating against men due to factors (gender) outside their control. Disenfranchised men are being left behind in this modern world. Although these views are perhaps controversial and an argument against the mainstream narrative, the power of free speech should allows us to be able to; listen to this alternative narrative, make an informed decision on how they view this argument, and debate it constructively and civilly.

If this assumption of men continues, we may well have male children growing up with no clue of where they stand in the world, their responsibility and how to work properly in the modern world. If we continue to restrict and threaten free speech, we are edging ever closer to a dystopian Armageddon.

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