30 Day Challenges… Day 13
Been far too busy recently to do these but here we go again with “A Team That Is A Guilty Pleasure”. It’s a sad fact of life in Scotland that this is a guilty pleasure, but the national team are mine.
There are many Scotland fans who see the national team as their chance to get out into Europe. Usually supporters of the smaller teams in Scotland that don’t get to play in Europe every season like Celtic or Rangers. They tend to bring their bitterness about the big teams with them, so admitting you’re a Celtic fan while among the Scotland support isn’t advisable.
It’s not really good the other way round either. A lot of Celtic fans don’t have any time for the Scottish national team for one reason or another. The institutional bias that caused so many Celtic greats of the past to miss out on a number of caps for their country has left a very bitter tastes in the mouth. While that doesn’t happen these days – indeed the Scotland squad is usually made up of whatever Celtic and Rangers players are Scottish and a bunch of players who play in England – there’s still plenty who remember it and plenty more who know of it. The fact that it’s recognised by much of the Celtic support that the SFA still have that same institutional bias – albeit in a less detrimental manner to the national team than before – obviously has a lot to do with it. As does the close ties between Celtic and Ireland, which tends to send a lot of Celtic supporters down that national path.
International football doesn’t sit too well with club supporters these days either. Seeing players getting called up to the national squad – away from the clubs – means a lot of fans try and get through the international breaks hoping none of their club’s players pick up an injury. Not that you can’t get injured playing for your club, but at least then you feel like it was part of your club’s game.
So why is it that when Scotland games come round I’m still there? Because it’s my country. Because that’s where it all started for me. I have Irish ancestry, but it’s not the country I call home. I always hope they do well, but it’s just not the same feeling I have as with my own country. The institutional bias and the morons of the other teams that don’t think I should be there… to hell with them. They’re the ones in the wrong, not me, so why should I give up MY country to morons like them? That would be admitting defeat to them and giving them what they want.
When I think back on this season, one of the main highlights for me is the Scotland v Spain game. Now, we lost 3-2, but at one point we were 2-0 down. Thanks to some wonderful football – mainly from the Rangers players Kenny Miller and Steven Naismith – we got it back to 2-2. I was delighted at the time. The fact that it was Rangers players didn’t matter. As long as they’re playing for Scotland they’re just the same as me.
I wish more people thought like I did. I wish the SFA was better than it is. Until they do and until it is, the sad fact is that supporting my country will remain a guilty pleasure.