Good Afternoon.

Sometimes you just have to stand and applaud the Scottish Sports News Writer of the Year: 

I will leave it to you to decide the basis upon which you would like to applaud Keith Jackson for that particular tweet.

Personally, I opted for a slow and sarcastic handclap…

Yes he was still banging on about the Scotland team’s delayed flight from Tblisi, which meant that preparations (and rest time) for the crucial upcoming game  against Germany were delayed.

Clumpaneers will remember that this incident – which could be hashtagged #PlaneGate, but which I prefer to call #DepartureGate – has already occasioned some angst in the mainstream media.

And following his piece in yesterday’s Sunday Mail, Gordon Waddell has today followed up with an article reporting Gordon’s Strchan’s apparent concern:

“The SFA made no official comment last night but it’s understood the manager wants questions answered at the de-brief for the double header later in the week.

It’s believed the extra day Strachan wanted at the front end of the trip, to acclimatise to both the heat and the three-hour time difference, meant the cost of keeping their original plane on standby was prohibitive

An SFA source said: ‘You’d have to pay a serious premium to keep a plane on the ground for that long – in the region of £500,000 – so it’s normal practice to have another plane fly in.

“It was scheduled to be in Tbilisi six hours before our scheduled departure but the problems in Amsterdam caused the delay.'”

But back to Keith Jackson, who has REALLY gone to town on this story.

Keith Jackson: Arrogant, complacent and inept – Stewart Regan and his men continue to let our game down

The tweet posted at the top of this tweet was preceded by four others:

Surely “Football Association of Ireland”?!

 Keith does seem particularly irked by this shambles, doesn’t he?

You might say “disproportionately so”.

I hope it isn’t prompted by a lack of sleep resulting from…errr…a delayed flight…

As I said yesterday, it really is quite striking that of all the issues over which the Record’s Finest could choose to take the SFA to task, they have selected the logistics of a Scotland team flight.

Granted, it does all look a bit amateurish.

And if the sports pages feel that the governing body isn’t giving the national side the best chance of success, then they should certainly feel free to call them out over it.

However, the fact that this accosting of the SFA is so glaringly unusual is highly instructive. We all know there are all sorts of issues about which the SFA should be challenged.

Issues which go to the heart of the way our game has been run and continues to be administered.

Issues which pose the biggest question of all: is the Scottish National Sport being run on a level playing field?

I am sure Keith knows this. He hears it every day on Twitter [Hint Keith: people might keep mentioning these issues because they feel there is substance to them which the media could usefully prove or disprove in a series of interesting stories…].

Furthermore, being a well-connected sportswriter at one of Scotland’s most prominent newspapers – Keith probably gets to hear far more about what goes on (and has gone on) in the game than most.

And because of all this, it really is laughable to see him poking fun at people raising the ‘Sevco’ issue [a convenient shorthand for a multitude of familiar issues] when he has just tweeted about

“Failure to realise the deeper issues inside the SFA is inexcusable”; and

“Tight fisted incompetence of those who are supposed to be running the game”.

You might almost wonder if he is having a laugh at our expense.

But no one associated with the Record would ever do that, would they? 😉