Media, Scottish Football, SPFL

A Rare Compliment

Good Evening.

I wish to take this opportunity to say something complimentary about the Evening Shark-Jump. In fact, I will call it ‘The Evening Times’ on this occasion, such is my good humour towards Glasgow’s most remarkable newspaper.

I know what you are thinking: “you’ve gone too far this time, Comrade Clumpany. A joke’s a joke, but now you are just taking us for fools. It’s unbelievable that they produced something worth reading”.

Well, I am afraid I have to disappoint you. Because I rather enjoyed this piece by Matthew Lindsay [no, I really am NOT taking the p*ss].

League Cup-winning Ross County manager Jim McIntyre pays emotional tribute to late Celtic great Tommy Burns

Obviously it would be difficult to take umbrage with anything which talked positively about the late great Tommy Burns. However, I quite liked the article and thought credit should be offered to the Evening Times where due. Especially for the benefit of those journalists who fret about me only reading their Sevco material 😉. [I am sure that the person in question won’t read this, but just in case they do, I thought I should try and alleviate their sleepless nights…].

I am aware that other newspapers carried similar stories, but I read it in the Evening Times first and was struck by the novel experience of thinking that their article was a decent read.

Here’s a flavour of the piece:

“JIM McIntyre today revealed the role the late Celtic great Tommy Burns played in Ross County’s historic League Cup triumph. McIntyre masterminded County’s stunning 2-1 win over Hibs at Hampden on Sunday – a result which meant the Dingwall club lifted the first major trophy in their 87 year history.”

“[McIntyre said] ‘I think if Tommy was looking down at us winning this cup he would have a smile on his face without any shadow of a doubt. He would probably think: ‘Ooof! I never saw him being a manager!’ Seriously, though, I only worked with Tommy at Reading for 18 months or so. But he made such a big impression.

It wasn’t a great time in my career. He signed me for good money and I kept picking up injuries. I didn’t do great for him at all. But I learned a hell of a lot. In fact, my biggest coaching influence was Tommy Burns. I hadn’t done any coaching badges until I worked with Tommy at Reading.

Tommy just had that knack of knowing how to make people better. I don’t just mean as a footballer, but as a person as well. And he did it without preaching. He was a fantastic human being and I was really privileged to work with him. It was a pleasure to get to know him and the way he worked.’

‘Listen, he was a firebrand as well. If you didn’t do your job right he would rip you to shreds. But it was passion. The next day he would pick you back up and you would go again. In terms of coaching and getting the ball down and play with width and get people wanting the ball. His message was not to be scared of the ball. Get on it and go and make things happen. Go and make it happen. 

Whatever your role was within the team he wanted you to go and make things happen. He was annoyed if people were shirking their responsibility. If you were a wide player he wanted you to take a man on. He was fantastic. He had so many human qualities in abundance. In abundance. He was always very, very humble.'”

Well said Jim!

And of course, the OTHER thing I liked about the article was that it marked Ross County winning their first major honour on Sunday. Their League Cup triumph was an absolutely cracking story which can go alongside the recent cup wins of St Johnstone and ICT as great adverts for Scottish football, and proof that dreams can (eventually) come true for all Scottish football fans.

Well done the Staggies! I was cheering for Hibs but could not begrudge you the win and the celebrations!

Naturally, the Evening Times couldn’t completely resist venturing into Shark-Jumping territory:

“County and their near neighbours Inverness Caledonian Thistle, who won the Scottish Cup last season, are two of the clubs which have benefitted the most from the absence of the Glasgow club [Rangers and now Sevco] from the top flight.”

On another day I would go to town on the gross insult to other teams, and the pandering to Sevconian entitlement contained in those comments. Clearly if the sport is being played on a level playing field we should be seeing a wider ranger of clubs winning trophies. And that is a good thing! It doesn’t make Scottish football a ‘Mickey Mouse’ enterprise. Quite the opposite, in fact.

However, on this occasion I will opt to compliment The Evening Times for bringing us some nice comments about Tommy Burns, and for prompting me to  congratulate Ross County on their League Cup win. Our national sport is all the better for it!


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