Not for the first time this season, the coverage of Scottish football attempted by Sky Sports has been something of a hot topic this weekend. My favourite moment was the commentary after Leigh Griffiths’ good goal against a very hard-working and well-organised St Mirren side. Do take a moment to savour it!
Listening to that funereal assessment you are left with little choice but to conclude that the commentators could have saved themselves a lot of time and breath by simply saying “it was shite”.
I often feel that Sky’s coverage of Scottish football has very little to do with Scottish football in 2017, and everything to do with Sir David Murray-era Rangers(IL) and Celtic. Their coverage – right down to the repeated mentions of the ‘Old Firm’ – just screams of seeing the entire national sport through the prism of a ‘contest’ which disappeared in 2012, and which isn’t coming back in any way, shape or form. Not even via the cunning expedient of an Ibrox-based tribute act.
Which brings me to the main point I planned to cover in this blog. The element of Sky’s coverage this weekend which seemingly attracted most comment was their studio panel for Saturday’s Sevco v Hamilton Scottish Cup quarter-final tie.
You have to wonder whether Sky even has the self-awareness to reflect on how this might look to viewers of a non-Sevco persuasion.
I’ll leave you to ponder that yourselves.
The presence of these two Rangers* men (and indeed the resulting standard of punditry on offer) made me question quite what lengths Sky might go to to deliver a staunchly Rangers*-orientated panel of pundits in future…
“Good Afternoon, my name is David Tanner. Sky Sports is here at Ibrox today for Rangers* versus some other team. Let’s face it, you aren’t really bothered who the other lot are, so we’ll forget about them. Although we might say they weren’t as good as the mighty Rangers* at the end of the match. Regardless of the final score.
But what about Rangers*? Well it is brilliant to have both halves of the Old Firm* back* in the top flight – as the Dalai Lama, the UN Security Coucil and the regulars at the Louden recently said in their joint statement.
However, today is all about Rangers*. We are using a larger studio than normal because we have an extended panel of top pundits to give you all the insights you need into Rangers*. And they will all have a little chuckle if some terrible refereeing decision goes Rangers’* way.
So, our guests this afternoon are:
Bill Struth’s hat.
A foul committed by Graeme Souness in the late 1980s.
A DVD of Ally McCoist’s funniest bits on ‘A Question of Sport’.
A jar of water from the actual toilet in which Rangers were presented with the European Cup Winners’ Cup in 1972.
The Chairman of the ‘Staunch Earplugs Company’ whose fine products have been blocking out the Billy Boys from journalists’ hearing for decades.
A piece of manure – still steaming – from King Billy’s horse.
And of course, Paul Gascoigne’s imaginary flute.
We were hoping to be joined by an actual £10 note spent by Sir David Murray in response to a Celtic fiver, but sadly it hasn’t arrived in time.
But we have just been joined by another old friend who was thought to be missing. Yes, it’s the Daily Record’s Gary Ralston’s lost relationship with Rangers*. ‘Lost relationship’, it is particularly good to see you ‘in person’ rather than on posters appealing for help with the search.
Right, that’s our panel. Let’s talk about just how fantastic Rangers* are. Who would like to answer that?
‘Steaming pile of manure’, why don’t I come to you first?”
Such a fine panel must surely make it worth having a subscription to Sky Sports.
NB Remember folks, it’s just a bit of fun…