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Scotland greats: Denis law (left) and Jim Baxter talk football
6 The List 2-15 Jun 1995
Scottish soccer is in crisis, dogged by poor international results and left with little other than the memories of better days. Anxious to pull the game’s socks up, the SFA has commissioned an independent review body to expose the rot in Scottish football. But love is blind, especially when wrapped in a football strip and the nation’s passion for football endures. That irrational obsession is at the heart of two celebrations of the beautiful game.
It’s ofﬁcial, Scottish footballers are able to laugh at themselves while the " nation watches. Kathleen Morgan takes a terrace seat for a quiz show
destined to expose the humour behind the sport’s grim image. Illustrations
by Willie Rodger.
he dour face of Scottish football is about to be given a good kicking as some of the sport’s greatest and most notorious ﬁgures pit their wits against one another.
A Game Of Two Halves. a revolutionary new quiz show created by Scottish Television, will single-handedly attempt to put a smile on the face of some of the sport’s heroes and antiheroes. ln thirteen half-hour bouts, football doyens will be thrust into a studio arena under the gaze of their fiercest critics — the fans. Locker room secrets will be rudely unlocked and age-old prejudices that dog the nation’s favourite game will be ousted. The essence of this show is irreverence.
Scotland and Manchester United footballing legend Denis Law will be in the dug-out with his opposing team captain, comedy actor and star of Rab C. Nesbirt. Tony Roper. Each week, they will be joined by a guest teammate from the world of football. The cast list is a rogues’ gallery of the Scottish game. Among them, Ally McLeod, who led the nation to frenzied ecstasy and utter dejection as Scotland’s manager at the 1978 World Cup ﬁnals. Charlie Nicholas, Celtic’s prodigal son, dubbed Champagne Charlie for his extra-curricular escapades in the 19803. Former Rangers player turned media man Derek Johnson. The incredibly resilient former manager of seventeen clubs including Scotland and Manchester United, Tommy Docherty. And Mo Johnston. the Celtic star who threw his hoops in for a true blue strip, making him one of the few catholics to be signed by Rangers — and attracting a hail of sectarian abuse from both sets of fans.
Tonight the series’ Old Firm bash is being recorded at the Scottish Television studios in
Cowcaddens. Celtic manager Tommy Burns is joining Roper — one of his club’s shareholders — and Rangers and Scotland goalkeeper Andy Goram is nudging elbows with Law. In the referee’s chair is Scotsport and Extra Time presenterJim White. attempting to prove there is humour behind a game renowned for its seriousness. if not its sobriety. This is the sixth show to be filmed in three days before a live audience in what has proved a
punishing, but by all accounts thrilling schedule.
This match was
always going to be special and even the sudden withdrawal of Rangers manager Walter Smith the day before could not dampen the excitement. The production team merely shrugged their shoulders and arranged Goram as a
substitute. Only the scriptwriter was panicking, forced to
tweak his Old Firm jokes during a frantic day’s ﬁlming. On the studio floor watching the ﬁnal preparations before kick-off is series producer Bob Tomlinson, also .responsible
for K irsty and Scottish Reporters. Somewhere above him in the . '