the saying goes. (ieordies are Scotsmen with their heid kicked in and vice versa. so we've both got that little bit of respect for each other.'

Rather like his spirit. (iascoigne‘s legendary settse of humour has never been crushed by adversity. The boy whose school desk once collapsed during a maths exam after he'd fiddled with the bolts. later prompted lingland boss Bobby Robson to coin the famous phrase ‘daft as a brush‘. Who else but (lax/a could have a best pal named liivc Bellies. and who else would celebrate a goal by poking out his tongue and pretending to play the flute‘.’

.-\t lbrox. (iascoignc has discovered practical-joking soulmates in Ally .\fc(‘oist and Ian Durrant. lnevitably. our conversation was peppered with bttrsts of banter involving defettdcr (iot‘don Petric. assistant manager Archie Knox and. of course. Durrant. ‘.-\ll_\' and Ian are both very funny.‘ admits (lax/a. ‘lt‘s great to have jokers like that in the

‘I just go out and do the business and play the football I’m capable of. After a long lay-off, I’m starting

to play well again.’

dressing-room becatrsc they make sure the team spirit stays good.‘

(iascoignc. however. got more than he bargained for when making a bet with ;'\lc(‘oist and Gordon Durie that he‘d finish the season as Rangers top scorer. 'I shouldn't have done that with (iordonf he jokes. ‘lle’s stopped passing the hall to me. and now (‘oisty‘s started giving him the penalties. so I think they're on 25 qttid a headl'

:\ wicked conspiracy undoubtedly. but (iascoignc has never been one to shirk a challenge. Sure enough. that title-winning fiat— trick has raised the stakes. and at the time of writing. (iascoigne and .\lc(‘oist are both on nittetecn goals apiece. with l)urie just one behind. Looks like (lax/a might have the last laugh . . . yet again.

(hum: ’ll/re slut/lurked lifugl'tlp/l)‘ 0] Paul (iuy‘enigne by .l/('/ Stein is published (in ‘1 May by [fa/1mm lino/ts priced {5.99.

You’re booked:

referee Willie Young reminds Gascoigne who is boss


aving Grace

Facing tip to the firepower of Rangers in the Cup Final. French goalkeeper Gilles Rousset has rekindled the auld alliance with Hearts fans. He tells Lorin MeDougall about his taste for Scottish football and culture.

t’s l’ierrc's song at Celtic Park for Dutchman \'an llooijdonk. btrt at Tynecastle this season. the Rodgers and Hart classic ‘Blue Moon’ has been given a special twist by music-loving Jambos. ‘Roo-say. there‘s only one Roo-say.' they chant in ttnison. repeating the line over

and oy er again.



Rousset. was initially nonplussed:

The recipient of this

worship. goalkeeper "The first time. I asked myself “\Vhat is this song‘.’". btrt then I realised it was for me and l was \ cry proud. ldon‘t know why they love me. but it's a wonderful feeling to hear them sing “Rousset. Rousset. Rousset" at every game.' The fans‘ tribute is richly deserved. for although manager Jim lefferies has rightly been praised for giving youth its head and recruiting another cult figure in Italian Pasquale Bruno. Rousset's arrival. according to many experts. was crucial in transforrtting lleatts from relegation contenders to Others might fit the

stereotype better. btrt few keepers boast the albatross

(‘up finalists. eccentric wingspan and mongoose-like reflexes of the (ift Sin l’rcnch international.

The amiable Rousset‘s popularity also stems from his eagerness to integrate with his new surroundings. ‘\\'hen I came here. I didn‘t know what I‘d find.‘ he recalls. ‘But it was a good surprise Scotland is a nice country with lovely people. and the welcome was superb. Iiverybody at Hearts made a big effort for my family. my son. my wife and myself. so it‘s very easy to be happy here.

‘lidinburgh is a big city with many French restaurants. bttt I don't go to them because I know Scottish

instead. and I've tasted haggis and steak pies which

French food. I w ant to discover food are qttite good. I prefer to live like a Scotsman and learn about your tradition and history I'm learning golftoo,‘

llearts‘ gentle giant has also fallen in love with Scottish football. dispite fierce criticism from other quarters. ‘livery country has its own speciality.’ he argues. ‘ln l‘rance we have a passing game. and here people like movement. action and duels. Some games in France are quite boring. but not here. During a game. everything is possible and that‘s the reason why Scottish football is very exciting.‘

The unpredictability he refers to was vividly illustrated by last month‘s semi-final against .-\berdeen. .-\ frantic last ten minutes produced three goals. with .-\Ian Johnston‘s injury-time header sending the lidinburgh club through to its first major final since WM). ‘lt was a crazy game the last ten minutes were completely amazing.‘ says Rousset. Hearts supporters have waited a long time to have such at

‘There was a lot of tension. and the

big emotion. When there's a feeling of cotntnunion between the supporters and the players you want to

‘We have a good opportunity to write another page of Hearts history. The supporters have waited too long for a trophy and now it’s time to win.

hold onto that feeling. so I wanted to stay on the field after the game was over it was a fantastic feeling. fantastic.‘

Rousset‘s only previous experience of a ('up final was with Sochaus in l‘).\‘.\‘. (in that occasion. his team lost on penalties to a Met/ side which included former l)ons striker liric lilack. This quietly confident: ‘\\’e don’t want

time. the l’renchman is to be at llampden just to play. We want to win. arid we know we cart do it becattsc we beat them tw ice It will be a very hard game and Rangers are favourites. btit we have a good opportunity to write another page of Hearts history. The supporters have waited too long fora trophy and now it‘s time to win. We must play the perfect game and be very strong. bttt we can do it.‘

The Scout's/I ('tt/i l’i/tu/J Rangers v Hear/y is (1/ Halli/NIH! on Saturday lh' May. In /)t' It'lerivetl by BBC /.

The List 3— If) .\l;l_\' l‘Nfi 7