Standing tall for your country and other pish like that

So Scotland and their colourful fans will not be going to Russia next year.

According to the manager, the explanation can be found in the DNA of the ancient nation north of the Tweed.

Ironically, Gordon Strachan himself had a stellar career as a player because managers like Alex Ferguson looked at his ability, not his height.

Moreover, I don’t think that the gene pool that produced Baxter, Bremner, Law and the Lisbon Lions has anything to get their double helix in a fankle about.

If there is a gene for playing soccer (actually I think the very notion is risible) then it is certainly to be found in South America.

My vote for the best player of all time would go to one of two Argentinians:

Diego Maradona and Lionel Messi.

Two big strapping lads in fairness…

I have sat in a few post-match pressers over the years and the manager of the losing side can often come up with some bizarre stuff by way of excuses.

However, I have never heard one suggest that the way forward is a human stock breeding experiment to increase the height of a nation.

Perhaps the lack of stature explains why Gordon Strachan decided to leave James Forrest and Calum McGregor on the bench when Scotland was chasing the game last night.

I suppose having two dynamic attacking players with Champions League experience to call on would only be a boon if they were big.

Ah well…

During the Indy Ref campaign, a relative of mine in Glasgow told me that he would be voting “NO”.

He thought that an independent Scotland was a non-starter, “we’re too wee” was his reasoning.

Perhaps I picked him up wrong at the time…

Tonight my lads take on our Welsh cousins in Cardiff.

Even without Gareth Bale, I reckon the home side are favourites to prevail on the night.

However, this Irish side has proved capable of offering up an upset now and again.

That said, it seems a long two years since Shane Long blasted in the winner against the world champions.

The Germans were shocked and so were we!

Shane looked a forlorn figure when he was subbed at the Aviva in the last match against Moldova

As he trudged off I wondered just how many games it had been since the struggling striker had found the net and the answer, of course, was 42.

He is injured for the match tonight and that might be a blessing.

Shane is a decent hard working lad and he clearly busts a gut in the green jersey of Ireland.

It isn’t just the Welsh who are without their best player as Séamus Coleman our captain is injured.

In fairness, this is probably the weakest Irish team in 25 years, but we’ll give it a lash.

After all big Murph put manners on the Moldovans.

He’s tall you see…

Discover Phil’s dramatic play Rebellion