Monday, 21 April 2008

Saints go marching out

One of the first games I ever watched Dumbarton play involved us getting unceremoniously dumped by St Johnstone - 16 August 1980, 0-3 at Boghead Park, if you must so. Even so, I surely wanted the Saints to overturn Rangers in the Scottish Cup semi-final at the weekend. They must be gutted going out on penalties. St Johnstone put up a good fight on a poor pitch against a changed but determined 'Gers and almost grabbed it near the end of extra time. It would have been extraordinary to have two First Division teams in the Final at Hampden. As it is, one half of the Old Firm will be taking on Queen of the South and are they are naturally odds on to grab the Cup.

With the Blues certain to claim a Champions League place, most likely by winning the League title whatever happens against Celtic on Sunday, the Doonhamers will now follow in the controversial footsteps of Gretna by being a club from outside the top flight representing Scotland in the UEFA Cup next season. I understand why the SFA want to put a stop to this kind of thing. They think it is a further disincentive to other SPL sides who already know they cannot finish top. But it gives both the Cup and the aspirations of lower league sides and their supporters (like me) something to dream about. QOS deserve their day in the sun. I hope UEFA go on resisting the continual fiscal drift of the game towards the 'haves'.

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