The Scottish game from the Borders to the Highlands & Islands and beyond
You may remember one scene from Cool Runnings in which one of the Jamaican bobsleigh teams declared he was feeling 'very Olympic today', only to be met by strange looks from those around him.
If you said the same thing in parts of Scotland this summer, you would more than likely be met with a similar response.
It’s fair to say the thought of the Olympic Games coming to the UK, specifically London, hasn’t exactly got the juices flowing in Scotland, and this indifference has been reflected in the meagre ticket sales for the football matches being held at Hampden Park.
Up to last month, it’s believed as many as two thirds of tickets for the eight matches in Glasgow were still unsold. This week’s confirmation that thousands of school children will receive free tickets speaks volumes for the apathy.
The build-up to the Games is coming to a crescendo, with the biggest sporting event the UK has ever seen now just days away. Scots, however, appear to be uninterested in the whole spectacle.
One factor could be the absence of the hugely controversial Team GB football team from the fixtures taking place north of the border. However, the hugely successful USA women’s team - current World Cup holders - are playing in Scotland twice.
Spain are also playing in Glasgow, with three members of the Euro 2012-winning team - Jordi Alba, Juan Mata and Javi Martinez - all involved, as well as Manchester United goalkeeper David de Gea. Yet the fans aren’t interested.
The selection of Scots for Team GB has been a huge bone of contention, with only two players from north of the border – both women – considered for either team.
Stuart Pearce, the men’s coach, didn’t pick any at all, but Kim Little and Ifeoma Dieke have been selected for Hope Powell’s side.
The Scottish FA made it clear from the outset they were opposed to Team GB and wouldn’t encourage any player to become involved, fearing it would jeopardise their own identity within world football.
Some players would have viewed it as a chance to play in a major international tournament, and with Scotland failing to qualify for one since the 1998 World Cup, chances like this don’t look like coming around too often.
Perhaps this is the thinking of Welsh veterans Craig Bellamy and Ryan Giggs, who, like the current Scottish crop, haven’t qualified for a major tournament themselves and would see this as their one and only chance.
However you look at it, it almost seems Hampden has become a reluctant host, with many locals point blank refusing to enter the Olympic spirit, yet the crowds to see the Olympic torch when it came to Scotland indicated there is at least some interest.
But for many Scots, and possibly even the SFA, the sooner it’s out of the way the better.
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