International fortnights,doncha just love ’em? I know rabid football supporters who book their citybreaks around them,anything to avoid even hearing about them.

Its even worse now,with the advent of a new tournament,Nation’s League,that even The Bombe would struggle to decode.

I do understand that most players consider it an honour to represent their country,and I’m happy for them to do so. Of course,I’m not so sure that our country feels honoured by our representation-Jimmy McGrory got seven caps for his country,and don’t even start me on The Lisbon Lions.

Various Celtic players over the years have fell hard done by over the years;George Connelly and Stevie Murray declined future consideration,Jinky was treated abominably-put the cones out,wee man!-and Jacky McNamara even lashed out during his own “tribute”.

But my main gripe with international football is it’s irrelevance to the vast majority. And the dangers it brings. Few supporters care for it-I struggled to place half of the Scotland team on Friday,and only 20,000 could be bothered to turn up against the third best team in the world. Hell knows how many will bother on Monday against,erm,Albania.

If they were playing out my backdoor,I’d shut the curtains. Or turn on the sprinklers.

But the dangers are obvious too. Clubs lose three potential playing dates for every international break. Of which there are five per year. That causes a concertina effect in the playing season,as too many fixtures are crammed into too short a time. The season is way too full as it is. Plus,lack of familiarity with team-mates puts players a yard or so out of position at times. A danger in itself.

And that’s before we even discuss additional injury problems,such as Luke Shaw yesterday,or even our own John Kennedy.

No,sadly I conclude that international football is a four-yearly fiesta that is worth having. But spare me the preamble. And definitely spare me the qualifiers.



submitted by majoc


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