Sunday, May 25, 2008

Football etc.

The search for more gainful employment has kept me away from here of late. There has also been a lot of football to watch, as the seasons in various countries draw to their close. It has been a happy month for myself, having seen Celtic wrap up a third successive Scottish Premier League title, their first three-in-a-row since 1974. Despite this the supporters' discontent with Gordon Strachan is likely to cause him to step aside during the summer. In France, St-Etienne reached Europe for the first time since 1982, something that seemed unlikely in March, when they lay fifteenth in the league. Their bitter rivals Lyon won their seventh title in a row and also beat Paris Saint-Germain in the French Cup final last night, their first ever win in that competition.

Yesterday I watched the gallant Doonhammers from Dumfries, Queen of the South, give Rangers an awful fright in the Scottish Cup final. The third division side came from two down to equalise and at one point they looked like they might cause an upset until Kris Boyd scored a second to give Rangers a consolation prize. Later on there was the dull spectacle of Ireland against Serbia in Giovanni Trappatoni's first match in charge. The most remarkable thing about the match was how similar to Ireland under Steve Staunton the team were. I suppose that the players may be granted some indulgence at the end of the season but Serbia were the more fluid and more threatening side and were it not for Andy Keogh's spectacular volley in injury time would have claimed a deserved victory. The goal, impressive as it was, didn't quite warrant the reactions of Trappatoni and Marco Tardelli, who got a little carried away. Less theatrics will be needed come September. And, finally, Sligo Rovers move to fourth in the League of Ireland (yes, I still call it that). Can we hope for European football next season?