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Football: The perfect gifts for top Scots stars.

Byline: RAY HEPBURN

PREPARE please for one of the weeks of the year - the joys of Christmas Day followed by a full card on Boxing Day.

Family fun with the tree, lunch, presents, the kids and granny and then the pubs open again and the therapy of screaming blue murder at the opposition.

But before all that I've come up with my own list of gifts for some of Scottish football's top characters, just in case they don't get what theyt want in their Christmas stocking.

Jim McLean - A Straight Jacket.

Alex McLeish - A Conjuror's Kit.

Martin O'Neill - A Manchester United Top.

David Taylor - A Manager.

Dundee United Board - A Miracle.

Chris Robinson - The Euro, to further confuse Hearts' finances.

Geoff Brown - A Full Recovery.

Sean Maloney, Ian Murray and Maurice Ross - A Scotland Cap.

Ally McCoist - Respite.

A Shot At Gory - An Audience.

Ian McCall and John Lambie - A Medal.

John Hartson - A Diet.

For all those who feel left out this year - do not feel let down - the lawyer insisted. Merry Christmas.

ONE of the problems at this time of year are unusualy high stocks of alchohol in the house and keeping them away from erring hands.

Certainly it seemed there was a problem at FIFA during the week when over a hundred coaches voted for Luis Figo as World Player of the Year.

Those that made David Beckham runner-up ahead of Rivaldo, must have had an early dash at the Christmas brandy.

ALEX Smith produced the managerial performance of last season when he turned Dundee United into Premier League survivors.

He, along with Maurice Malpas, John Blackley, Paul Hegarty and Tommy McLean worked wonders in turning round the mess left by former chairman Jim McLean.

But now we learn that McLean approached his successor Doug Smith three times earlier this year, asking that his former friend be sacked.

Dundee United's fans should embark on any action necessary, up to and including a boycott, to insist that McLean is never again allowed over the door.

RANGERS and Celtic are right to be annoyed about the language used this week by Aberdeen's bold new mouthpiece, Keith Wyness.

It seems that a few good results have the Dons Chief Executive straining to get over the trenches and start taking pot shots at the Old Firm.

It is true that Celtic and Rangers have been charging around, headless chicken- like, sending in applications for every comptition that does not bear "Scotland" as a prefix.

However, to paint them as tarts in Sauchiehall Street hitching up their skirt at every passng league, was perhaps a little inappropriate.

Especially when you consider the personal habits of one of his recent predecessors, which made his job vacant in the first place..

SPOTTY, drunk, teenage striker to sleek, sexy, sophisticated chairman's wife at the club Christmas party.

"Hey babe, do you know what's over my head?" raising his eyes toward the mistletoe above.

"Any witty remark!"

CAPTION(S):

UNSETTLED: Alex Smith; WEIGHT TO GO: Celtic striker John Hartson
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Copyright 2001 Gale, Cengage Learning. All rights reserved.

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Title Annotation:Sport
Publication:Sunday Mirror (London, England)
Date:Dec 23, 2001
Words:503
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