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Juat Cos; Don't boot foreigners.. boot out their boots.

This week a great debate has raged through football. What is the best way forward for the Scottish game - turnips or Swedes?

Should we import Scandinavians or get behind our own diminishing fund of players?

Players' Union chief Fraser Wishart has no doubts.

He's chucked out his old ABBA records and has turned his back on bacon rolls. Fraser thinks Rod Stewart should have kept his hands off Britt Ekland, and put his faith in Scottish talent.

Raith Rovers manager Iain Munro profoundly disagrees. He believes that foreign players would bring style to any line- up - that's why he tried to sign a Swedish porn Star.

In fact, the only club that is united on the subject of Continental imports is Rangers ... Becks, Stella Artois and Budweiser, they drink the lot.

Scottish football fans have always taken foreign players to their hearts. They've even manipulated the names of imported European players to make them feel welcome in Scotland.

Joachim Bjorklund of Rangers is now universally known as `Jocky', Celtic's Johannes Edvaldsson was always known as `Shuggie', and when Morton signed Bent Martin, the fans were too polite to use his first name.

If the big European teams were conned into signing Scots players, I wonder if they would be crass enough to reverse the trend.

How might Wilhelm Dodds perform in a Bayern Munich strip? Or Tommasino McKinlay at Juventus? God knows what they'd call Brian Irvine if he signed for Benfica - does anyone know the Portuguese word for haddie?

Dundee United and Morton have always been keen on Continental football. Old timers from the 60s will remember the splendidly named United star Finn Dossing.

Let's face it, the name wouldn't endear him to the current Tannadice management team - the Brothers Grimm are notoriously opposed to anyone they think is dossing.

If they could wind back the clock, the Tannadice youth policy would be based on 8-year-old chimney sweeps, cleaning the stoory lums of Lochee, before they got to spend their wages on a game of 5-a-side.

The one thing that foreign footballers have brought to Scotland that winds me up is the current vogue for brightly coloured boots. I know it's supposed to be hip and make the game more exciting, but frankly they look total prats. No one has carried the coloured boots with dignity.

Paoli Di Canio may be the toast of the Jungle but he looks like a reject from The Romper Room when he takes the field. So far, he's worn white boots and emerald green boots. Look out for his new pair, green with red-arrows. Ideal for sky-diving.

As for my own team, St Johnstone, words fail me. The most humiliating moment in the club's history took place last Sunday.

Losing in a cup final to Stranraer? Not quite. It was Paul Sturrock's decision to play a panto dame in midfield.

Attila Sekerlioglu's bright yellow boots were a painful symbol of how woeful St Johnstone's performance was. I thought we'd bought an Austrian international, not a reject from The Banana Splits.

Do us a favour Superglue - get rid of the lemon slippers, you look a complete left- flanker. And I'm not talking tactics.

It's bad enough getting beaten by Stranraer, but last season St Johnstone were turned down by Swedish striker Peter Norren who thought there was more future in his father's fish shop.

Where will it end?

Killie wanted to sign a sweeper from war-torn Bosnia, but he couldn't settle in Cumnock. Ayr United tried to sign an Eskimo - but he was scared to rub noses with Gordon Dalziel.

Let's be honest, foreign stars have lightened up the grey absurdity of Scottish football. Who can forget Hans Eskillsen of Hearts, the man with the worst haircut Edinburgh has ever witnessed.

Some achievement if you think about it. After all, Auld Reekie once played host to Dave McPherson's feather cut. It's also the home of Kevin Harper's dread- locks. What a barnet - even Frank McAvennie wouldn't smoke that lot.

Now the transfer system is in tatters, the argument over Continental imports will run and run.

Whether it's good for the game or not, the fans will always put short- term interests before the long-term development of the Scottish game. Instant gratification wins out every time and it always will.

Would you rather sign a Danish diddy now - or wait six years to get one from your own youth team?

No sweat, Brett.

Stuart Cosgrove presents BBC Scotland's Off The Ball.
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No portion of this article can be reproduced without the express written permission from the copyright holder.
Copyright 1996 Gale, Cengage Learning. All rights reserved.

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Title Annotation:Sport
Publication:Daily Record (Glasgow, Scotland)
Date:Nov 11, 1996
Previous Article:SWITCH ON!; Kiss and Tell.

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