Thrown in at some ridiculous hour on a Sunday night, when the only people likely to be abroad are insomniacs, rebellious teenagers and the unemployed, is the once loved Sportscene.
It’s difficult to love it in the year of 2014, admittedly. Our country’s highlights package appears to be disenfranchised, and comprehensively detached from its HD cousin, Match of the Day.
Now that the season has started again, for many of us, our weekends are orientated around the game. Anybody with a molecule of passion for the sport will somehow schedule their weekend to accommodate MotD.
Almost four million people per week watch the meticulously prepared Gary Lineker and chums sit and discuss millionaire footballing prima donnas. Everything is perfect, even down to the application of the pundits’ make-up.
However, this programme’s spot as the inspiration for all football highlights shows isn’t exactly benefiting its less indulged Scottish cousin.
Up in late-night Glasgow, we’re greeted by an over-enthusiastic, occasionally manic, anchor man and a video quality of which my Iphone would be ashamed.
The appeal isn’t exactly enhanced by the thousands of empty seats at every ground, either. (little wonder they’re empty: we in Scotland see our miniscule attendances in direct correlation to ticket prices. And, in fairness, it probably is – Inverness Caledonian Thistle charge an O.A.P £25 a game).
On the technical front, the show is restricted to just the two camera angles, and laboriously emphasises slow motion to highlight the crucial moments in a match.
If you’re looking for comparisons, then, I’d say Lineker and Co have requisitioned the Bentley Continental, while we poor Scottish souls are left with an old Ford car that‘s destined for the breakers’ yard.
Furthermore, watching the big time on Match of the Day has set a false precedent; youngsters grow up expecting all football pitches to be coiffured to the same standard as Lineker’s receding hair-line.
But, hey, we still have enthusiasm and that’s something we hope is never lost.
What’s the harm in the BBC firing Sportscene forward to nine o’clock on a Sunday, even eight? Countryfile, or whatever The House is, doesn’t exactly whet my appetite – at least that way we’ll be able to watch the grainy footage without consciously checking the time on our wrist.
How are we meant to even endorse the sport to our youngsters, when half of them are already confined to their bedrooms, a dose of algebra homework prioritised by spoilsport parents ?
There is room for other improvement: a decent HD camera certainly wouldn’t go a miss. It would actually benefit our reasonable standard of commentary and make St Mirren v Hamilton look a tad glossy – we would at least look the part without always actually being it.
For youngsters, with their rainbow colour assortments of football boots, that might just be the trick for the turn-on.
We crave in Scotland for our football to receive the attention it deserves. The English seem to have their worldwide television appeal as their backbone, BBC Scotland needs to get its fundamentals sorted.
PICTURE COURTESY OF: Dan Farrimond