Desmond Kane

  • Smells like team spirit

    With the winning, comes the celebration. Gary Hooper's decisive late goal for Celtic in a tumultuous 2-1 success over Dundee United at Tannadice prompted some truly astonishing scenes of merriment on Tayside, a stirring sort of Sunday when Dundee became the city of jute, jam, journalism and jumping around.

    Celtic never rejoiced as much when they won the Scottish Premier League at United's home on the final day of the season two years ago, but it was not to everyone's liking. The conduct of an animated Neil Lennon was berated by the opposing manager, but such criticism is nothing new on such

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  • Scotland can revel in pleasurable Prague

    Scotland's visit to the venerable city of Prague provides unbounded opportunity. The national team will arrive in the Czech Republic to park the bus, while the fans park their backsides in the boozers in and around the country's storied capital. Team and supporters in perfect unison, certainly. Good times all round? Perhaps.

    Visiting such a seat of learning in Eastern Europe provides the chance to meander down memory lane with the Tartan Army, a doughty, haggard, merry and somewhat hairy band of football explorers. Being a wide-eyed, partially hammered footsoldier with the Tartan Army abroad

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  • No laughing matter for Strachan

    When the
    wins dry up, so must the wisecracks. Gordon Strachan is marking what must feel
    like a somewhat gruesome first anniversary as a manager on Teesside.

    It has
    hardly been comparable to a year in Provence. Amid sliding standards, there are
    some fans who would like to see Strachan tossed into the River Tees during this
    autumnal break in domestic proceedings.

    Strachan's
    well-meaning attempts to restore Middlesbrough to Premier League health has
    become a trying experience for the North East club in the opening three months
    of the season.

    A couple of
    3-1 losses to Watford and Derby and a 2-2

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  • Ferguson’s final snub a crying shame

    Timing is
    everything in football. Barry Ferguson appears to have made an art form out of
    delivering the two-fingered salute with as much effect as he can dictate the
    mood of a match.

    The
    Birmingham City midfielder sounded the death knell on his career with Scotland
    over a year ago when he publicly flicked the V-sign during a World Cup
    qualifying game against Iceland at Hampden Park, but there remains room for
    telling deliveries far from the madding crowd.

    Ferguson
    was banned by the Scottish Football Association for his conduct on a fateful
    night in Glasgow. At the age of 32, he clearly feels

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  • What good is Boyd on Scotland’s bench?

    The gilt wore off the gingerbread some time ago, but that is hardly a reason not to feel guilty about Scotland's continuing propensity to come up short in competitive climes.

    A 0-0 draw with Lithuania in the opening Euro 2012 qualifying match was hardly the Good Friday agreement the country's wistful national coach Craig Levein envisaged. Improved performance, shame about the result.

    Poring over the consequences of the latest adverse outcome to besmirch the country's standing, Scotland are suddenly in a bit of a pickle at the outset of what has the potential to quickly become a regrettable

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  • Lennon needs time despite struggles

    A haircut for the manager then a close shave for his team.

    Celtic sit top of the Scottish Premier League on goal difference after a scruffy 1-0 success at Motherwell, an outcome that saw the freshly cropped Neil Lennon snag an 11th straight SPL win as manager.

    These are admirable enough returns under the Northern Irishman, even if grizzly happenings in Europe have overridden the club's domestic product.

    The frightful 4-0 beating Celtic sampled in Utrecht on Thursday was enough to leave an angst-ridden Lennon tearing his strands out, the sort of gruesome experience which has become commonplace

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  • Transfer activity a sign of the times

    Celtic's continuing virility in purchasing
    several shiny new faces has seen their money go far in Mexico, Israel, South
    Korea and Sweden, but this remains something akin to a summer of discontent for
    the Glasgow club. Despite their heritage, it feels like some professionals,
    particularly a selection of headier names from England, would rather sign on,
    than sign up.

    The noughties have gone, but Celtic and, in
    spells, Rangers, in the moments when they have escaped the financial
    straitjacket of a £30m debt, continue to meet roadblocks in their longing to
    upturn niceties. In times of general

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