Things we know about Scottish politicians.
1. They can’t organise elections when they are called.
2. They can’t organise matters when they don’t call elections.
3. They can’t follow basic instructions on how to vote when electing presiding officers and their deputies.
So, if you were a governing body in Scottish football, would you entrust the draw to a couple of politicians?
Of course not.
Sadly, the Scottish Football League did, for the draw for the semi finals of the League Cup (or CIS Cup as we must call it to avoid upsetting people that pay up to 50 pence to have their name associated with the grand old trophy). Now for the non-football fans among you I should explain that it is traditional at the semi-final stage to have 4 teams. The opportunities to screw things up with only 4 teams in the draw are not large. It is unlikely that one ball will be omitted from the bag. And given that only one member of the Old Firm reached the semi finals the old stand-by of the heated ball or square ball (to ensure an Old Firm final) is not necessary.
Now from the draw there are only a limited number of permutations:
Team 1 if drawn first can only be drawn against Team 2, Team 3, or Team 4. This, by a process of elimination, means that the other two teams will meet in the other semi final. What could possibly go wrong?
As the SFL discovered what can go wrong is you hand it to politicians, Alex Fergusson (not that one but the Presiding Officer) and Wee Eck. Now, Wee Eck merely grinned and pulled balls out of the bag. Fergusson though is incapable of reading. Thus, when the numbers emerged he declared that Hearts were to play Dundee Utd, Rangers to play Aberdeen. However, there was one problem – the innumerate Fergusson had confused the numbers of Aberdeen and Hearts.
But, this was not revealed at the time. Some four hours later, after Hearts and Dundee Utd had opened negotiations to plan for the semi final, the SFL confessed Fergusson’s idiocy and indicated that Dundee Utd would instead play Aberdeen. The full story is here provoking a typically forthright comment from Mr Eugenides.