Dundee manager John Brown came out last night with a frankly horrendous statement of intent for Scotland ahead of their World Cup 2014 qualifier with Wales on Friday.
The former Rangers tough guy explained to reporters how he would instruct Scotland boss Gordan Strachan to set his team up against the Welshmen, with specific reference to Gareth Bale.
“Do you know what you do? With the pace that he’s got and the close control... he can’t run without legs,” said Brown.
“I’m sure it’ll be passed around the squad.”
In the very same week in which Newcastle United’s Massadio Haïdara had his leg smashed into by Calum McManaman inciting a cacophony of comment and conjecture over reckless and dangerous challenges in football, Brown seems to have missed the point.
Whilst Scotland and Wales alike will be up for the game and neither of the two sides will mind a scrap, I’m sure a player like Aaron Ramsey could do without this kind of barbaric rhetoric, given the horrendous injury he endured thanks to a player and a team who make playing football feel like a Roman battle.
Likewise, Tottenham rely so heavily on Bale – not just his goals but his assists and his creative play, not to mention his determination and leadership qualities.
He is their talisman and he is who they look to when they need to pull a result out the bag and with several gruelling fixtures ahead of them in the Premier League and the Europa League, the last thing they need is a Gareth Bale with no legs, as Brown so eloquently put it.
The SPL is a notoriously physical game as it is – that is not to its detriment either, most of the time. However, it is people like Brown who give the Scottish game and Scotland a bad name.
Yes, get close to the opposition, deny them space, close them down and make it hard for them but how dare he imply that any professional footballer ought to ‘take the legs’ of another. That is inciting violence.
image: © Jan S0L0