Amidst the outpouring of petulant fury – so much like the behaviour of their favourite team out on the park – and desperate wailing from all across Scotland’s press corps at the “conduct” of our captain, it was excellent to see Michael Stewart on the BBC last night bringing common sense and a rational outlook to the discussion.
It’s not for nothing that supporters from all over the country like this guy.
Last week, when Alex McLeish’s pals were lining up to offer him solace and defend him over that appalling result in Kazakhstan, Stewart was one of the very few who said that it was time for a change, and he made sure to point out that it couldn’t start and end with the manager being sacked.
Stewart has always come across as an intelligent guy, a guy capable of reasoned discussion. In case you’ve missed it, that’s a profoundly rare quality amongst some of the hacks.
Take Tom English, for example; his contempt for anybody who’s not working on a news desk is undisguised.
Neil Cameron cannot get through a day without turning the flamethrower on, although he more often than not ends up using it on himself.
Jackson is passable, but gets into it too much with the yahoos.
Stewart’s social media feed is much more interesting. He can hold a debate on any number of subjects, with intelligence and wit. I find his disgust at the Brexit process to be right on, for openers. I think he’d do very well commentating on other than football.
But what I like about him most is his sense of fairness and his total refusal to kiss up to any one club or manager.
He is a proper independent thinker, and that is reflected in his comments. Doubtless there are times when I will profoundly disagree with his take on things, but I will never, not once, have any cause to question his motives.
Last night, he was asked what he thought of Brown’s alleged misconduct and as usual he refused to do what was expected and which others apparently found easy; he offered a more measured review of the events and incidents and concluded that Brown actually did very little wrong over the course of the game.
He took issue – ever so slightly – with the celebrating in front of the Ibrox fans at the end, but that was small stuff which happens all across the game.
It doesn’t usually end in such a complete breakdown in discipline from one team.
Stewart refused to blame Brown for that.
He was one of the few who didn’t.
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