My first World Cup report from Westminster, for the Daily Record
The World Cup doesn’t start until today but already we’ve had a controversial refereeing decision.
Like Willie Johnston being sent home from Argentina in ‘78, SNP Westminster leader Ian Blackford left the Commons chamber claiming to have been the victim of a great injustice.
But he left with the satisfaction of scoring a brilliant victory - even if he was given an early bath by the ref, sorry, Speaker.
Until now it has been hard to generate interest in the Torys' Brexit constitutional insult to Scotland.
Months of Mike Russell statements, Downing Street summits, overwhelming rejection by Holyrood, yet the whole season was a goalless draw.
With the Brexit bill in the Commons for the last time, the Tories were going to win.
So when the ball fell at Blackford’s feet in the 90th minute, he made a run for goal.
The rest was like an Ally MacLeod fantasy of Brexit negotiatons.
Blackford shoots, he scores, cheers from SNP terraces, but he is red carded for defying the ref.
For the middling midfield general it is his finest hour.
He is carried shoulder-high by his team, who forget to take the ball away with them.
He is man of the match, the shot is replayed for the rest of the tournament, even though Scotland isn’t in the competition.
Then we wake up, and nothing has changed except English MPs joshing that when it comes to the World Cup, it’s all “SNP”.
That’s short for “Scotland Not Playing”, and it’s as true at Westminster as it is for the World Cup.