Rod Liddle

Euros 2021: Scotland have exposed the pointlessness of ‘taking the knee’

Euros 2021: Scotland have exposed the pointlessness of 'taking the knee'
A Scottish fan watches his team lose to the Czech Republic (Getty images)
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Scotland 0 Czech Republic 2 (Schick as a parrot, 42,52)

Have you ever visited Carlsbad, now known as Karlovy Vary? I’d always had a faint hankering to live there, being hugely enamoured of what we once called eastern Europe, but I’m told it’s full of the most ghastly Russians these days. Maybe Slovakia is a better bet, somewhere near the Tatras.

A Hungarian diplomat once asked me:

'What do you call a Pole who speaks Hungarian?'

The answer – a Slovak. I like the fact they all hate each other, too. You should hear some Austrians when they talk about Slovaks. The mask slips and they begin to echo an earlier, arguably controversial, Austrian-born politician.

Poor Scotland. You’d need a heart of stone not to die laughing. Their first major tournament in 23 years and they were revealed as a kind of bottom six second tier side. Derby County, maybe, or Rotherham. 

We are enjoined to commend them for their fighting spirit. I do not think they lost a 50-50 ball in the entire game; they battled for everything. But at this level it ain’t enough. 

The forward line couldn’t score in Ayia Napa and the defence was jittery and dim. They lost to a top six second tier side – Norwich City, say – who could, in the end, have had more. 

The two goals were of Premier League quality from the classiest player on the pitch: Bayer Leverkusen’s Patrik Schick. The first a majestic header, the second an absolute blinder, a shot from the half way line when he saw Scotland’s goalie was off the line. The bids will be coming in for him. But maybe not for the goalie.

No kneeling by either side. Scotland are only kneeling on Friday, when they play England, out of 'solidarity' with their opponents. So it’s nothing about racism at all. But then it never was. 

To those halfwits in the press who castigate those opposed to kneeling, calling them racist – are the Scots all racist? And the Czechs and the Italians and the Turks and the Dutch and the Ukrainians? None of them kneel. It is becoming embarrassing.

The Scottish fans kept singing the tune of 'It’s a Heartache', Bonnie Tyler’s old hit. I don’t know what words they put to it. Probably 'It’s a heartache'. 

Yes, I’ll be laughing on the other side of my face when they beat England.