WHAT do you call a Scotsman at the World Cup final? The president of the Scottish Football Association, of course.

Alan McRae is the ultimate blazer of the game in Scotland, a man who worked behind the scenes for many years as an assiduous committee member and who is well-known for his network of friends both within and without football.

He may have only been involved in amateur and Highland League football before becoming vice-president then president of the SFA, but as a building contractor he knew much more than most about the realities of business and since he was elected president three years ago the SFA have at least made money. The structures have also been altered and McRae led the SFA board when they brought in a new chief executive, Ian Maxwell, who shows promising signs of at least being human.

The appointment of Alex McLeish as Scotland manager also happened under McRae, so we must reserve judgment on that matter until McLeish gets us into the Euro 2020 finals, or not as the case might be.

Now in his late 60s, McRae is surely winding down to retirement from football and will be very much an extra at the final in Moscow on Sunday to which every national association president in Fifa has been invited. Had the invitation come personally from Vladimir Putin, I would have urged McRae not to attend, at least until the truth about the Novichok murder in Wiltshire is known – or maybe it is, and that’s really why Boris Johnson resigned in cowardice rather than face the music for making false allegations.

I do not grudge McRae his reward in Moscow one bit, for while he is there he could do us all a big favour and get a hold of his equivalent at the English FA – oops, sorry, Prince William isn’t going – or some other senior English blazer and knock one piece of stupidity on the head.

The idea that England and Scotland should apply jointly to host the 2030 World Cup is a non-starter. Yes, between us we have more than enough stadiums to co-host the World Cup finals even if the number of teams is expanded to 48. But let’s deal with the reality, particularly the political reality, of such a plan, which, I am staggered to learn, has actually been taken seriously in some places.

FA chief executive Greg Clarke has apparently been doing the tour of the smaller nations in Uefa to drop a hint or two of an English or pan-British bid, but can I just point out the bleedin’ obvious – that England’s last bid for the current World Cup saw the FA get precisely one vote other than their own on the executive committee which made the decision, albeit the committee was later shown to be infiltrated with corruption.

Now, all 211 members of the FA Congress will make the future decisions on who hosts the finals and the choice of Canada-Mexico-USA to jointly host the 2026 finals was at least made transparently. However, the English FA in particular are not very popular in global football and I just can’t see them getting the support of Uefa never mind other countries.

The main problem of a “pan- British” bid is Political with a capital “P”. As the Tory Government leads us to a shambolic devastating Brexit, the name of the United Kingdom will be mud across Europe. You can say “it’s football” and nothing to do with politics, but the reality is that football is going to be damaged by Brexit, not least because free movement of players will end.

The fact is that Scotland might not even be part of the UK by 2022, when the decision on the 2030 finals will likely be made. Independence is an eventuality for which I pray, but will the English nationalists then stomach a joint bid with the departing Scots?

The SFA and FA would need the support of the UK and Scottish governments for their joint bid, and I can assure you that will not be forthcoming as easily as the associations might think, though a lot will depend on just how far England go in this current World Cup – win it and all things would be possible from a Government that would be grateful for a distraction from Brexit.

So, as a sensible man, can Alan McRae please extricate the SFA from this pan-British nonsense? I would love to see the World Cup finals played on the island of Great Britain again, but a bid for 2030 is a no-hoper.

In the meantime, I hope the 12 rescued young Thai footballers and their coach can take up Fifa’s invitation to attend Sunday’s final. I am pretty sure it was their footballing fitness that helped get them through their ordeal, and what an inspiration it would be for young and old footballers everywhere if we could see the boys on the pitch on Sunday.