WHEN I first heard that Paul Gascoigne had been nominated for the Scottish Football Hall of Fame (HoF) my immediate thought was that this would all end in tears. Now thanks to Gazza’s innate good humour, there are plenty tears being shed – of laughter.

His tweet of him scoring that brilliant 1996 goal against Scotland under the heading ‘NO HARD FEELINGS #SFA’ had me in stitches, while his other tweet, ‘I don’t need to be in the Scottish Hall of Fame to know I was one of the best’ hit the funny bone as well as the nail on the head..

With a couple of tweets, Gazza has neatly turned the whole farrago of nonsense around and it is Scottish football, and particularly the Scottish Football Association, which is once again a laughing stock. All because somewhere in the selection process for the 2018 inductees, somebody took leave of their senses and by the time the issued was ‘fixed’ it was too late to do anything about it or stop the story.

Let me make my position quite clear – for various reasons, I do not think Paul Gascoigne should have been nominated for the HoF at this point in time. For goodness sake, the man is struggling with alcoholism and anyone like me who has had a friend or relative dealing with that disease knows just how erratic an alcoholic can be, even if they appear to be in remission and sober. It looks as though Gazza’s doing well at the moment, and everybody who loves football and common humanity must hope that he maintains his sobriety.

But he is always only one drink from disaster, and some eejit wanted to invite him to a boozy dinner where temptation would literally be on every table. Nuts.

Sadly Gazza has also acquired a criminal record and has been exposed as a domestic abuser, and due to his fame – I will come back to that word – his faults were magnified a thousandfold. What message does it send to young footballers if Gazza is now seen to enter the pantheon of heroes? Oh and I know some of the other inductees were no saints off the pitch, but none of them even came close to Gazza in the baddie stakes.

Judged solely on football grounds, Gazza could make it into the HoF. There is no doubt that Gazza was a great player for Rangers. He lit up the Scottish football stage like no other English import until Steven Gerrard arrived at Ibrox in the summer. But the question the HoF committee and the SFA must ask themselves is what exactly is the definition of ‘fame’? There’s no doubt Gazza is famous, but what for exactly?

He spent fewer than three seasons at Ibrox and had the good sense to bail out before the end of the 1997-98 season that saw Rangers’ nine-in-a-row run halted by Celtic. Yet for my money, Brian Laudrup and Terry Butcher, who are in the HoF, made greater contributions to Rangers in their era – so did Jorg Alberz, Ronald de Boer and Craig Moore in his two spells.

In his time at Rangers, Gazza was as infamous as he was famous – remember him ‘booking’ the referee and the flute imitation? It was also no secret at Ibrox that his troubles with alcohol were worsening the longer he stayed with Rangers. Still, we remember all that skill, those great goals and forgive him for putting us out of Euro 96. On balance in football terms he should get in the HoF.

Judged overall, however, and given his continuing dependency on alcohol, now is not the time for Gazza to be inducted.

While I am at it, and bear in mind I do not know the 2018 inductees, there are several glaring omissions from the HoF. If Gazza can be considered, then why not Willie Johnston? After all if Willie Woodburn, the last player to be banned sine die for indiscipline, was one of the inaugural inductees in 2004, why not wee Willie, because in football terms he was a true great.

A Rangers player to take Gazza’s place? Look no further than Davie Weir, our joint seventh most capped Scottish internationalist.Of the six with more caps than him, Darren Fletcher can’t qualify because he is still playing while the others are all HoF inductees. If Weir is not inducted on Sunday night at Hampden I will personally start a campaign to get him in.

How about Jimmy Wardhaugh and Alfie Conn Snr of Hearts? Willie Bauld is in so why not the other members of the Terrible Trio – six caps between them was an utter disgrace for men who truly were famous.

I will tell you one last funny thing about this year’s HoF inductions. One of the highlights of the night will be a special tribute to Alex McLeish. You can take it that his being so honoured was agreed long before the Scotland debacle in Israel. Come on, you have to laugh.