ONE of the most uplifting stories the year came from the world of men’s football, often a conduit for fear and loathing. The Gala Fairydean striker, Zander Murray became Scotland’s first senior footballer to announce that he was gay.

The story took me back more than 20 years to another time on another newspaper, Scotland on Sunday. I was then in charge of a group of young and talented writers who were keen to break the hitherto tired and predictable mould of Scottish football writing.

We ran campaigns to end male-only golf clubs; force the Scottish Rugby establishment to bring the game into state schools and stop the sell-off of playing fields throughout Scotland.

We also sought to highlight homophobia in senior Scottish football and hoped that we might be able to speak to a few people – either on the record or unattributably – about this.

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Our writers pursued this with some vigour only to be told at every turn that we were wasting our time. I got the impression that some people were fearful that just by mentioning the words “gay footballer” they would be putting themselves in jeopardy.

And so, we had to drop our campaign. Statistically, we knew there must be more than a handful of gay footballers, but we were told that anyone admitting to this would be hastening the end of his career and making himself vulnerable to years of homophobic abuse. It was utterly depressing and damning.

I wish Zander Murray all the very best and hope that he may have inspired other professional male footballers to come forward.

SNP reaction to Celtic banner

There was little that inspired in the performative antics of some Scottish politicians in the midst of coverage of the Queen’s funeral.

What should have been an occasion marked by quiet reflection and dignity for those who admired Elizabeth quickly descended into a witch-hunt targeting those who opted to dissent from this elaborate festival of mourning.

Ian Blackford, leader of the SNP’s Westminster group, was surely unwise in allowing himself to be lured by Sky News into condemning a few Celtic supporters who displayed a banner at last week’s game against St Mirren.

The banner didn’t mention the Queen but targeted the royal family with the use of a profanity. Supporters of a number of other clubs expressed similar sentiments.

This may or may not have been the time or place to express such sentiments, especially as there are ample opportunities throughout the rest of the year.

But some of the reaction was hypocritical and reeked of opportunism.

Why only the Celtic fans, a club founded by Irish people fleeing a famine which was exacerbated by forces representing the Crown?

Mr Blackford has helped foster a hostile atmosphere in his SNP group towards women who have bravely stood up for their sex-based rights in the face of threat and intimidation in the gender reform debate.

He should be getting his own house in order before condemning anyone else.

The Queue

The narrative of “The Queue” to see the Queen’s body will surely be turned into a British Rom-Com where Bill Nighy will feature at some point as a divorcee who finds his ex-wife in the queue and embarks on a journey back to marital bliss.

The deal will be sealed when Nighy produces a photograph of them in the first flush of love attending a street party to celebrate the Queen’s Silver Jubilee in 1977.

All those who attended their wedding will also have joined the queue and as their stories intertwine Her Majesty’s beneficent presence will shine on them all as they get together for a right royal knees-up down the Old Kent Road. There could also be a Scottish version but this would have to be much darker. There would be alcoholism, tribal violence and a black sheep returning to the fold.

Peter Mullan would play a desperate dad fighting his own demons and trying to keep his dysfunctional family together over a 10-day period as the Queen’s funeral proceeded in the background.

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Another queue came to mind last week, but this was of an entirely different character. It featured in this tweet by the Labour MSP Paul Sweeney. “Taxi queue on George Square, 00.41 on a weeknight. The effective collapse of night-time public transport and taxi provision in our country’s largest city has now become a national embarrassment and a serious threat to Glasgow’s economic recovery. Government doesn’t seem to care.”

Some years ago, Stephen Purcell then Labour leader of Glasgow City Council introduced taxi-marshals and encouraged more drivers to work the ranks in the small hours. He was especially concerned with women’s safety. If the drivers failed to do so he would simply issue more taxi licences.

The queues, especially the notorious one on Gordon Street across from Central Station, were reduced overnight.