YOU don’t have to be a Freudian psychoanalyst to diagnose my Oedipal complex. Like so many slavering Scottish men of my generation, it’s all about my maw.

Alice Cosgrove was a superstar in my life and the greatest gift that England has ever given to Scotland. She was born the ­daughter of a disabled miner in the ­Cumbrian seaside town of Whitehaven and travelled across the Border after she ­married my dad, in the last days of the war.

Such was her luck, she spent the first years of married life in Muirton, a less than salubrious housing scheme at the back of St Johnstone’s old football stadium in Perth.

Scotland proved to be a test of her young resolve. When she ever talked about the first years of marriage, it was with a ­stoicism that few will now understand. She had moved in with her mother-in-law, a ­formidable old battleaxe called Granny May Reid, who like most people in Muirton only spoke Scots.

Keen to impress her jailer, my mum struggled to understand words she’d never heard before and yearned to return home to Cumberland where people did not “dicht the bunker wi a cloot”.

What probably saved her young ­marriage was not the arrival of kids, nor the bitter cold winters which iced over the rattling windows of the old tenements, but the noisy community of young people that hung around the ice rink only a few streets away.

While our local football club St Johnstone wheezed back into life after the war, the ice hockey team, the Perth Panthers, won the national ­championship for the first time in their history. My mum followed them to glory, fondly ­remembering boozy bus journeys to ­Paisley, Ayr and Kirkaldy, to play the Pirates, the Raiders and the Fife Flyers, in what were huge matches, free from ­sectarianism and big-city domination.

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Ice rinks were not just places for ­winter sports – they were a place of love and ­romance, the first discotheques in ­Scotland, where young couples skated around the rink to the latest hits. Back in the day, it was where The Beatles, The ­Supremes and T. Rex blasted out, ­competing with places like the ­Barrowland Ballroom for the hearts of young small-town Scots.

Ask anyone from Paisley, Perth or Ayr about the local ice rink and they will glaze over with teenage nostalgia.

It is easy to overlook the social role that ice rinks played in post-war Scotland and the risk that they now face in a changed and ungrateful world. We have reached a crisis point in the story of Scotland’s ­ice rinks and we are at risk of sleepwalking through their demise.

Ayr Ice Rink is scheduled to close in ­September due to the heightened cost of energy. It is the fourth ice rink to face ­closure in the west of Scotland as ­councils struggle to fund public ­recreation ­facilities.

Ice rinks are uniquely vulnerable to the chaotic energy market. High-standard ice needs to be maintained at a temperature that prevents power being switched off or regulated to conserve energy.

Some might jump to the simplicity that often marks ecology debates and argue that if a sport cannot conserve energy, then hell mend it. That may sound fair ­until you factor in the wider story of ­global warming.

The National: Scots curling star Bruce MouatScots curling star Bruce Mouat

No Scottish sport has been so brutally impacted by the warming of the planet than curling and ice-skating. One an ­outdoor sport, both were forced indoors as the ice melted.

Henry Raeburn’s now famous ­enlightenment painting The Reverend Robert Walker Skating On Duddingston Loch could not be imagined today – it is more likely to be a place where one of Ian Rankin’s bloodied victims is dumped rather than a gathering place for winter sports.

Historically, curling’s biggest event was the annual Bon Speil, when 600 teams from across Scotland converged on the Lake of Menteith to play out a ­magnificent North versus South ­encounter.

The lake itself, famously the only lake in a Scotland of lochs, is short and ­shallow, wholly unsuited to rearing ­monsters but perfect for curling in freezing-cold ­winters.

In the 19th century, the Bon Speil was an annual event over three days, but now it takes place periodically in the coldest of winters. Global warming has all but ­ended the great tradition and forced ­curling to survive in now-threatened rinks.

The knock-on effect for Scotland’s world-class curling teams is ominous. Last week in The National, Bruce Mouat, Scotland’s latest world champion and one of our most successful gay sports stars, talked about his concerns for curling, one of the few international sports where Scotland is unquestionably world class.

It always disappoints me when Scots ­dismiss or demean curling – it is a ­remarkable sport, rich in strategy and skill, like chess on ice as the cliché goes. Quite why curling is so marginalised in Scotland is itself a thorny problem.

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Some see it as a sport for teuchters with none of the angry urban passions of ­football. Others see it as parochial, despite it featuring as a prominent sport in Russia, Sweden, Norway, Switzerland, Canada and the US. No doubt, the self-defeating Scottish cringe has ­deepened that sense of servility.

Such is the marginalisation of curling within Scotland that few would even feign to remember Chuck Hay. In 1967, a year now synonymous with Celtic’s ­European Cup success in Lisbon, Chuck Hay’s Perth rink won the world ­championship, having secured the silver medal on three other occasions.

Hay was an innovator, a pioneer of the so-called Canadian style, when the curler slides along the ice deftly directing the stone.

Sadly, his name barely registers ­today, although he is curling’s equivalent of Kenny Dalglish or Jackie Stewart or Chris Hoy.

Television has a remarkable power to bequeath greatness. Hay was rarely on television and compared with the ­redoubtable Rhona Martin, few could even describe him.

Martin’s immortality hinges on that ­glorious final stone of the gold-medal match in the women’s curling at the Olympics in 2002. Now known simply “The Stone of Destiny”, Martin’s stone glided along the ice towards the house.

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The packed arena fell silent knowing that this final play would decide the ­destination of the title. Perfectly weighted, the stone curled gently and kissed the Swiss stone before stopping in the middle of the house to earn a 4-3 win.

The media could not resist the ­ordinariness of Martin’s story. At the time she was a 35-year-old housewife from Dunlop in Ayrshire who had ­taken up curling as a teenager, joining the ­Greenacres Curling Club in Howwood in Renfrewshire. She had never won an international tournament and was ­considered an also-ran in the sport.

A huge TV audience across the UK sat up into the wee hours to watch a thrilling final and an unassuming housewife win the gold medal.

How could we even countenance losing those moments of sheer national magic?

The current women’s world champion, Eve Muirhead, sounded alarm bells in a newspaper column last week, describing the current threat to figure skating, ice hockey and curling as “ominous”.

Although Muirhead has welcomed the Scottish Curling Board’s emergency working group to tackle the challenges, some seem monumental and beyond the scope of council finances.

Widespread fears are out there that the money to reverse the melting ice may be too little, too late. It will be Scotland’s loss and a very big loss indeed.