I mentioned on the show today that, in my opinion, the best approach to Scotland's crunch World Cup qualifier with Holland on Wednesday was pessimism. This was born of the hideous, depressing experiences I have had in my life of actually supporting, optimistically, Scotland's national socceristas in their quest for glory.
It works this way: Assume abject defeat, and a proud, slight defeat with flickers of talent becomes tremendously pleasing. Assume abject defeat and a draw inculcates rosy euphoria. Assume abject defeat and victory is the greatest pleasure anyone can know outside of a 1974 Gordon and Macphail Ardbeg (from the cask).
Assume abject defeat and get abjectly defeated, and you lose nothing. You are in a state of emotional and spiritual balance.Your yin has been well and truly yanged.
Now this may all sound a tad...well, defeatist. In fact, the head of Radio Scotland, Jeff Zycinski, gently chided me today in an email, though I am certain that in his heart of hearts he knows the power of pessimism, or negative optimism. His argument is that pessimism does not play well on the radio. Which may well be true. Like Scotland not playing well in away games.
But the power of pessimism is in its ability to protect passionate hopefulness. If we cower in doom and gloom, it is only to guard the sliver of wishing-for-victory that has been battered so many times in the past. It's healtheir.
The other thing to do is stop my wife, Susan, watching the match, as whenever she does, Scotland lose.
It's scientific. I can prove all this. Come away the Tulip Eaters! All together, Scotland! Assume Abject Defeat! Or Assume Abject Annihallation! AAA!