Tom English

BBC Scotland's chief sports writer

Analysis and opinion from BBC Scotland's chief sports writer

About Tom

Tom is BBC Scotland's chief sports writer. He is a... Read more about Tom English six-time winner of the Scottish feature writer of the year award and has twice won Rugby Book of the Year at the British Sports Book Awards. His columns and radio documentaries have been short-listed for media prizes in Scotland and the UK.

He has been a sports journalist for 25 years, the highlight being an afternoon spent with former world heavyweight champion Joe Frazier. He joined BBC Scotland in 2014 and writes and broadcasts on many different sports.

Scotland squad

Who should Scotland pick against Ireland?

Read full article on Six Nations: Pack puzzles & who is lucky 13? Who should start for Scotland?

When Scotland got dumped from the World Cup by Japan, everybody knew that change was coming in its wake. We just had no idea of how much change.

Three players have retired - Greig Laidlaw, John Barclay and Tommy Seymour - and one has been suspended - Finn Russell. Injury has robbed Scotland of Darcy Graham for the opening game against Ireland on Saturday.

Gregor Townsend and Finn Russell

'Mediator needed in Russell-Townsend saga'

Read full article on 'Mediator needed in Russell-Townsend dispute before it's too late'

When the dam burst and Finn Russell departed the scene earlier in the week this was the brief, but knowing, response from one Scotland player: "No surprise."

The comment spoke to a situation that some say has been developing for a while now, not just something that happened in the bar of the team hotel on Sunday night or, for that matter, in the Twickenham dressing-room at half-time in the Calcutta Cup in March.

Mark Dodson

'Dodson has the money but won't escape the flak'

Read full article on 'SRU chief Mark Dodson has the money will never escape the flak that goes with it'

It's hard to know what caused the biggest tremor in Scotland this week - the winds of Storm Brendan whipping around the country or the thud of Mark Dodson's wallet landing on his desk at Murrayfield.

Already on a hefty annual salary of £455,000 a year for running Scottish rugby - more than three times the wage Nicola Sturgeon gets for running Scotland - there was the revelation that the chief executive at Murrayfield pocketed an extra £478,000 in bonuses, accrued over three years and paid in one lump sum in 2019, bringing his grand total earnings to £933,000, a wad of cash so thick it would choke an elephant.

Scotland failed to progress from the group phase at the World Cup

'Scotland are a team that needs to get brutal'

Read full article on Six Nations 2020: 'Scotland are a team that needs to get brutal'

It's not hard to imagine Gregor Townsend spending the months since a dismal World Cup roaming the highways and byways of world rugby in search of a Scottish qualified beast or two to up the nasty quotient in his Six Nations pack.

If, in the deepest corners of Afrikanerland, he managed to locate a loosehead bruiser with a reputation for cruelty and a granny from Kirkintilloch then he's kept it quiet so far. We live in hope that Hamish van den Berg, the hitman of Potchefstroom, will be unveiled as a Scotland player any time now alongside his freaky 8ft ball-carrying cousin, Murdo 'I run through walls' du Plessis, but we shouldn't hold our breath.

Hearts are five points adrift at the foot of the Premiership

'Stendel has no time for niceties as Hearts scrap for survival'

Read full article on Hearts: 'No argument for maintaining the status quo at Tynecastle'

Listening to the anger of the jilted three at Tynecastle has been a surreal experience.

Christophe Berra, Glenn Whelan and Jon Daly have all spoken about their anger and their hurt at being told they're no longer in Daniel Stendel's plans at Hearts, Berra saying that Stendel lacked respect, Whelan saying that the manager threw him under the bus, Daly remarking at the weekend that Stendel's move to get rid of him was embarrassing.

Old Firm fans

Old Firm acting as small-time squabblers

Read full article on Celtic & Rangers: Old Firm clubs acting as small-time squabblers

When Celtic issued their plea for consistency and fairness in the wake of Ryan Christie's ban for grabbing the genitals of Alfredo Morelos in the Old Firm derby last month, their words begged a few questions.

How much consistency are they looking for? How much fairness? And what are they prepared to do about it beyond re-entering statement wars with Rangers, two giant clubs who through their incessant tit-for-tat carping are revealing themselves as small-time squabblers.

James Tavernier and Callum McGregor

'Rangers making Celtic wake up to title danger'

Read full article on Rangers making Celtic wake up to danger as title race takes a twist

It is worth taking a closer look at Rangers' opening goal in their 2-1 win at Celtic Park on Sunday, scored by Ryan Kent and illustrative of the very serious title credentials Steven Gerrard's team now carry with them.

We think of how it all ended, the excellent Borna Barisic playing it into Kent and the midfielder sweeping it first-time past Fraser Forster, but it was how it started that made it such an impressive thing.

Greig Laidlaw

'Undervalued Laidlaw deserves tributes'

Read full article on Greig Laidlaw: Scotland scrum-half was undervalued but repeatedly instrumental

First John Barclay, then Tommy Seymour and now Greig Laidlaw. The conveyor belt of Scotland retirements continues to whir. That's three players with a combined total of 207 caps all announcing their departure from the international stage in the space of a few weeks.

Laidlaw's decision was expected. In the spring, Gregor Townsend had hinted that his scrum-half was thinking of calling it a day after the World Cup with Laidlaw, himself, more or less confirming it before a ball had been kicked in anger in Japan. He's 34. Now is as good a time as any to bow out. Let the younger guys get on with it. Laidlaw has done his bit.

Celtic & Rangers

'Old Firm not just flat-track bullies'

Read full article on Europa League: 'Celtic & Rangers show they're not just flat-track bullies'

At the final whistle at Ibrox, Alfredo Morelos' first emotions were those of frustration and not celebration. After time was called on a game that saw Rangers progress to the last 32 of the Europa League as an unseeded team courtesy of a late equaliser from Young Boys, the Colombian marched straight off the pitch and straight up the tunnel. He wasn't in a mood to linger.

You have to presume that, once Morelos had a few moments to get over the annoyance of the rather fractious endgame, he would have seen the big picture. Rangers made it out of a group that few would have given them much hope of getting out of when the draw was originally made.

Rangers' Alfredo Morelos is left frustrated

Houdinis in Hoops led by Forster torment Morelos

Read full article on Rangers 0-1 Celtic: Houdinis in Hoops prolong Alfredo Morelos' Old Firm torment

When Ryan Jack buried his head in the embrace of his manager, Steven Gerrard, in the aftermath of Sunday's League Cup final at Hampden, he might have been able to shut out the sight of Celtic in raptures - but not the sound.

The din will ring in his ears, and in the ears of many, for quite some time. All losing finalists experience disappointment, but this went beyond that. It was a dejection borne out of the most painful of missed opportunities, the new gold standard in defeat being snatched from the jaws of victory.