Chick Young's view on Scots playing for a Team GB

By Chick YoungBBC Scotland football pundit
Stuart Pearce and England manager Fabio Capello
Pearce (left) is likely to pick most of his players from the England ranks

To GB or not GB, that is the question.

The London Olympics and its attempt to hi-jack all sporting life of this island nation has the Scottish Football Association hierarchy nervously pacing the room.

It is an understandable condition when you are a little concerned about your future.

And so it should be if Team GB finally embraces players from Scotland. It will be the moment Ife has dreamt about: the fly at last in the spider's web.

I'm not sure you can blame the players, wooed by the prospect of representing a united Britain in what is the biggest multi-sport event on the planet.

But are the Olympics bigger than the World Cup? Probably not and definitely not for the beautiful game.

In fact, in terms of the Games, soccer is nudging synchronised swimming and small-bore shooting for recognition.

And that's the rub really. The price for taking the quick fix of London may well be the foresaking of the future of an independent footballing Scotland.

We will forever pay the price of one brief romantic encounter.

Celtic winger James Forrest
Celtic winger Forrest has been invited to consider playing for Team GB

Fifa's argument is simple and, from a certain perspective, understandable: one passport, one team. If Britain can play once in united style then it can do it all the time.

And don't refer me to the guarantees of the fork-tongued president Sepp Blatter, who has pledged the continuing independence of Scotland, Northern Ireland, Wales and England in the wake of London.

I wouldn't trust the old rogue if he told me the day after Friday was Saturday.

Furthermore, he won't be there forever, although admittedly sometimes it feels like that. His successors will come and go with no regard for a promise that might just as well have been written in the sand with a currency as enduring as the arrival of the next high tide.

But of course players must be allowed to make their own choices, to wrestle with their own consciences, or indeed - in many cases, I suspect - to plough happily on without a second thought.

As surely as I plead for the future of our national football team then they have a right to embrace all that Team GB stands for and promises them.

But this is not football at the highest level. It is, with the peppering of two or three over-age players, ostensibly an under-23 tournament.

Stuart Pearce, manager of the England Under-21 team, is the Olympic Team GB men's football coach, an understandable decision given that the nuts and bolts of his selection will come from the players he knows well with three lions on their shirt.

The SFA's decision to allow England to get on with it was the courteous and politically correct thing to do. And neither is it wise for the association to attempt to ban such as Steven Naismith and James Forrest from accepting selection.

We do not quite yet live in a dictatorship.

In the end, this is about opinions, of course it is. You cannot order someone not to be British just as you cannot demand players forsake everything just to protect Scotland's independent football state.

But the players should be told: be seduced by Team GB and, in the fullness of time, the Tartan Army will be a forgotten regiment.

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