Scottish football now gets little media attention outside Scotland, and no wonder. The national side hasn’t qualified for either the World Cup or the European one for donkey’s years. Celtic and Rangers, the Old Firm of Scottish football, may have rich histories and Celtic fans never tire of reminding us that it was the first British club to win the European Cup, but that was a long time ago. Harold Wilson was Prime Minister, the Vietnam war was raging and the Beatles were still together. Nobody had yet walked on the moon.

Back in the 1960s Scotland still produced great footballers. Few of the leading English clubs were without a handful of Scots. There were three or four in the famous Spurs team that won both the League and FA Cup. Matt Busby’s Manchester United had Denis Law and Paddy Crerand. Don Revie’s Leeds United was driven forward by Billy Bremner, and  there were more Scots than Scouse accents in the Liverpool dressing-room in the days of Bill Shankly and Bob Paisley. Now you scarcely need all your fingers to count the number of Scots playing for the top clubs in the English Premiership, and the last great Scottish manager of an English club was Sir Alex Ferguson. Sic transit and all that is one’s feeling about Scottish football.

This week Heart of Midlothian, usually known just as Hearts, sacked its manager Craig Levine, once, briefly and unsuccessfully, manager of the Scotland team. Hearts’ owner, Anne Budge, popular for having rescued the club from financial disaster, did this reluctantly, having shown Mr Levine more loyalty than most managers receive. But Hearts have recorded only one win in eighteen games. So he had to go.

Hearts are a club with a great history. There’s a memorial outside Haymarket Station in Edinburgh which you may pass on your way to the Hearts ground, Tynecastle on the Gorgie Road. It honours the Hearts team who volunteered en masse on the outbreak of war in 1914. When I was a boy in the 1950s Hearts were a glamour team. In the days when teams fielded five forwards, their two inside men and centre forward were known for their brilliance and goal-scoring feats as “The Terrible Trio” – Alfie Conn, Willie Bauld and Jimmy Wardhaugh. I watched them with awe when they came north to play Aberdeen at Pittodrie. Bauld was one of the finest strikers I’ve ever seen, but he got only a handful of Scottish caps. The competition was then very stiff.