Eduardo Paolozzi “As Is When” (1964)

October 19th, 2018 § 0 comments § permalink

Scotland Away Kit

October 23rd, 2017 § 3 comments § permalink

Following Scotland’s sadly predictable inability to make it to the World Cup playoffs, and Gordon Strachan’s leaving, the question of ‘who next?’ is inevitably being asked by every Scotland fan. What should also be of great concern is ‘what next?’ for the away shirt – Scotland has a long line of (sometimes) memorable and joyful away kits, and this is a rare Scottish national team tradition that I would like to see continue. What follows is a short analysis of the last 30 odd years of Scotland away shirts, and my suggestion for the next. Home shirt analysis will follow at a later date.

Being in my mid 30’s, I will only go back so far as I can remember. My earliest away shirt memories are of Mexico ’86 – a simple reversal of a classic home shirt, with thick bands of shiny, and less shiny, yellow polyester. The thick horizontal stripe is an underused shirt design, and stripes are a regular Scotland away shirt design trope. In ’86, this was memorably and daringly used on the shorts as well as the shirt – this has not been repeated. I do feel an away shirt should have a real colour clash with the home (which is why I’m not a fan of white away shirts, as there is already white in the home shorts) so the bright yellow is good here. But, there is a bit of design laziness in maintaining the same design composition as the home shirt. I guess the mid 80’s was a little before the mass buying of football shirts, and the away kit may not have been deemed economically viable enough to justify a fancification of design. I’ll give this kit 6/10.

Willie Miller – Israel v Scotland 1986

The away shirt from 1988-1991 continued with the yellow, and the stripes, but mixed things up a bit. with white and a bit of navy blue. Thin and thick stripes, but unusually, one thick band across the chest to leave space for the badge and manufacturer logo. I really love this shirt – it’s simple, well composed, and has a classic shirt collar (with a lovely ‘SFA’ detail). Maybe its because of my memories of Italia ’90, but this has stuck with me. It’s the first of Scotland’s (modern) away kits to be designed without reference to the home shirt. I’ve always wanted to own this one, and for me, it’s a 8/10.

Paul McStay & Stuart McCall – Scotland v Costa Rica 1990

From 1991-1994, Scotland really went for it. At this point in time, away shirts in general seemed to be taking more risks. I think it was seen as a chance to go a bit wild, and this Scotland kit was in some ways a bit of a trail-blazer, and a sign of things to come in the early to mid-90’s. White is predominant, but is punctuated by what I can only describe as a purple and red splurge of shattered glass across the chest. Doing away with any formal composition, I have no idea what the designers were attempting to replicate or symbolise, perhaps the shattered shin bones of opponents. It’s this lack of formality which was shocking and appealing. The white of the shirt did have a kind of weird repeated shiny white triangle design, which was unnecessary, but of it’s time. It’s worth talking a bit about ‘fit’ here – in the late 80’s shirts were pretty wee and tight, as were shorts. In the mid ’90’s  things swung horribly the other way, with very wide shirt, long (short) sleeves, and enormous shorts, all very ugly. Then towards the late 90’s early 00’s things went very tight again (eg Italy Kappa kit) which seemed normal, as generally players were now more athletic, and a tight shirt emphasised this. Then mid 2000’s things got big and baggy again, and now they are tight again. Personally I am a fan of the shorter short sleeve, a straight fit, and not too tight – good tailoring generally. I do notice a lot of art-students now wearing oversized baggy 90’s shirts nowadays, so I guess its swings and roundabouts. This Scotland shirt was creeping towards wide and baggy, but just stays the right side for me. 9/10, mostly for impact and influence.

Ally McCoist – unknown game 1991


John Spencer & Zinedine Zidane (!) – France U/21 v Scotland U/21 – 1991

With 1993 came the first sort-of reference to the Rosebery colours for 40 years. I remember it being described as ‘salmon-pink’ at the time, which seems fair enough. This strip is a bit of a nod to the 30’s and 40’s I think, which happened a lot in the mid-90’s, when draw-string collars were popular for no-known practical reason. Salmon pink, with a thin purple pin-stripe, and purple collar. The collar was of the same fabric as the shirt, which was a development of sorts. I quite like this, though it went way too baggy. Again, there was a nice little SFA badge detail under the collar buttons. It also saw the introduction of ‘UMBRO’ instead of ‘umbro’, which history tells us was a mistake. Overall, it was restrained in composition, bold in colour, so I give it 7/10.

Craig Levein – Scotland v Germany 1993

Another trend of the 90’s was a certain busyness, with bits here, bits there, a lack of simplicity and design composure. The away kit of 95-96 is an example of this. I think it’s fair to compare this one to the purple and red smashed glass kit – whereas the early concentrated it’s oddness to a splash across the chest, this one just decided to put weird angular purple and green dashes (apparently the colours of the SFA tartan) across the entirety of the shirt. It’s also the introduction of the central SFA badge, which, for me, is never good, along with a weird oversized shield, surrounding the (old) SFA badge, which already consisted of a shield. I guess it’s kinda funky, but I think in a combination with the shorts, its too much. I don’t think this was ever worn in a competitive game. 5/10

Scotland team v Columbia 1996

From 1996-98, we have the first in a series of pretty unremarkable away kits. A return to the all yellow of 1986 (which was the first) but with none of the subtle design (although I do like the thin yellow pin stripe), instead just a bland shirt with an ugly collar and an ugly stripe on the shoulders…and way, way too big sleeves 4/10

Craig Burley – Scotland v Norway 1998

From 1998-2000 we move back into salmon pink territory (though pinker than before), this time with a slightly more complimentary navy blue, in a large band across the chest. For me, its spoilt slightly by having another navy band down the shoulders, and a collar which is neither one thing or another. Again, it’s far too big, but I guess that was the thing. 6/10 (if you could get a smaller size to fit like a normal size).

Alan Johnston – Germany v Scotland 1999

What follows this shirt is 7 years of uninspired, lazy shite. From early 90’s school kids favourite Fila, to nobody’s favourite Diadora, here they are. I give them the following marks; from 2000-02, 1/10 – its not only white, its just a reversal of the home shirt. Lazy, boring, lazy. The only thing going for it is a return to a simpler SFA badge. Although, ooh look a swish on the collar.

Matt Elliot – San Marino v Scotland 2000

2002 – 04, Fila go for a kind of combo of the 2nd salmon pink shirt, and the ’86 kit…with a hideous yellow. At least it is simple, and has a round collar. 3/10

Kevin Kyle – Iceland U/21 v Scotland U/21 – 2002

From 2003 – 2005 Diadora gave us another white kit, which is even shitter than the last. This time, they decided to mix things up with some weird lines, and a saltire under the SFA badge, which was useful as at first sight you might have thought it was a failed England shirt. I can find no images of this shirt in action. Dreadful, 1/10

I could not find any images of this shirt in action

From 2005-2007, something different happened, something blue, but a different blue. With two stripes. When I was at school ‘two stripes’ was a derogatory term for something not-quite-adidas, and possibly bought from Kinross Sunday market, ie maybe not legit. At least its not white – I do actually like the pale blue as an away colour. Again, I can find no evidence of this being worn in a match – 4/10.

Neither this one

2007 – 2009 – ooh, a bit of variety here – the St.Andrew’s cross, which to me seems a missed opportunity in Scotland kits generally, is kind of reversed. A big cross is a powerful graphic tool, but something about the composition seems a bit clunky. Maybe it could have been flipped 90 degrees to fit the shape of the shirt better. Still, there is a hint of doing something different, and I like the gold trim along the edge of the saltire (though not on the shirt numbers) so I’ll give it 6/10.

James McFadden – France v Scotland 12/09/2007

For 2009-2010, Diadora followed this vaguely imaginative kit with another dreary white one. This one has a very fine pin stripe though, and a navy blue rucksack strap element. 2/10

I could not find a better image than this

2010-2011, and we have a big hitter sportswear provider – Adidas. I know from experience, that Adidas often have a kind of ‘rent-a-kit’ that is adapted to a team’s colours, so its testament to the buying power and loyalty of the tartan army that Adidas have continued to make some quite unique shirts for Scotland, but not this. The first away kit was a return to yellow, with a kind of pointless big shadow version of the SFA badge. As far as I’m concerned, this also marks a return to a decent shirt fit. That’s it – its blue and yellow. 3/10.

James Morrison – Wales v Scotland, May 2011

2011-2013 and Adidas made the bold move from yellow to…white. The round-neck was replaced by a v-neck. wowsers. 2/10

Darren Fletcher – Belgium v Scotland October 2014

And now we enter the fun-zone. First of all 2014-15, a sort of nod to the Rosebery kit’s, the only problem being the stripes stopping short of the edges of the shirt – why? I don’t know. The stripes get thinner as you go further down the shirt – why? I don’t know. But pink, yellow (and white) is fine by me. The collar and button are good too 7/10.

Scott Brown, Alan Hutton – Scotland v Nigeria 28/05/2014

Now we are up to date – 2016-17 saw a return of the pink. This time, a kind of flourescent shade. I don’t know how deliberate it was, but the reduction of the SFA badge to one colour seems to work graphically, and makes the badge feel less stuck on. But I think the badge is better in red and yellow. I didn’t like this shirt at first, but seeing it en-masse in the Scotland end of the Slovenia match, I warmed to it. Its hot pink. Maybe too hot for an average football team from a grey country, but maybe that’s why it’s good. 8/10

Robert Snodgrass – Slovenia v Scotland 08/10/2017

So what next – well, I had an idea, then I found out someone had already done it. But, that should never stop you – if you think the shirt below looks like Hearts’ away kit in 2016/17, thats because it is. But it is the ideal Scotland away kit. I wonder if Malky Mackay would agree?

Scotland Ideal away kit/Hearts away 2016/17

Michael Marra – Arrest This Moment (James Robertson)

October 23rd, 2017 § 0 comments § permalink

You can now buy this biography of Michael Marra, which launched last Friday. Written by James Robertson (Professor of Truth, And the Land Lay Still, Testament of Gideon Mack etc) its an unconventional biography, featuring reconstructed conversations with Michael Marra, along with plenty of images and examples of Michael’s own drawings and paintings. I wrote the preface (originally written for this blog) and the cover is an image by Calum Colvin. You should go and buy it – also, almost all of Michael’s recordings are now available digitally, including some ‘new’ releases.

Darren Almond – Present Form (2013)

May 10th, 2017 § 0 comments § permalink

New work – Drawings & Video from ‘DCA Thomson’ at DCA Dundee

February 27th, 2017 § 0 comments § permalink

Photography by Ruth Clark & Erika Stevenson


Drawing & Painting Explosions with Ian Kennedy from Craig Coulthard on Vimeo.

On This Day

February 10th, 2017 § 0 comments § permalink

711 years ago, valiant Robert the Bruce stabs a man to death in a church

450 years ago, Lord Darnley is found strangled and half naked in the Kirk o’Field

21 years ago, a man is beaten in a game of chess by a computer

Book review – “Under the Skin” Michael Faber (2000)

February 6th, 2017 § 0 comments § permalink

Yes – it’s very different to the film, and that’s made me like both more.

Charlotte Barker

April 27th, 2016 § 0 comments § permalink

Visit Charlotte’s website







Book Review – ‘The Living Mountain’ Nan Shepherd (1977)

March 26th, 2016 § 0 comments § permalink

Living Mountain

Most definitely yes. Clear, concise, deceptively simple. Worth reading the whole book to get to this bit:

“Why some blocks of stone, hacked into violent and tortured shapes should so profoundly tranquillise the mind I do not know. Perhaps the eye imposes its own rhythm on what is only a confusion: one has to look creatively to see this mass of rock as more than jag and pinnacle – as beauty. Else why did men for so many centuries think mountains repulsive? A certain kind of consciousness interacts with the mountain-forms to create this sense of beauty. Yet the forms must be there for the eye to see. And forms of a certain distinction: mere dollops won’t do it. It is, as with all creation, matter impregnated with mind: but the resultant issue is a living spirit, a glow in the consciousness, that perishes when the glow is dead. It is something snatched from non-being, that shadow which creeps in on us continuously and can be held off by continuous creative act. So, simply to look on anything, such as a mountain, with the love that penetrates to its essence, is to widen the domain of being in the vastness of non-being. Man has no other reason for his existence.”

Book Review – “The Big Music” Kirsty Gunn (2012)

November 12th, 2015 § 0 comments § permalink


This review is over a year late for some reason – anyway, its a big fat

YES. Simply put – It’s about family, music, place and its about pibroch, and is written in the style of pibroch. Sometimes this can be tiring, particularly with repetition of the footnotes, as things are literally repeated a lot. But overall it is ambitious, and works as far as I’m concerned. I read it just before making “The Drummer & The Drone”

The Drummer & The Drone from Craig Coulthard on Vimeo.

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