Feb 1 2013 by Gordon Bannerman, Perthshire Advertiser
It was great seeing Andy Murray underline his status at the top of tennis by reaching yet another Major final.
He derailed the Federer Express in style and was looking to make history by following up his first Major win at the 2012 US Open with another victory in Melbourne.
Fair enough, our man was eventually outclassed by world No1 Novak Djokovic over four sets at the Australian Open and he wouldn’t want to make excuses, despite having to get painful looking blisters treated court-side.
All tennis players love particular surfaces and Djokovic now has three Aussie titles on the spin.
Hopefully Murray’s favourite turns out to be the grass at Wimbledon.
I’m sure Tim Henman will get out the Andy Murray doll again that week to sticks pins in it, just in case the Scot (right) actually wins the ‘Big One’.
You can bet Ariel would be on the blower right away to replace Tim with Andy in their adverts if he repeated his Olympic success and triumphed in London.
In true BBC tradition, I better add there are other soap powders available on the market!
Kerny’s FA cup cracker
The English FA Cup certainly produced its usual array of shocks.
Luton beating Norwich, Leeds knocking out Spurs and Oldham shocking Liverpool all caught the eye.
But I had my eyes on the Brentford v Chelsea game on Sunday. Ex-Saint Alan Kernaghan is assistant manager at Brentford and I had a chat with him the night before the game.
Kerny reckoned a draw would be a brilliant result, not only for the finances the replay at Stamford Bridge would bring the club, but also the publicity that would accompany it.
Brentford found themselves within eight minutes of knocking out the big spending Londoners. But the 2-2 draw was still some result.
I called him on Sunday just before he was going for a refreshment or two.
Kerny confided it could be worth up to £500,000 to his club and in trying financial times they’ve hit the jackpot.
The Scottish League Cup semi-finals played over the same weekend also wrecked a few coupons.
Hearts, almost with an Under-20 side, beat high-flying Inverness at Easter Road in a game I covered for the Beeb.
They have unearthed a new hero in 6ft 5 in Liverpool loan striker Michael Ngoo. The big guy smashed in the equaliser and rolled one of the penalties into the bottom corner.
The other semi produced a brilliant display by St Mirren to bounce out odds-on favourites and Treble-chasing Celtic.
The Buddies, who face Saints in the Scottish Cup this weekend, were well organised and had a good shape to them. They stifled Celtic in midfield and deserved a memorable victory.
Hoops manager Neil Lennon was honest as ever after the game, admitting his team didn’t turn up. But it was the other Lennon, Danny, who takes his side to Hampden for the March 17 showdown.
Tiger roars back into contention
Tiger Woods finally won again to claim his 75th career victory with the first Major of the season round the corner.
Does this mean he is back and challenging? The answer has to be yes.
But he won’t dominate the game as he did in previous years.
His air of invincibility has vanished and while he will win again, I can’t see him racking up multiple Majors as he has done in the past.
There are too many great golfers competing with him and prepared to go toe to toe now without being blinded by the American’s aura.
Cuptie’s a smart deal for Saints
Dave Mackay has signed a two-year extension with Saints which is great news.
Cuptie has already played plenty of games for the club and will continue to do so in years to come.
He is a great captain and leader and it was vital for manager Steve Lomas to secure his services.
Mackay is a player’s player. What I mean is the guys around him appreciate what he does for the team on a weekly basis.
To replace him would have been difficult. As the fans might say: “If only we had a team full of Dave Mackays.”