ON the whole it would have been better to be Welsh. When I got to the Auld Alliance pub in Paris – a Scottish pub with which I have a long relationship (more of that later) – it was full of the Taffy hordes watching their red jerseyed heroes take apart the Italians.

Admittedly I was an hour early for our kick-off against the Irish, but it seemed best to get there early to ensure a seat. Hah. In the event I was wedged between two chaps who could have turned up in the front row of any decent scrum.

By the time our own lads took the field, I had bagged a berth with a better view of the TV, but, for reasons best known to the folks who draw up the contracts, the commentary was all in French, a language in which I am only really fluent in restaurants.

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The rest of the audience was half Scots, half French as befits a Parisian institution which celebrates the historical ties between the two nations. It was why, the last time Scotland was in the men’s footy World Cup, I was in exactly the same spot, broadcasting on the eve of our opener against Brazil.

That proved a bit of a linguistic challenge too – partly because we didn’t know what our French guests looked like and had to accost strangers in the street outside to inquire if they were expecting to join us.

The other hazard was that our “studio” was a tiny back room, the one in which I was once again sitting, but now converted to a pool room with TV, atop which, for reasons connected to the management, was a Forfar Athletic scarf. Oddly it didn’t have the word nil at the end.

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In 1998 a certain Ally McCoist turned up later and was pictured pulling pints, whilst another chap, Stan Collymore, was seen to assault his then girlfriend Ulrika Jonsson. All of which riveting news I only learned when I phoned home, having long since departed to a nearby brasserie.

Fast forward to last Saturday and that heart-stopping moment when captain Stuart Hogg, already over the line and out of sight of any challenger, contrived to drop the ball rather than ground it. Cue, all of us, already up on our feet, to slump back in familiar despair.

And so to this Saturday, and the Calcutta Cup at Murrayfield. This one I had planned to watch in the comfort of my own home, until I fielded an email from Ziggy, our David Bowie Tribute Act who is playing Cove Burgh Hall that evening. It said he was arriving at 5.30pm. Heaven’s sakes, Ziggy – you can’t be serious.

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