BEING rather preoccupied with the Cheltenham Festival at the moment, I really cannot be bothered tackling the problems of football just now, not least because I consider the SFA and SPFL will never take the action they need to if they really want to tackle hooliganism and sectarianism, not to mention video replays and poor refereeing.

I will get to them forthwith in the coming weeks, but in the meantime can everyone remember football is just a game? I will say one thing about the latter two issues as they affect international rugby union.

At Murrayfield on Saturday, referee Pascal Gauzere had a reasonable game except for penalising the Scottish scrum when there were clearly Welsh infringements, but he made one appalling error which cost Scotland the match.

In the run up to Josh Adams’ try after 13 minutes, Jonathan Davies pass was clearly forward. It wasn’t even close to being a lateral pass – it was at least two feet forward, and it meant that Adams could take the ball at full tilt on the run and set himself up to beat Scotland’s full-back Blair Kinghorn. Had the forward pass been delivered laterally, Adams would have had to check his run to collect the ball and his momentum would have been lost. What was really galling was that Gauzere did not hear, or did not listen to, the Scottish shouts of “forward” and go to the TMO for a replay. That was just a mistake on his part, but remember that the final score was 11-18 and the momentum given to Wales by that early score clinched the game for them.

TMOs must always review every try, in my opinion. It’s only fair to do so.

I’ll give my views on Scotland’s performance in the Six Nations next week, knowing that if they perform a miracle and beat England on Saturday, the squad will all be national heroes. Lose, and some harsh words will need to be spoken and written.

In the meantime, I just want to dwell on one of the great attributes of sport – the power to inspire. I want to bring to your attention a remarkable exhibition which can be seen at the Ravenscraig Regional Sports Facility near Motherwell.

In 2017, North Lanarkshire Council became the first, and to my knowledge still the only, local authority to celebrate the sporting achievements of people from their area by creating the North Lanarkshire Sporting Hall of Fame.

The initial inductees were Manchester United legend Sir Matt Busby, snooker great John Higgins, athlete Tom Kean, the Lisbon Lions of whom five were from North Lanarkshire, boxing world champion Ricky Burns and diver and swimming coach David Crabb. Also inducted were golfer Sandy Jones, cricketer Budhi Kunderan, handball star Lynn Mccafferty, Paralympian footballer Jonathan Paterson – one of the most amazing and under-reported men in Scottish sport – judo gold medallists from Glasgow 2014 Louise and Kimberley Renicks and visually-impaired swimmer Angela Robertson, nee McDowall, a trailblazer for disability sport.

Last year karate star Kirsten Bonar, world boxing champion Pat Clinton, volleyball internationalist Margaret Ann Fleming, one time most-capped Scottish footballer Pauline Hamill, wheelchair rugby star Michael Kerr, Paralympic all-rounder Scott Meenagh, Celtic great Jimmy Quinn, and ultra-marathon runner James Stewart were added to the Hall. This year’s inductees were bowls champion Caroline Brown, swimming star Nancy Riach, former Scotland captain Gary McAllister and Walter McGowan, the world flyweight boxing champion of the 1960s. What a list of heroes, and I was happy to play a small part in providing the information for the display on Wee Walter, who I was first introduced to my boxing judge grandfather back in the 1970s.

The Hall is a great achievement for North Lanarkshire Council and the staff who put it all together. I just wonder why no other local authority – as far as I know – has done the same, because all of the above 29 people were and are an inspiration to the people of North Lanarkshire, and their contribution to their locality should be marked as it will encourage youngsters in particular to take up sport.

It’s not a very expensive thing to set up, and indeed North Lanarkshire Council defrayed some of the cost by getting sponsorship from a local company that shrewdly wants to be associated with inspirational people, Albert Bartlett, plus they had assistance from local sports group Clubsportnl and the national sports agency Sportscotland. It really is a credit to all involved.

As someone who was on the selection panel for the inaugural induction into the Scottish Sports Hall of Fame, I know that there can be arguments about who should and should not be included. Therefore I hope the North Lanarkshire organisers will not think me presumptuous by suggesting they consider the “wee prime minister” Ian McMillan of Rangers, Airdrieonians and Scotland for inclusion next year as he is now in the Scottish Football Hall of Fame.

I genuinely believe such Halls of Fame do set an example to people of any age, but especially the young. You may think there’s not a great deal of reward for inductees, but let me assure you, everyone I have ever met at various Halls of Fame inductions is delighted and honoured to be there. So come on all you councillors, why not follow North Lanarkshire’s example.