Pick of the Press: The Herald

While many of its rivals major on the chances of Scotland football team boss, George Burley, surviving yet another calamitous defeat (he was later to be sacked), The Herald splashes with an 'exclusive' about free personal care for the elderly.

Writes Brian Donnelly: “The architect of [the scheme] has accused the SNP government of ignoring key recommendations to tackle problems caused by the country's ageing population.”

Says Lord Sutherland, his ten-year strategy, and suggestion to merge health and social care budgets, are being overlooked. Adds the paper: he was speaking after “The Herald highlighted growing concerns over the care, treatment and abuse of the elderly”.

Of course, Burley is not entirely ignored: a sidebar on the front page says he's set to be axed. In the paper's daily sports supplement, the front page is accompanied with the headline, 'Cardiff Blues', following a 3-0 loss to Wales on Saturday.

Another 'exclusive' graces page five; this time by chief reporter, Lucy Adams, and it's a call to the monks who brew Buckfast to sell their tonic wine in plastic bottles. Glass Buckfast bottles are said to be more popular than knives, in certain parts of central Scotland, to commit stabbings.

Elsewhere in the central belt, proponents to give the Campsie Fells, north of Glasgow, 'regional park' status are claiming the area would benefit to the tune of half a billion pounds over ten years if it was so designated. It's another 'exclusive' – this time by Gerry Braiden.

Among the columnists, Iain Macwhirter, argues that the Glasgow North East by-election – held on Thursday, by Labour – represents a real setback for the SNP. It had achieved a 22 per cent swing to wrestle nearby Glasgow East from Labour not so long ago, but, says Macwhirter: “It is back to where it started. By rights, Labour should never have won”.

Come the General Election, Macwhirter predicts: “The vast majority of Scottish MPs next May are always going to be Labour – but now they could be in the running for a Caledonian landslide. The Scottish Tories are going nowhere; the Liberal Democrats are becalmed and the SNP is going backwards.”

Meanwhile, in the sports pages, chief rugby writer, Kevin Ferrie, has a dig at critics of the Scottish rugby team, which earned new coach, Andy Robinson, a debut win, at Murrayfield on Saturday, with a 23-10 victory over Fiji.

Says Ferrie: sport is about winning, not entertainment, so the relatively dull fare against Fiji should not be seized upon by critics. “The curmudgeons who line up to sneer, too often led by former Scotland internationalists who grudge praise to a new generation as well as former opponents who are bitter about losses to Scottish teams in the past, will feel satisfied that their prejudices were once again justified.”

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