Quite possibly the greatest tragedy of Scotland not having qualified for a major football tournament since France '98 is that it's deprived us of our biennial, highly cerebral national pastime of poring over fixture sheets, calculators in hand, trying to fathom out the various improbable permutations by which "Scotland can still mathematically reach the second round". Perhaps the all-time classic was the World Cup in 1990, when even after the unlucky defeat to Brazil in the final group match, all we needed was for South Korea to sneak a draw against Uruguay. The Koreans duly held out until injury time at the end of the match - at which point Uruguay scored. But, still, all was not lost - just so long as neither Holland v Ireland or England v Egypt ended in a draw. Not too much to ask surely? Well, let's not dwell too much on that question.
But at least the British (ahem) women's curling team have given us an opportunity to relive those halcyon days, because despite their Olympic campaign completely falling apart with a succession of defeats-from-the-jaws-of-victory, it is still technically, arithmetically, perfectly possible for them to qualify for the semi-finals. So, as a free public service, here's your handy cut-out-and-keep guide for how it probably isn't going to happen over the next 24 hours. All we need to happen is this -
Great Britain to beat Canada
AND Germany to beat Switzerland
AND Japan to lose to either Denmark or Sweden
AND United States to beat Switzerland
AND Sweden to beat Germany
Easy as that. If all that comes to pass we'll qualify for a series of tie-breaks to decide the fourth berth in the semi-finals. Sadly, the chances of even getting past the "Great Britain to beat Canada" bit of the equation don't look particularly healthy.