Stuart Hogg showing signs of magic in Best family tradition

 

It was on the corresponding weekend of the Six Nations Championship last year that the true footballing pedigree of Stuart Hogg started to become apparent. After making his debut for Scotland against Wales in Cardiff, the Glasgow full-back discovered he was related to George Best. A close relative of Best saw on television that a Hogg from Hawick was playing for Scotland and wrote to a cousin of his father in the Borders town to alert them to the link between the two families.

It is a distant one. "You'll have to ask my father," Hogg said as he prepared for what will be his 11th international appearance, against Italy at Murrayfield on Saturday. "You go up the family tree, across and back down. It's a long way."

Still, there was more than a hint of the old Best magic in the feet of Scotland's hugely gifted young full-back as he dribbled up the right wing at Twickenham last Saturday to score his country's second try in their 38-18 defeat against England. There was also the searing break from deep that set up the opening try for the debutant winger Sean Maitland and some spiralling, spot-on kicks to touch from the 20-year-old Hogg.

"I haven't taken a lot of stick, because it's true," he said, when asked about the reaction from his team-mates to the news of his relation to sporting royalty. "The family are regular visitors across to Northern Ireland now.

"I'm the only one who's not been across yet and it's all because of me that they know them. I'm hoping at the back end of the season that I'll be able to jump across and see them. I've met a few of them who have come across to Hawick. They're daft, to be honest.

"It has opened up a door on my dad's side. My dad's always been wanting to find out his family history because his parents died relatively young. It's a small world... because of me playing international rugby, a thing like this has opened up. It's quite scary when you hear all the stories they've been telling me. One of George Best's relatives is a lady who looks pretty much like my dad. It's a shame for her."

Having only been born in 1992, Hogg has no first-hand recall of the genius of Best. "I have seen him on video, though," he said. "Me and my brother have a wee bit of banter, saying I got the talent side and he got the alcohol side. He takes it on the chin. It's a good laugh."

It is also a trifle unfair. After all, Graham Hogg has been blessed with sufficient talent to play for Scotland in the IRB World Sevens Series.

Best, of course, spent some of the tail-end of his football career playing in Scotland for Hibernian. He did not exactly have the best of times. When Hibs officials turned up at the North British Hotel in Edinburgh to collect their star player for a Scottish Cup tie against Ayr United in 1980 they found him in a comatose state in the bar. It was 11am on a Sunday morning.

The French rugby union team had been playing at Murrayfield the day before and when their captain Jean-Pierre Rives heard that Best was staying at the same hotel he insisted on him joining their party – which the footballer did with a vengeance.

Hibs' club doctor gave Best several injections but failed to revive him. He was sacked by the Edinburgh club but reinstated a week later.

Canale drafted in to shore up Italy's centre

Gonzalo Canale will replace the injured centre Alberto Sgarbi in the only change to Italy's side for the Six Nations Championship match against Scotland at Murrayfield.

Gonzalo Garcia takes Canale's place on the bench, with Canale recovering from a thigh injury to start the game. The Azzurri stunned France with a 23-18 win in last weekend's opener in Rome and the Italy coach, Jacques Brunel, has kept faith with his team, with Sgarbi only missing out because of an ankle problem.

Italy, who beat Scotland 13-6 last year, will hand a 100th cap to 36-year-old prop Andrea Lo Cicero and a 50th appearance to hooker Leonardo Ghiraldini.

Voices
The Sumatran tiger, endemic to the Indonesian island of Sumatra, is an endangered species
voicesJonathon Porritt: The wild tiger population is thought to have dropped by 97 per cent since 1900
Arts and Entertainment
Beast would strip to his underpants and take to the stage with a slogan scrawled on his bare chest whilst fans shouted “you fat bastard” at him
musicIndie music promoter was was a feature at Carter gigs
News
news
Arts and Entertainment
Story line: Susanoo slays the Yamata no Orochi serpent in the Japanese version of a myth dating back 40,000 years
arts + entsApplying the theory of evolution to the world's many mythologies
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
Performers dressed as Tunnocks chocolate teacakes, a renowned Scottish confectionary, perform during the opening ceremony of the 2014 Commonwealth Games at Celtic Park in Glasgow on July 23, 2014.
news
Life and Style
Popular plonk: Lambrusco is selling strong
Food + drinkNaff Seventies corner-shop staple is this year's Aperol Spritz
News
Gardai wait for the naked man, who had gone for a skinny dip in Belfast Lough
newsTwo skinny dippers threatened with inclusion on sex offenders’ register as naturists criminalised
News
Shake down: Michelle and Barack Obama bump knuckles before an election night rally in Minnesota in 2008, the 'Washington Post' called it 'the fist bump heard round the world'
newsThe pound, a.k.a. the dap, greatly improves hygiene
Arts and Entertainment
La Roux
music
Arts and Entertainment
Graham Fellows as John Shuttleworth
comedySean O'Grady joins Graham Fellows down his local Spar
News
people
News
Ross Burden pictured in 2002
people
News
Elisabeth Murdoch: The 44-year-old said she felt a responsibility to 'stand up and be counted’'
media... says Rupert Murdoch
Arts and Entertainment
tv
Extras
indybest
Sport
Arsenal signing Calum Chambers
sportGunners complete £16m transfer of Southampton youngster
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services

Day In a Page

The children were playing in the street with toy guns. The air strikes were tragically real

The air strikes were tragically real

The children were playing in the street with toy guns
Boozy, ignorant, intolerant, but very polite – The British, as others see us

Britain as others see us

Boozy, ignorant, intolerant, but very polite
Countries that don’t survey their tigers risk losing them altogether

Countries that don’t survey their tigers risk losing them

Jonathon Porritt sounds the alarm
How did our legends really begin?

How did our legends really begin?

Applying the theory of evolution to the world's many mythologies
Watch out: Lambrusco is back on the menu

Lambrusco is back on the menu

Naff Seventies corner-shop staple is this year's Aperol Spritz
A new Russian revolution: Cracks start to appear in Putin’s Kremlin power bloc

A new Russian revolution

Cracks start to appear in Putin’s Kremlin power bloc
Eugene de Kock: Apartheid’s sadistic killer that his country cannot forgive

Apartheid’s sadistic killer that his country cannot forgive

The debate rages in South Africa over whether Eugene de Kock should ever be released from jail
Standing my ground: If sitting is bad for your health, what happens when you stay on your feet for a whole month?

Standing my ground

If sitting is bad for your health, what happens when you stay on your feet for a whole month?
Commonwealth Games 2014: Dai Greene prays for chance to rebuild after injury agony

Greene prays for chance to rebuild after injury agony

Welsh hurdler was World, European and Commonwealth champion, but then the injuries crept in
Israel-Gaza conflict: Secret report helps Israelis to hide facts

Patrick Cockburn: Secret report helps Israel to hide facts

The slickness of Israel's spokesmen is rooted in directions set down by pollster Frank Luntz
The man who dared to go on holiday

The man who dared to go on holiday

New York's mayor has taken a vacation - in a nation that has still to enforce paid leave, it caused quite a stir, reports Rupert Cornwell
Best comedians: How the professionals go about their funny business, from Sarah Millican to Marcus Brigstocke

Best comedians: How the professionals go about their funny business

For all those wanting to know how stand-ups keep standing, here are some of the best moments
The Guest List 2014: Forget the Man Booker longlist, Literary Editor Katy Guest offers her alternative picks

The Guest List 2014

Forget the Man Booker longlist, Literary Editor Katy Guest offers her alternative picks
Jokes on Hollywood: 'With comedy film audiences shrinking, it’s time to move on'

Jokes on Hollywood

With comedy film audiences shrinking, it’s time to move on