Paul Fisher's Blog

Corran Inn – Restaurant Review

Situated opposite St Matthews Academy, Saltcoats, The Corran Inn offers a wide variety of food, drink and an inviting atmosphere for all the family.

When entering the building, we were met with a lot of dust, tools and loose paving, as an annex of the building was being decorated into a function suite to be available later this year, for parties, large bookings and other gatherings. This is due for completion in time for Christmas and will add to the already, largely popular venue.

Opening in 2010, the establishment has a great homely feeling inside, relaxing background music, exciting decor such as an open kitchen so that you can see your food being prepared and a large bar with a keen selection of beers, wines and spirits. All over the walls are paintings by local artists, which are for sale at reasonable prices. The friendly staff welcome you to the restaurant with a smile and makes sure you are not left waiting (which would be fine as there is so much to be amused with), there are separate areas for couples, families and larger groups.

As I went with a group of five and in our case it generally takes a bit longer to decide on what we are going to have, although drinks are usually easier, I opted for an Irn Bru, which not unusually for a restaurant, came in a 330ml glass bottle.

While waiting for our drinks to be delivered, we were entertained by another member of staff who delivered the menus and blurted out the specials in a fast manner which made it hard to hear. Reading the straight-to-the-point menu I had my eye on a few dishes but took until the last minute as usual to decide.

Drinks were delivered with considerable pace, too quick if you ask me. Orders were then taken, myself last, I opted for a starter of Haggis Clapshot (A posh name for Neeps and Tatties) followed by a special of ‘Thai Chicken’, washed down by another Irn Bru.

The starters came about 10 minutes later and they were faultless, the whisky cream sauce that accompanied my Clapshot was the perfect amount to accompany the Scottish treat and it wasn’t long until the plate was left empty. The only fault I found that it could have been slightly bigger, but it did set me up for a main course, with plenty of room for my ‘special’.

When all the starters had been devoured, including homemade Spicy Tomato soup and melt-in-the-mouth Chicken Tempura, our plates were cleared and then a fearful looking waitress arrived at the table and said because the special was cooked to order, it would take about 25 minutes for the main courses to arrive.

Everyone’s main courses arrived at the same time, even those who decided not to have a starter, this was the disappointing part of the meal but the main courses were more than worth the wait.

The general consensus from the rest of the table was a selection of beef burgers under various pseudonyms which made them sound better than a “burger with chips with added something”, my Thai chicken on the other hand was different from anything I had tried, the sauce that drenched the plate was both spicy and sweet at the same time. The chicken breast was just the correct size to compliment the veg and mashed potato. The accompaniments of homemade chips that came with the burgers were excellent (I pinched a few), golden brown and not too hot perfect for dipping into the peppercorn sauce that came with one of the burgers.

As the stomachs bloated the mains became a thing of the past and thoughts turned to the, what turned out to be, vast desert menu, which included such delights as, Sticky Toffee Pudding, Triple Chocolate Fudge cake and various Sundaes and a number of Cheesecakes.

As the member of staff returned to take our sweet order, there were only three of us who could muster the space for a desert (the other two never had starters) but I was going the whole hog and ordered a very sweet sounding ‘Millionaire’s Shortbread Sundae’, the other deserts were a Bailey’s Cheesecake and a Chocolate Orange Sundae.

These deserts arrived in good time and were all received with wide smiles, and were devoured in quite a similar fashion. Sampling a bit of each desert seemed to be a good idea and it was as I don’t think I could have managed a full portion of the very sweet sundae, which consisted mainly of ice cream with butterscotch sauce, small bits of chocolate and biscuit all thrown together but it certainly tasted of Millionaire’s Shortbread.

The offer of coffee and more refreshments came and went without incident and we went on to pay the bill. For the amount of courses and drinks the bill was reasonably priced and would not leave you too much out of pocket.

The Corran Inn does offer various special offers such as ‘Curry Night’ and a ‘Special High Tea’ menu which can be bought at much cheaper prices.

Whether you go for a light bite, a full-blown meal or just a coffee, it is certainly a place to recommend and I wouldn’t hesitate in returning tomorrow night to sample more delicious cooking.

May 19, 2011 Posted by | Food Review | , , | Leave a comment

Scottish Football and Television – The Solution?

The highlights for all SPL games will now be shown on a Sunday night, on the BBC, instead of the previous Monday. This will surely have a positive effect as it shows all the matches on the day or the day after they are played. But this still has no bearing for the SFL clubs and the highlights are not readily available to your average fan who does not attend a game on a Saturday.

Saturday night would be ideal but the BBC would never give up primetime viewing to a football show from Scotland, instead they have over 3 hours of English football, with all the goals from that days play analysed, scrutinised and praised by experts south of the border.

When you watch the highlights of the SPL games it starts nine times out of ten with an Old Firm club and most of the other clubs do not get the airtime to show their worth. I was told that almost all of Scotland’s teams have digital recording equipment, so why do they not get their highlights on the television every weekend? Yes, the quality of play is not exceptional but there will always be young players coming through trying to make their name, managers trying to showcase their teams’ talents and obviously shareholders looking for a return for their investments.

If a contract was to become available that would help out Scottish clubs then it could only make the league stronger. It also takes a really big story for any Scottish club to make the breaking news on Sky Sports (it usually follows all English stories including cricket).

A Scottish network is needed to showcase the talent and Sky are simply not interested in Scottish football. There is STV’s Friday night show which looks forward to the weekend but then you have to wait another week for the reaction which will be out of date by then.

Yes, if a game is shown on television then the number of fans who attend the game will decline, with Rangers’ Scottish Cup game against Kilmarnock being a prime example as they had their lowest attendance for a home match in 25 years, but if a game like this is shown on television it is surely good for the neutrals and other interested football supporters. It could be said that police are a factor because they dictate when a game kicks off, especially in the winter and when the Old Firm are concerned.

Is another SPL the solution?

I don’t know if a change in the SPL system will bring a new deal with more matches being shown live but if current First Division teams are included in “SPL 2” as it could be called then they may receive much more exposure than they do at in the current situation. If Derbies were being played on a less regular basis then surely the figures for a television station would be huge.

Simply, I believe that more exposure around the world would help Scottish Football especially for the lower leagues. A dedicated highlights show that covers all the leagues but basically more money in the Scottish game is what is needed and this is what television coverage generates.

January 13, 2011 Posted by | Football, Sport | , , , , , , , | 5 Comments

Scottish Football and Television – what’s the problem?

I remember (vaguely) the days when you could sit watching an SPL match live on BBC on a Saturday afternoon. Then came along Rupert Murdoch, his bottomless pockets and he bought the rights to SPL matches left right and centre. There are also the stations like Setanta and ESPN coming along and buying the rights for some games.

The bigger matches, such as the Edinburgh derby and the Old Firm are still on Sky Sports but still do not recieve the attention that they need and deserve. So what can be done now to help the viewing figures?

The BBC will not enter the bidding war with Sky mainly due to the amount of figures they are going to get will not compare to the English Premier League games on Sky.Even the Old Firm does not compare normal games on Sky.

The Old Firm is one of the most famous derbys in the world

If the BBC bought the rights to some games it would be good for the pub trade as they would not have to pay over the odds for Sky and have to get illegal sports channels from around the world in order to show live football.

I believe that it will never be the same again for football on terrestrial television in the main part due to the digital switch – over and it won’t be long until everyone has Sky television or it becomes cheaper and available so that it is a must.

For now you have to pay over the odds to watch your team play once in a blue moon. It will never be that all games will be available live but something has to be done to help get Scottish football the exposure it deserves.

January 4, 2011 Posted by | Football, Sport | , , , , , , , , , | 7 Comments

Freddie Ljungberg – Celtic’s New Swedish Icon?

So January the first is just around the corner and that only means one thing for all football fans – The transfer window is open and players will be coming in and players moving on to pastures new. Celtic have started early by capturing former Arsenal and Sweden winger Freddie Ljungberg on a free transfer.

What does this mean for the club? Have they become desperate by signing a MLS drop-out who isn’t a physical player? It is a question that can only be answered in time.

Freddie Ljungberg Wearing The Famous Number 7

Being from Sweden he is obviously going to be compared to another Swedish player who played at Celtic for a few years. Henrik Larsson, remember him? They are not the same player so they won’t compared on the pitch. But in terms of being a great Swedish player surely there is no comparison.

It is becoming some what a tradition for Celtic to sign a high profile player in January when they are struggling in the league, last year it was Robbie Keane and also Craig Bellamy in 2005.

With Neil Lennon coming under pressure after a few poor results I believe he will have to add to the signatures of few more players that have experience or have real potential to help him and his men maintain their title ambitions.

Come the second of January, whether Ljungberg is playing or not it is a crucial game in the title race and he could, but looks like he will be under extreme pressure to prove he is worth the hype and probably the wages that are over the odds.

December 30, 2010 Posted by | celtic, Football, Sport | , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Dougie McDonald

Neil Lennon Confronting McDonald During the Dundee United game

So just over two weeks after the original incident involving Dougie McDonald at tannadice he has decided to retire from category one refereeing. I remember him expressly saying that he had no plans to retire and apologised for his mistake during the game. The problem with this was the coverage that the referees recieved afterwards. In my opinion, if McDonald had apologised straight after the game, instead of covering it up, and took any punishment that the SFA were going to give him then the full situation would have blown over. But as it was he did not admit any wrong doing straight away and this lead to his demise as one of the most respected referees in the Scottish game. So what happens now? Do the rest of the refs just go back to normal and referee the games on Saturday as planned or do they strike again (unlikely this week) but the main question is what can be done to stop this happening again. It showed the cracks within football but also gave the SPL a lot of bad media coverage surrounding this as well as the way in which the Polish and Portuguese referees were dealt with in the situation. In my opinion it has been all blown out of proportion but I don’t think it will lead to any changes being made within the current technology within the game.

November 30, 2010 Posted by | celtic, Football, Sport | , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Corruption In Football

Amos Adamu and Reynald Temarii have both been suspended and fined

So two of the members of the FIFA executive committee have recieved bans from voting in the ballot that will choose which country will host the 2018 and 2022 World Cups.

 I don’t know if it is just me that thinks this but why is it not every country that competes in at any stage in the World Cup competition, whether it be qualifying or playing in the finals, allowed a vote.

 Now it will be down to 22 executive committee members instead of 24. These members are all rich, powerful and do represent thier countries.

 But i find it unfair how these men can be allowed to choose the destination of the biggest competition in world sport when they cannot be trusted to make a vote without trying toget extra money for themselves out of it.

November 18, 2010 Posted by | Football, Sport | , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Was It Worth It?

So our youngsters did us proud and won 3-0. Woohoo we beat the Faroe Islands hardly a cause for massive celebration.

Yes it showed us what we expected, a couple of young players are very talented and will have good careers but how much can you actually judge from a friendly? Only one save was made throughout the match and the Faroes did hit the crossbar. There were caps handed out like they were penny sweets and it is not good to see seasoned players not wanting to play for their country.

Now it moves on to England and their new “starman” Andy Carroll has apparently been asked by Newcastle to be left out the squad to play France. He had an opportunity to play with Scotland but we have to settle for Jamie Mackie instead (they played in the same division last year) but even after the Scotland game was finished still the main story on Sky Sports News? Andy Carroll to start for England against France.

It is completely unfair of the way that attention is divided when it comes to international fixtures and England always come up with an excuse – no doubt if they lose against France it will be due to having their “superstars” injured and not due to the fact that their team isn’t actually that great. If they win it will the top story for days and their will be a new hero if a young or newly capped player scores.

Barry Bannan - A future star?

November 17, 2010 Posted by | Football, Sport | , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Has Scotland Given Up?

A friendly match against the Faroe Islands – not the most exciting prospect in the world but if it is your country that is involved then you would be expected to support them. As fans, going all the way up to Aberdeen may be a bit of a push on a tuesday night but you would expect any professional to jump at the chance of playing for his country.

Now due to the fact that most of the sqaud has pulled out to ‘injury’, Craig Levein has had to call up some relatively unknown players to his sqaud.

It does not mean anything towards qualification for the 2012 European Championships but it does give th manager a chance to look at the choice of players he has available to him and maybe a new Scottish sensastion will be uncovered at Pittodrie.

As for our opponents, we know all to well that the vast majority of the team are semi-professionals and only one or two players make a living through playing football but that didn’t stop them drawing with us a few years back. I know it is bad to say but I am embarressed by the players that are playing for Scotland.

True these players are representing their country but half of them would hardly get a game for the ‘B’ team never mind a start for as a full international.

Managers of club teams are obviously sceptical that their players will recieve an injury (look at John Kennedy for instance) but the players have to try and become great players and there is no better way of doing this than representing your country.

November 16, 2010 Posted by | Football, Sport | , , , , , , | 4 Comments

The Technology Argument (Part 2)

This did not count as a goal!

So a few of you have voted in my poll and it seems to be clear that technology has to be introduced into football. How is this going to happen when the president of FIFA is against it?

I don’t know how long it is going to take but something has to be done. As technology advances it is clearly showing what football is lacking. For example in the 1966 World Cup, there was “that goal” and obviously back then they didn’t have the means to do anything about it (it was in black and white for starters).

But now you can see clearly when a ball has and has not crossed the line. Again England are drawn into the argument with another “goal”. You could just say that history was balancing itself out but it is fair to say that if the technology was being used then it could have been a completely different game.

It is nearly every weekend when one team or another is outraged with a decision made by the referee and this could be stopped by the introduction of technology on the field but could it be said that if this was the case it will turn into a media frenzy with advertisements being shown when a decision is being made and in effect ruin the game as it is today?

When will FIFA see sense and begin to see that the game needs to come into the 21st century? It is the most popular sport in the world and needs to stay with the times.

But This Did

November 8, 2010 Posted by | Football, Sport | , , , , , , | 3 Comments

Has Social Media Taken Over?


If you read this post the likelihood is that you have clicked a link from a social media site such as Twitter or Facebook. The amount of people who use social media sites is huge each minute of each day and the speed that a story can fly around the world is unbelievable.

Who can remember a time when mobile phones were the next big thing? Then came the mobile with the camera and that was a huge step forward. Now I think where can the next step be? You can do almost anything from a mobile phone or a computer. From updating your pictures from your latest nights out to ordering your groceries to even stalking (OK following your favourite celebs on Twitter). The sheer pace that websites like these have taken since their early predecessors such as Myspace and Bebo show you that people want to know what’s happening with everyone all the time and nearly makes it impossible to live a life free from invasion.

If you don’t have an account with a social media site chances are you will be on one in some form, whether it be people talking about you or pictures from a night out that a friend has uploaded. The way in which news is reported nowadays depends on people out and about with their video camera and sending it in to the news channels. Think for a minute. What would you be doing with your time if social media did not exist? How would you keep in contact with your friends at all times? Who would you tell that you are tired but can’t sleep and all the rest of the pathetic stuff that people upload on to these sites (we all do it at some point).

But social media does exist and i think it will just continue to expand and grow as time goes by. So you have to either embrace it or ignore it. Whatever you think it has changed the world forever and a lot of people have become stuck in a rut as the constantly need their fix – some might say it is an addiction which in a lot of cases is true. Social media is the worlds way of staying connected and in my opinion it may always be around in some form to annoy, intrigue and help us.

November 5, 2010 Posted by | Social Media | , , , , , , | 3 Comments