What A Weekend!
We do try to keep this site apolitical,and in fairness you are all pretty good at that too. Many of us will remember the problems caused by too much politics elsewhere. So I hope you will pardon an aside in that direction for a moment.
I was over Chez SOLKITTS,darkest deepest Essex,at the weekend. A trip which had to be postponed from two weeks earlier due to train strikes. I also had to reschedule a dayooooot with my nephew in London a few weeks back-though that didn’t stop us having our usual good time when we finally caught up.
He has a surprisingly high opinion-or high tolerance level-of his daft uncle.
Anyway,while I am generally supportive of workers withdrawing their labour in support of resolution to a genuine grievance,gonna stop doing it when I’ve got a dayooooot planned? Have a heart…
However,it is always a treat worth waiting for with Mr and Mrs S. Fatted calf,lakes of Guinness and a couple of malts. Oh,aye,they are terrific company too. I think there’s forty years that backs that up.
Fuxake,I nearly forgot to mention the fitba’!
Just how good were we on Sunday? Well,here’s a clue. I reckon SIX of our goals came from pinpoint passes releasing a player to square across goal for the finish from a colleague.
It used to drive me nuts last season when we would square it low across the box,but with no takers. That certainly wasn’t the case on Sunday,and the pace across our front line,the accuracy of passing,the positioning for the finish?
If we can replicate this on a regular basis,and it has clearly been worked on,we will be a unit even greater than the sum of its parts. We struggled to remember a performance as complete as this one-though a couple against the foe malign under BR sprung to mind. I’ll never understand why we simply stopped at five back then-and not just once either.
I looked at the table before the match,which had us level on goal difference wi that lot,and a point behind. My heart sank when I saw who the ref was. McLean doesn’t accept many appointments these day,as he is the boss. So I reckoned he had told the klan that we would head into the derby next week absolutely level pegging,as he used all his “game management” skills to ensure that we got no better than a draw.
His fellow mason made a comment about “The best laid plans”,etc. Having him as ref on the day was simply an added bonus.
Sunday though had another significance as it was the anniversary of the last hootenanny. The week before was the day before my Mum’s 80th birthday-the main reason I was there. My sisters and I were in their usual pre-match venue,Crown Creighton on Duke Street,when GARRY turned up.
They know each other well,of course,and over the years,we had become really strong mates. We proceeded to outline a plan for a trip abroad should we get an attractive venue. And also to meet on Monday in Glasgow to scout out the venue for the weekend.
ATHINGOFBEAUTY quite rightly accused us of planning a day on the beer,but as venues were trying to recover from lockdown and were operating well below capacity,it was right that we check.
Just as well that we did. McChuills admitted they they hadn’t planned staffing or stock levels to cover the likes of us descending,thanks for the tip-off,I’ll get it sorted lads.
Wednesday saw us playing, I think, Mijtylland, which my sisters, my Dad and I took in at Irvine No 1 CSC, along with the excellent company of CRAIG76. And GARRY,who had decided to jump on a train from Clydebank for the occasion!
Well,the result might not have been up to much-but the company certainly was! And that includes you,CRAIG76,you should get yourself along again.
And so we come to the last hoot on the Saturday. Life and soul as ever,and the last time I ever saw GARRY. We had grown used to phoning/texting,especially during lockdown,and that happened for a week or so.
I’ve got so many good memories of our pal. Like suggesting that smoking one of his specials at Partick Cross,just outside The Three Judges,might not be a great idea if the cops pull up at the lights?
(That was the night I introduced a friend who is 6’10” to another one,over from The Bahamas. First time ever,I think,a 6’10” bloke has ever looked up and exclaimed-fuxake,whit f…..g height are YOU!)
Or getting barred from a pub in Cheltenham because his 18yo nephew wanted a J2O-and couldn’t prove his age! Place was full of kids,too.
Or our first visit to Belfast,about 2015. Due to the fact that I canny organise a piss-up in a brewery on my own behalf-though I manage pretty well for others,I hope!-I had to do my nightshift in Swindon and then drive to Cairnryan to catch a ferry. MACANBHEATHA R I P phoned me and suggested that the lads meet him to watch the Celtic game-I had no chance of being there in time even for the final whistle-in St Matthews Social Club,Short Strand.
Now,that sounds like a church hall to me-but I knew Sean better than that. GARRY and my Dad talked a few of the others on the plane into it,and they had a great time. Sean sadly passed away a few years back,also much missed. But St Matthews is a wonderful social club for any passing Celtic supporter.
There are so many more,but they can wait. Others might wish to offer their own thoughts-and they might remember things better!
Meeting him in May last year could have been the highlight-but it wasn’t. Not quite. That day,we finally met MACJAY,a long-time sparring partner from CQN. We had polar opposite opinions on how Celtic should be run,and certainly on politics. But we had always been entirely respectful towards each other,be it mail,text,blog or phone.
Over from Australia,he was 75yo,and the company included AULDHEID, my Dad, my nephew and my Aussie brother-in-law. Plus BROGANROGANTREVINO&HOGAN. The latter two are roughly ages with GARRY and me,the other three have only a few years between them.
MACJAY was everything we expected him to be,a smashing fella. Strong opinions,twinkle in his eye. And when he pointed out to GARRY that he was in the company of THREE people who had been at perhaps the best football match in history over sixty years previously-Real 7-3 Eintracht-his gast was flabbered. My Dad,MACJAY and AULDHEID had all been there.
Not bad from a company of nine-two of whom have little interest in Celtic!
I pointed out that we were also in the company of three Lisbon veterans. Not so,said my Dad. I couldnae get time off at the Met Office. And it would be a waste of time asking,as yer Mum would never have let me go anyway.
Aye,true. But BRT&H was there-his parents had organised most of the flights!
A very special day,especially as it was the only time I ever met MACJAY-R I P-who sadly died about a month later. I didn’t know either that a year ago last weekend would be the last time I would ever meet GARRY. But it was.
You’ll gather that I miss my pal. Anyone who met him will miss him. His family miss him so much more,and my sympathy is for them as his first anniversary approaches.
I console myself with the thought of him,wee Molly his Mum,and his Auntie Eileen-what a day it was when I met them for the first time-on their wee fluffy cloud,birds-eye seats and cheering and hugging every time we score on Saturday.
R I P,ya crazy diamond.
Above article by BMCUWP