Posted on Thursday, 9th September 2010 by lordofthewing
I’m a day late, yes I know this but so potent was my hangover after celebrating Scotland’s victory over Liechtenstein or somebody I needed to recover in a darkened room for 24hrs. This of course is a complete lie (apart from the hangover) because I never even watched the Hampden showdown and from the reports I’ve read the performance was a new low.
Thankfully I had spared myself the viewing by attending Laytown Races on Wednesday evening with friends who were visting from Texas. In fact the only football I did see was snippets of the Republic of Ireland game in the pub afterwards. McGeady to Keane – Goal, I remember feeling slighy dismayed through a cider haze that we won’t see that combination at Celtic Park this season. Although McCourt glides past 3 before setting up Stokes for his hat-trick at Ibrox sounds pretty sweet too.
It’s been a long time since I derived any excitement from watching my home nation and would probably see more of the Irish games now anyway. This isn’t because I choose to watch one over the other but it’s merely to do with the fact that living in Ireland the games are more accesible to me.
If truth be told I get little out of watching any football other than Celtic. Barça v Real Madrid or Man Utd v Liverpool does nothing for me but you can bet I will be tuned in next Tuesday to see the orcs humiliated at Old Trafford (surely).
So with no Celtic at the weekend past it really has been quiet in Celtic cyberspace since the win in Motherwell. We’ve still had the occasional online debate over the transfer window ‘good or bad’ ‘happy or sad’ and the now yearly appearance of Dermot Desmond banging his head off Hadrian’s Wall in his quest to relocate the club to England.
If you really must persue this pipe-dream please do so privately as it’s becoming slighly emabarrassing even to those who think there is something in it. The EPL doesn’t want us, why would they? As the standard of football in Scotland declines year upon year we become even less of an attraction to the few down South that have spoken up on our behalf. We need to fix ‘us’ before we pimp out the product.
That takes me nicely onto the only piece of news I’ve found in the slightest bit interesting this week. Today I read an interesting article in todays Scottish Herald where SPL chief Neil Doncaster discussed briefly the reintroduction of terracing in Scotland.
He said he has visited the Bundesliga to look at their model and how a return to sections of standing enclosures has boosted attendances and atmosphere at grounds across Germany. Without knowing the ins & outs of it all I think they have sections in the stadiums with removable seats so the terracing can be for standing in domestic competition but then seated for games in the European cups. Sounds like a great idea to me but just how we would go about introducing it at Celtic Park I have no idea. Thats not for us to worry about we just need to think of the merits, the pro’s & cons if you will.
As someone who was lucky enough to start going to Celtic games week in week out in the centenary year I grew up on the slopes of Celtic Park. The Jungle was my place of worship and a visit to the Celtic End an occasional nuisance if you never got up Janefield Street in time before the ‘full’ sign went up.
The Jungle has legendery status amongst the Celtic support and rightly so. There was no better feeling than being in the centre of the throng when it was in full voice or the sheer pandemonium of a goal celebration. It didn’t matter if somebody was jumping around in front of you or going mental, this is what going to the football was all about. These days you get shouted down & reported to a steward if you stand up to take a fiver out your back pocket. These greetin faced clowns wouldn’t have lasted 5 minutes in the 80′s.
Thankfully this season the ever expanding Green Brigade have been provided a section of their own as they try to bring back some of the atmosphere to a stadium that is dead, or certainly dying. I admire their commitment and pray they are left in peace by over zellous stewerds and police.
If I was 16 to my 20′s now I can think of no better place to be watching a game in the ground, they are creating thier own mini jungle and fair play to them for that. They are ‘supporting’ Celtic while the majority just ‘watch’ Celtic. They jump about & sing while the rest moan & groan at a misplaced place or because the guy in front of him has stood up to go to the toilet. They enjoy going to support Celtic the rest endure it.
Thinking back to the centenery year, terracing and this weekends opponents Hearts it reminded me of one of my favourite Celtic games I ever attended. You may be surprised to learn it wasn’t one of the famous European nights or a mauling of Rangers. It wasn’t even a victory but a 2 each draw at home to Hearts in the centenery year.
The game was a capacity affair in the days when Hearts and Hibs for that matter would fill thier allocation in the Rangers End. Myself and my mates had missed out on the jungle this day and found ourselves right at the back, bang in the centre of the Celtic End, it may have been an all-ticket match actually.
I’m pretty sure it was a winter game as it certainly finished under the floodlights. Hearts had a two goal lead going into the last 10mins of the game but who scored for them I don’t recall (probably John Robertson) and I think they may also have been down to 10 men. You might be asking how this can be a memorable game when I can’t remember much, bare with me.
One thing I do remember is that not one of us thought we were beat, we knew we weren’t. There was a building of belief from the terraces as we pushed and pushed to get back into the game. We knew the goals were coming. 10mins or so to go we get a penalty which Andy Walker slots home, the celebrations are done with quickly though, we need to push them further. By we I mean the Jungle, the Celtic End, the Rangers End & even the Main Stand.
By them I mean our never say die heroes waging war on our behalf on the pitch. We were as one as the electricity from the support transmitted from fan to fan, side to side and end to end before finally charging the boot of Paul McStay in the 89th minute. Never before or since did I or have I witnessed an equalising goal met with such complete and utter joy.
The goal is below. Take a look at McStay’s face as he races towards the jungle. Where have those days gone, no longer you need to spend 2 or 3 mins to find your mates after a goal has moved you 20 feet from your starting jump. Rarely now do we embrace stangers that are family. God I miss those days, we’re in danger of losing everything that made the football fun. We’re losing the excitement and passion. We’re losing what made me proud to call myself a Celtic supporter.
The Green Brigade are going in the right direction though and more power to them. If Neil Doncaster can help bring back days like these then maybe just maybe everyone will fall back in love with Scottish football again.
I would like to pass on my sincere condolencies to the family & friends of Tillicoultry man Wullie Dawson who’s funeral took place today back home. Wullie was tragicaly taken from us in a road accident 12 days ago. Hail Hail brother RIP.
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