Oh how it ends, the hype and the hysteria.
A Rainy Night In Paisley.
If you’ve never had one you’ll never understand it.
There’s something about the air there, I think. If you’ve sat at that station at Paisley West (Paisley Canal) of a morning, suffering a hangover, or after a weird blind date, or some other social scene calamity that could only have happened there, you’ll get.
I once lost an entire collection of The Shield in boxsets on that damned train.
I know Fear And Loathing in Paisley. Or Fear And Loathing In Ferguslie Park to give it it’s proper name! If you’re from Glasgow, you’ll know it too …
Actually, I love Paisley and always have! I have good friends there and spent great times there. The night I lost those box sets was still a Grade 1 Good Memory, for many reasons. Add tonight to the list of wonderful Paisley memories, and the best bit of it didn’t happen in Paisley at all. It happened in the Sky Sports studios when St Mirren went 2-1 in front and they put the camera for a few delicious moments on Kris Boyd’s face.
The expression on it … like those GI’s who came out of the Vietnamese jungles after their first night on ambush; a combination of “What the F was that?” and “Where do I get clean underwear?”
Seeing Gerrard’s stony expression on the touchline was just as good.
Watching felt a bit like how it must have been to sit in the grandstand at the great parade and hear a wee guy in the front row shout out that the strutting emperor was bollock naked, that the fine new threads everybody was commenting on were actually still tucked up in the tailor’s box as he hot-footed it with half the treasury.
That sound you think you heard at full time? Egos smashing into tarmac. Bottles crashing to the dugout floor. An Invincible campaign? I’d say “don’t make me laugh” but I am already and I don’t know when or if I’m going to stop. In time for Sunday, surely?
If you’ve ever doubted the existence of a Higher Power, these are the moments when you realise that Something up there likes us. It’s as if He, She or It lays out the table for them, waits until they’re almost at it, and then pulls the tablecloth off like one of those magic tricks, except that this one scatters all the goodies onto the manky floor. It’s the Hope that kills them.
So if you, like me, have had a bellyful of their preening arrogance this past few weeks then do what I’m going to do tonight and savour it like fine wine. For all their talk, for all their swagger, you’d think they’d already put something in the bag before tonight … alas no. All their talk was only ever that. All their belief was simple delusion.
All their grandeur and hauteur was really only pride coming before the fall.
The first fall. Because now the first brick is out of the wall, now teams know to get in their faces, now that clubs see there’s nothing special about this mob but the hype, I think we’re going to see a lot more nights like tonight.
For the first time in a wee while we can enjoy our own, comforted by the thought that there will probably be green ribbons on the League Cup. Not ours, alas, but we’ll take this as a sign that the universe longs to right itself once more.
Fear and loathing have returned to Ibrox.
By God, it’s good to have the Banter Years back.