Cometh the hour, cometh the man. A phrase invented in the era where men thought it was only them who stepped up to the mark and changed the tide of history. Even then, it wasn’t true. They ignored Cleopatra, Boudicca, Joan of Arc and countless others.
Cometh the hour, cometh the … person. Or as was the case today, cometh the 40 minute mark cometh Caitlin Hayes, the women’s team’s standout player in a standout campaign.
She is the driving force of this team. The inspiration. The talis … talisperson.
You see how little of the language was written with the women in mind?
But whatever terminology you are using, the meaning of it is the same.
It’s the big individuals, those who have proven themselves before, who step up when the going gets tough and the big things have to be done. When the need was greatest today, there she was.
Her strike came at the very moment when it looked as if we might go in at half time still tied.
The game at Ibrox was also poised at 0-0; all three teams with a chance of winning the league would have gone in for the break knowing that. The psychology of it was flipped the moment she got the ball on the edge of the box and drilled her shot expertly into the net.
At the Friday presser Caitlin was actually asked if the boss planned to play her up front; she has, of course, scored a lot of goals in her career so far. But she laughed that off, although we all know she’s capable of doing so.
That goal was further proof of it.
But more than anything else, it was an act of stepping up, the important individual bending the course of events and setting them on a new course. At 0-0 in both matches Glasgow City were champions, although the media had spent much of the week trying to pretend that it was the Ibrox club who went into these games as the favourites with a hand on the trophy.
Hayes’ shot upended everything, catapulting us to first, striking that half-time blow and giving us the necessary momentum.
There was a lot of football still to be played … but that should have been the moment the league was won.
Cometh the hour, cometh the hero.
And when Flint, the scorer of the second, nodded us into a 2-0 lead from a cracking cross ball, I had just one fear; that Glasgow City would leave it late but clinch it instead.
The sense of mounting dread I felt was more than justified.
What a shocker of an ending that was at Ibrox.
A piece of suicidal defending put Glasgow City ahead.
At that point, the home team had exactly zero incentive to push for an equaliser … nothing but pride.
Not even the notorious “bragging rights.”
What happened next was all the more horrific for subverting our expectations in every way.
The Ibrox club did, in fact, put the ball in the net … but in a season where they have had every single decision going, every single call from officials that it was possible to get, a season in which their men’s team has not conceded a single penalty kick in the league, in spite of many, many, many instances where they should have, it was a refereeing decision which went against them which snatched away the title we should have won.
No Hollywood director would have touched that.
That the Celtic fans had celebrated the goal, and that the women obviously thought that they had done it, was heartrending.
It is gutting. It is going to take time to get over that, but this team doesn’t have the luxury of that.
They have a cup final in a week.
So they will turn their thoughts to that … they have to.
Still, I’ve watched football a long time and that’s as sickening as anything I’ve seen.
It’s an atrocity of an ending, and I just hope the team can get over it, but they must be devastated and to see Caitlin Hayes, sobbing on the turf, when she should have been raising the trophy … yeah it’s horrendous.
But God, what respect I have for these women and their manager.
I am proud of the team, and we all should be … and I’ll write about that later, but right now it’s a little hard to focus on that when I genuinely feel sick to my stomach instead.