Socrates MacSporran

Socrates MacSporran
No I am not Chick Young, but I can remember when Scottish football was good

Thursday, 20 November 2014

Ach, It would have been different, had we voted Yes

THIS is the week when, in my seventh decade, I finally grew-up, football-wise. After our humbling from the Auld Enemy, at Celtic Park on tuesday night, I didn't kick the cat, break my Geordie next door neighbour's windows, or boost Diagio's profits from my attack on the cratur.
I haven't moped around like a bear with a sore head ever since. No, this time, I could merely switch off the television and accept: we were well-beaten, by a better team; try to forget it and move on.
I wasn't alone in taking this grown-up attitude to the result. Clearly, we are not as bad as we were - although, I never thought we were as bad as some critics tried to make out. But, conversely, we are not as good as we thought we were, and, we are a long way from where we want to be.
Just maybe, at long last, we are taking Mr Kipling's words to heart. Perhaps, these days, we can face the twin imposters, triumph and disaster, and treat them just the same (or something like that).
Mind you, horrible though it will be once their media goes into overdrive - this England team which Roy Hodgson is fashioning, has the look of one which, a year or two down the road, could be a real force at the sharp end of world football.
SADLY, the English following continues to let this potentially-exciting side down. That said, is our precious Tartan Army much better?
The TA has, over the years since taking the conscious decision to go away with a smile on their collective faces and show the world Scotland and England is different, given a whole new friendly reputation to the Scottish football fan. However, always there, in the background, behind all the Comin' Doon the Road and Doe a Deer nonsense, is the implied threat, best summed-up in the Scottish national motto: "Whaur daur meddle wi me".
The only time the collective restraints tend to come off, is when faced with the English Barmy Army. A lot of what the English fans were up to in the stands on Tuesday night seemed designed to intimidate and goad, thankfully, their efforts were largely in vain.
The English fans' repeated anti-IRA chanting has been highlighted in the English media. Clearly, they knew where they were, but, maybe, they didn't know that trying to wind-up Celtic fans at a Scotland game will rarely be productive.
Where it comes to fans' behaviour, football still, I think, hasn't got it right. I will go further, so-long as the police can restrain the worst elements, the football establishment isn't too bothered how the fans behave. Because, the "blazers" don't really care about the fans other than, to extract as much of their cash as they can, as quickly as they can.
WE'VE got a wee rugby international at Rugby Park on Saturday, so, Kilmarnock are on the road. But, for all the rival attraction of the oval ball game at Rugby Park, there is one absolutely stand-out fixture in God's County on the day.
All football roads should lead to Meadow Park, where Irvine Meadow's hugely-impressive home record will face it's ultimate test - Talbot in a Scottish Junior Cup tie.
For the first time in many a long year, the 'Bot go into a Junior Cup tie as the underdogs. As 'Bot boss Tommy Sloan admitted this week: "It really doesn't get much bigger than a cup tie between Meadow and Us".
Very true Tommy. The Meadow are unbeaten, at the top of the West Superleague's Premier Division - played eight, won eight; Talbot lie third, played seven, won six, lost one.
To be fair, Meadow have played nobody this season yet, while Talbot, having gone through a sticky patch which saw them surprisingly turfed out of the Senior Scottish Cup by Edinburgh City, then lose at Arthurlie in the League and to Glenafton in the Sectional League Cup final, have bounced back.
They beat the Glen 2-0 at New Cumnock on Saturday and will give a typically obdurate performance at Irvine. This game will attract a crowd greater than the majority of Saturday's senior fixtures. Indeed, I would not be surprised to see more people at Meadow Park than at some Premiership grounds on the day.
If the match lives up to the hype, it will be quite an occasion.

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