Tuesday, 30 October 2007

Thursday, 25 October 2007

Sunday, 21 October 2007

Chic Young - Celtic damned by faint praise, Rangers sycophancy reaches new heights (depths?)

Since I am a petty paranoiac and Celtic are currently preparing themselves for another testing Champions League tie abroad, I thought it might be a good time to draw your attention to an interesting piece from one of our upstanding Scottish media professionals.

Chic Young, that well-known St. Mirren fan (cough!), had a lot to say after Celtic and Rangers' last outings in the Champions League.

It would be interesting if someone was to do "an Allan McDonald" and hire a psychologist to assess the psyche of the author. As this is sadly not available, I myself have carried this out in my capacity as enthusiastic amateur shrink.

No doubt you are aware of the context - recent revival of the Scottish national team, Celtic have just defeated the current European Champions, Rangers (whilst not facing opposition of the same calibre) won against strong opposition away from home but by a greater margin.

Chic Young used his column on BBC website to laud these achievements. I think it makes interesting reading, particularly the excerpts I have selected below. Now remember, we are constantly fed the mantra that the "Old Firm" (hate that term) dominate Scottish media coverage in equal measure.

On Celtic's result -

"Here was a team who toiled for another result that piled higher still this country's towering reputation.

They shrugged off a ludicrous penalty decision that made you wonder if the Mafia were now in the business of delivering horses' heads to the pillows of referees.

They beat the champions of Europe fair and square and kept a remarkable dream alive - that of Scotland flourishing at the highest level of club and country football. "

And on Rangers -

"Lyon, the champions of France, 0 - Rangers, the second best team in Scotland, 3.

Astonishing. Remarkable. Breathtaking. You choose the adjective. They all fit.
It was fantasy football and I had a recurring scary thought in the back of my mind as I commentated on the match for BBC Scotland that I was actually making it all up, that I was hallucinating.

But there in the corners of the Stade Gerland were my comfort blankets, the huge electronic scoreboards that confirmed that, indeed, we were witnessing the carving up of a quality French side by a Scottish team on their side of the Channel, the likes of which hasn't been seen for, well, three weeks actually.

Rangers were awesome. I will not have it that they merely humbled an ordinary team, although, in the end, that is exactly what Lyon looked like.

They looked tortured souls, ripped asunder by the energy and rhythm, the fitness and drive, the shrewd tactics and management technique of Walter Smith and his swaggering stars."

I would venture to say... (now remember I am a card carrying paranoic!) that the author is ever so slightly more excited over one result than the other. Can you work out which one?

My amateur shrink analysis:

Celtic are praised for winning, credited with "toil" and the fact they "shrugged off" adversity. Metaphorically this is a wee patronising pat on the head. The author is someone who is happy to see Celtic win in an "it's good that the Scottish team won, as it helps all the other Scottish teams in Europe" manner.

Rangers, on the other hand, are showered with superlatives that give the impression that they are a team of gazelle like super athletes bonded together by a mastermind coach possessing the intellect of some sort of Einstein/Stephen Hawking hybrid. This is someone clearly overjoyed at some occurrence that is very close to his heart. He even lapses into a pre-emptive defence of anyone who dares to question the sanctity of this win - "I will not have it that they merely humbled an ordinary team...". A cursory glance at the match statistics would quickly lampoon the contention that "it was fantasy football", "Rangers were awesome" or Lyon were"ripped asunder by the energy and rhythmn, the fitness the drive blah blah". Unquestionably the author has a partisan view of this result.

I rest my case your honour.

I suppose I could've saved myself a lot of typing and just said "Chic Young is a hun". Would you have argued??

Blog update

I've given in to incessant requests from Blogger to upgrade the template for this blog. We were using one of the original templates and Blogger has been sending me frequent requests to upgrade it - so I did.

The main differences are technical (the new templates use CSS) so the blog doesn't actually look much different - but we have lost our customisations (such as the clock and page counter). We can put these back over the coming days and weeks.

The page counter was approaching 4,000 (3,944 to be precise) so it seemed a good time to upgrade the blog.

We are the best player at Celtic

Celtic's abysmal away peformances continue. Yesterday's beating was as comprehensive as it was predictable. I didn't even bother to watch it until half-time, and in the second half it was simply a matter of how many goals we lost. I thought only losing three was generous. Benfica might be able to improve on that total on Wednesday evening.

Why wee Gordon plays with a single striker when an Erskine over-50 XI would put a couple past our defence is beyond me. Our only chance on Wednesday is to win 9-8.

We do manage to win most of our SPL away games, thanks to the quality of the opposition. But against decent teams (i.e. Europe) we get found out. It's not for nothing that our European away record ranks alongside St Mirren's.

Yet, we are a force at Parkhead. Capable of competing with any team in the world. So, I say, that we, the supporters, are Celtic's best player and I demand a refund on my season ticket, a four year contract and £80,000 per week (shared between 55,000 other supporters).

Friday, 19 October 2007

Diana The Inquest

As we continue to spend millions on finding out the truth that matters, can we afford to laugh.

What was the cause of the accident?Fitting a Mercedes with parts from a second-hand 1961 Princess.

What would Diana be doing now if she were still alive?Trying to scrabble out of her coffin…that's why they put land mines round it.

Yesterday a ferryboat leaving Haiti capsized and drowned three hundred people. Fortunately a tragedy was avoided when it was discovered that none of them was a princess.

Diana, Queen of Hearts? More like off with her head.

Today we can all memorialise the sainted Mother Theresa and the beloved Princess Diana by eating curry and then sticking our fingers down our throats.

Who was Diana's favourite companion?A full-length mirror.

What is the difference between Diana and Honecker [the last ruler of the old communist East Germany). Honecker survived the wall.

Did the British secret service kill Diana?No, the French underground did.

What is the difference between those who don't like Diana jokes and a puppy?Eventually a puppy will stop whining.

Monday, 15 October 2007

Sunday, 14 October 2007

Celtic 7 Rangers 1 - 19th October 1957

The 50th Anniversary of the "Hampden in the Sun" cup final is the 19th October.

I thought it would be worth posting the following extract from Peter Burns and Pat Woods book "Oh, Hampden in the Sun" which details the great event and includes anecdotes from fans.


Paul Cantley (now resident in London) relates a moving family tale which centred around the events of 19 October 1957:

The story commences with the arrival of my eldest sister Anne in March 1957, the first-born of Jim and Norma Cantley. Naturally, they were elated at this and planned a future for their new family. Ten days later, however, their whole life was turned upside-down when Anne suffered a massive brain haemorrhage and was committed to hospital. The distress and the ordeal, with such a young infant, of the will she/won’t she recover scenario, thinking about what caused the haemorrhage and could there be a repetition? – it was unbearable to think about. So the summer months of 1957 were a long and painful struggle for my parents, the guilt never too far from their collective conscience, as to whether there was anything they could have done to avoid what had happened. It was only to get worse. In September 1957, after months of examination, the news was broken to my parents that their daughter had been diagnosed as suffering from hydrocephalus (i.e. water on the brain). She was permanently and severely brain damaged and would never progress mentally. Physically, her life expectancy was put at no better than five years.

Naturally, the strain had taken its toll on my parents’ life, marriage, their religious beliefs – everything! They questioned whether they would risk having any more children, with the possibility, however much dismissed by the medical profession, of a recurrence. Life was not worth living and my father, who was a fanatical Celtic/football man, quite naturally, had somewhat lost his appetite for the game.

It was my mother who convinced him to go to Hampden that October day – she said he would regret not going if they won – although I think Rangers were firm favourites for the final. She said he left for the game enduring a complex of emotions – a 25 year old going to see his team in a cup final against their greatest rivals versus the guilt of not staying at home in his family’s hour of need. The match details are well documented elsewhere and I won’t dwell on them here except to say that it was the most exceptional scoreline that is ever likely to occur in the history of this fixture.

After the game, Mum opened the door to Dad (who’d come straight home, being a teetotaller!) and said that he had a grin from ear to ear – the first she had seen in months. Although they had spent the previous six and a half months in a living nightmare, they knew at that defining moment that there was life and joy beyond their misery, and that everything, although not perfect, was not as bleak as they had imagined before. “The ways of the Lord are mysterious, but wise!”

The outcome was a rethink on the children front. My eldest brother was born in July 1958 (work it out if you have to!), the second of what were to be seven children (I’m number five) in the next ten years.

The rest? Anne never did recover and was institutionalised from the age of five, unable to communicate with the outside world, but she did live to the ripe old age of 27. Dad, my inspiration, passed away in 1989, after a stroke. My last cup final with him was the “Centenary” cup final in 1988 – a day our family will never forget and one which we constantly hark back to with fond memories.

I suppose you could say that the League Cup final victory of 1957 had a profound effect on all those who witnessed it for a variety of reasons. Life, such as the tragedy of Dunblane, is a great leveller in putting sporting rivalry such as the Old Firm’s into perspective. But the opposite, as in this instance, can also be true…


So to Big John, happy 50th anniversary on your conception!

It would be nice to get a repeat score on Saturday but things like that don't happen. Do they?

Wednesday, 10 October 2007

Radiohead's new album released online

Radiohead's new album is available - only online - and you pay what you want. More.

Thursday, 4 October 2007

Celtic goal and Dida incident

The Era Of Free Music Is Upon Us

Dida back at home

AC Milan keeper Dida recovers at home after being assaulted at Parkhead. We wish him a speedy recovery.