Scotsman Fanzone: 12th September

Well, the three ringed circus came into town and it didn’t disappoint. There was the confusing as both set of ‘fans’ indulged in behaviour that make those of right mind shake their heads in bemusement.


The engrossing came in the form of Celtic, shorn of their talisman, who without hitting previous attacking heights scored five goals and saw Moussa Dembele score a perfect hat-trick.


The amusing came when reviewing utterances from players who seem to think playing in Scotland is an easy way to retire.

So, onto the Nou Camp, a home from home in Europe over the last 10 years. The term underdog will not be under used or under-valued as we walk onto the field. This a different level to anything we have faced this season. No need for a reality check just a miracle.  

the costa del


the sun dragged up into the clear blue, throwing unflattering glances at faded buildings, years without protection taking their toll, shouts from those returning home, from the fluorescent clad cleaning up the sins, the regrets, the laughs from the night before, no regard to memories, to be remembered or forgot, bin bags and bleach, outside the one word neon, big screened, endlessly metallic bars: city, dreams, faces, soul doesn’t matter they are treated the same.


the sunbed race jumps into life, wobbling men, still feeling effects from previous excess, teetering to their favourite spot, a human donkey, weighed down by towels, inflatables, credit card installments: for the package fresh pool wear and trainers that can never be worn down the pub, kids and the crushing expectation of family duty, as those sunbeds don’t get themselves, it’s a war that only the smart win, he tells himself, forgetting that it’s a charged phone that sees him here.


the queue for the breakfast buffet, a storm to welcome the day, a patchwork of reds, browns, pales, wearying pleads for kids to eat, the sausage is the same, no poached eggs, the bacon is fatty, tatties? for breakfast? weak tea in small cups pass the time until the all inclusive alcohol is served by the pool bar, where the sunbeds are claimed, same spot as yesterday.
a break from the routine when work is done you say, as the boarding passes are checked, safety demonstration watched and the plane taxis for take off, you’re just replacing one for another one.

champions league


out! from behind the couch, stop pacing the room, biting your nails, walking the dog or feeding the cat, the WHISTLE has went!  the pounding hardcore heartbeat will fade, until the next time we want to visit the priest for confession. 


we don’t do stoically heroically nothingness, we stare dotingly at glorious failure, crumble to embarrassment, or a firework defeat, boring isnt us.  


credit card cleared, flight scanner booked-marked, conversations of a midday in madrid, lounging in london, hostelling by the rhine, an easy passage out the group, that we are dressed for the company that we are going to keep or at least have a demob suit to keep up appearances.   


the lucky ones leave work, others listen in traffic jams, some sit at non descript desks facing bland screens, a break in boredom of answering calls, pressing F5 over and over, then we scream, together


ah naw , barcelona……!

thousand yard stare




the letters one by one illuminated the cold brooding bleak Glasgow sky. adolescent habit had been changed, instead of European floodlight football, witnessing Liam Brady’s lowest management moment, the ballroom and my underagedness was my opponent.


huddled against the wall, from the frost and the stare of the bouncers on the door, no eye contact, look at your feet, see the gap and get in. it failed. no reasoning, just pleading and i’m sure there was tears, ticket ripped, a gruff, “on you go son” was music to my ears.


up the stairs and past wendy james with her unwelcoming glare, past the smell of the hot dogs that come with a warning of a week in bed, through the doors and into the hall, greeted by that giant mirror ball, no time to catch breath and drink it all in, live rock and roll was there, a blur of long sleeves, sideburns and hair, nostalgia says the hall was rammed, experience says different, down the middle, testing the famous wooden sprung floor, i had left any coolness at the front door, not that I had any, a sweaty set and it was gone, what the hell had just went on?


the following day, flicking frantically through the NME, pocket money handed over in Sleeves for the seasonstream EP, keepsakes, buttermouths, shires with island securing me and no roses at doors became part of my imagery, for a village boy, slight frayed and lost, this world was mine and at no cost.


many years have passed and many bands seen, I often wonder what might have been if I hadn’t connected that cold November night with a band with no name, i learned the half way line runs both ways, Liam Brady never did.   

the penalty


the tension, more knots in my stomach, than defenders legs, after facing patrick roberts, fear under the floodlights, he’s stepping up but you’re sitting down, burying your face hard into your hands which tell the story of the day.  

milk and fig soap, sweat and half time pie. you attempt to drill your face deeper to a calm place but can’t block out the noise, that bustle of energy, cheers and song to moussa dembele, that’s piercing the night air, only adds to the fear.

the whistle blows, the crowd inhales of a drowning man, then a silence, most respectful, grabs hold of the air, stillness, amid the chaos, before an atomic flash, enthrals then terrifies you with the reality that some time in the future, at the same time, at the same place, we will need to feel this all again. i’ll make sure my hands smell better next time.

standing up for celtic


from the graveyard to paradise, from the moment people started working for the cause to build the dream, you have always stood for celtic and you have always stood for me. you have survived storms, fires and the supports desires, from ambition to cinder tracks, cycle tracks, pavilions, drench-lights hunting wolves, a jungle refurbished, a 70’s stand, new clothes for your birthday and fergus mccanns plans.

thankfully you survived cambuslang.

standing on gravel, a crumbling terracing, with weeds poking through, seeing the game for free, no roofs or leaking roofs, flickering toilet lights, cold plastic seats surrounded by breeze-block grey, a cathedral of noise, passion, love, is the warmth to our paradise, the soul of the celtic way. your decoration has an eye to the past, your shape has changed, generations have attended, but you have remained the same. you have always stood for celtic and you have always stood for me.  

a northern prose: welcome

thank you you visiting, i’m sure you were probably looking for somewhere else. i’m going to use this blog to collate things that i’ve done over the years (I haven’t created an archive YET!) and also to capture what I am doing just now.

it will mainly contain musings about football and music.

if you like what you read then contact here.