Who would have thought it?

Published on Wednesday 11th January, 2012 by Celtic Trust

Vincent Doherty shares some thoughts on that turnaround

A belated Happy New Year.

As my small but growing army of readers, now estimated to be in double figures will know I haven’t quite mastered the blogging technique. I tend to be quite traditional in terms of writing. Conservative even. If it’s not 1,500 words or thereabouts it doesn’t constitute an article. Which is precisely the point. It’s not supposed to be an article. Or even an essay. Just a blog. It’s one of the downsides of a posh British university education. One tends towards the old ‘weights and measures’ mentality required for what was once known as ‘colonial administration.’ However, I digress. What I was trying to say is that from now on this coveted space will try to be more like other blogs. It promises to be more regular. Short. Snappy. No longer stuffy or snobby aimed only at an intelligent and discerning readership.  In short , more ‘popular.’ Full  of wisdom , humility and syndicated insights, incisive ground breaking journalism, good humour and general all round hilarity

General hilarity all round.

Speaking of general all round hilarity , I was clearing out my ‘study’ (New Year Resolution from 2010) last week and came across a semi orgasmic tribute to the Rangers under the by-line of Steward Fisher of the Sunday Herald no less, entitled ‘Model Blue Army,’ Complete with a page 3 centre spread of Jelevic, the article fawned, as the author waxed lyrical of the ‘military precision’ with which the boys in blue were marching ceremoniously towards title number 4. The 3-1 defeat of Dundee United that day had been accompanied by a British Army ‘display’ at Ibrox, a not uncommon occurrence these days which no doubt had a lot of little hearts standing proudly to attention and managed to fill a few seats into the bargain. (How come no one ever foams at the mouth about the waste of tax payers money on such occasions. ) The article noted second placed Motherwell were trailing the Model Army by 12 points whilst Celtic were pretty much dead and buried languishing 15 points behind.

I’d been in Glasgow for a few days for the Rennes game on the Thursday were we put in an impressive performance. Nevertheless I have to say I was a bit apprehensive as I got on a train to Motherwell that Sunday morning the 6,November 2011. It was an unusually bright sunny morning .Clear blue sky, bird song, not even a sign of winter All of 2 months ago  it must be now  this coming weekend. With panic beginning to turn to desperation Lenny opted as has been the wont of successive Celtic Mangers in recent years for Paddy Mc Court. With 10 minutes to go the ’Derry Pele’  picked up the ball inside his own half . The man  who put the maze in mazy does what only he can do. Shrugs to the left. Shrugs to the right. Mc Court, Stokes, Hooper. Goal. A moment of history in the making as Celtic signal the beginning of the fight back. Cue the celebrations. Truth be told we haven’t stopped celebrating since. See what I mean then by general hilarity all round.

After all these years Santa reappears.

Due to family commitments and pre-festive preparations I was unable to make the game against Dunfermline on the 24th. Moreover as the traditional Christmas Eve lunch with my wife’s family was booked for 2.30, there was no way I could even think about trying to excuse myself to watch the game on television. So lunch began with a me announcing a media blackout to those in attendance which coincided with me turning off my mobile phone. I made it clear to all concerned I did not want to be informed of any football scores particularly the Celtic result. I had determined to sweat it out till midnight and when the family were safely tucked away in bed I’d watch the delayed ‘live coverage’ at midnight. I was aware that anything other than a Celtic victory would have serious implications for not only myself but indeed for those who love me at close quarters. I may appear as the picture of nonchalance and charm, good humour and witty repartee but underneath their lurks a very sore loser. A very sore loser who takes any Celtic defeat as a personal affront. So I knew what lay in store if things did not go to plan. Unusually on Celtic TV because the boys in blue had kicked off and hour earlier the commentators kept us abreast of what was going on at St. Mirren. As the minutes ticked away I was caught in that familiar space known to Celtic fans mid way between agony and ecstasy. Finally their result came in and as just I was about to do wake up the whole street Dunfermline got one back. Cue 5 minutes of  anxiety which I’m pretty sure could be felt upstairs. Then the bliss. The sheer unadulterated all your Christmas presents come at once bliss that happens only very infrequently on Christmas mornings. When I stopped dancing and looked around, I saw Santa Claus disappear up the chimney. By the way he was dressed in the traditional green and white pre Coca Cola outfit and I’m sure he whispered ‘Away the Bhoys’ as he faithfully departed. The Christmas proceedings at the Doherty household and no doubt in Celtic households across the globe proceeded in an atmosphere of general hilarity.

Good things come to those who wait.

My brothers were dead lucky this year, I managed to get hold of two tickets for the game against them on the 28th. It was intended that all three Doherty brothers from the Top of the Hill would attend in unison for the first time. Alas one had to pull out but his ticket was put to good use within the family. It had been a wonderful Xmas, and all in all, ceteris paribus as they say, 2011 had been an otherwise wonderful year. I had continued to do the things I love. I love to play a tune or sing a song. I love to dance a jig set or a reel set. I love holidays. I loved India in February with my wife. I love the Willie Clancy Week. I loved my time teaching in Tocane in the South of France in the summer. I loved the long days visiting and hanging out with my daughter in London. I loved the times I spent with my family in Derry, and my wife in Connemara. I’ve loved my time on the road with the Celtic faithful. More than anything else I love beating them. Joe Ledley’s header rounded off an incredible last week of 2011 from a football perspective and closed the window on the old year perfectly. It would be true to say that proceedings in the Celtic supporter’s club on the London Road that night were conducted in an atmosphere of general all round hilarity. As I put my head down on the pillow in Rosie’s spare room that night, I thought about how quickly things had changed and whispered a quick prayer for all of you out there who hope as I do that we learnt some lessons from the past, that this is indeed ‘just the beginning’ of our New Year celebrations .Happy New Year!


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1 comment
NedCoyle says:
2012-01-11 04:53:51

Nice article, enjoyed the read. Hail Hail!


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