In the spring a young man’s fancy lightly turns to thoughts of love -Tennyson.
Don’t be alarmed by the above line of poetry. I’m not now trying to kid on that I’m intellectual (I leave all that nonsense to Harry Brady and Lachie Mor) but the reason I quote Tennyson is to illustrate how much I used to hate the coming of that season and the light nights it bestows upon us.
Between 1988 and 1997 I used to dread the coming of spring because:
1. Celtic were not very good.
2. Rangers would win the league – and by a considerable margin at that. Spring was just a reminder of Celtic’s constant failure and that another Rangers title shindig was just around the corner.
It’s easy to forget how different times were back then compared with now. Young Bhoys in my work are distraught if the Celts finish second and look on with a sense of incredulity when I tell them there was a time when we were finishing as low as fourth and fifth behind Aberdeen, Hearts and Motherwell. I can still recall the feeling of trepidation when we went visiting places like Brockville, Broomfield and McDiarmid Park when we fretted if Celtic would have the talent – or even the fight – to get a result. More often than not we didn’t.
Then there was what was once referred to as Old Firm games. funnily enough we rarely got a heavy beating which seems incredible given the gulf of talent between the two teams at that time. In March 1992 Celtic lost a Scottish Cup semi final to 10 man Rangers on a night when it came down in sheets on to the Celtic fans standing in Hampden who stood soaked to skin with mild pleurisy. The uncovered end of Hampden you will note. The feeling of helplessness and misery is hard to put into words even now.
Rangers signed some of the most sought after players in Europe as we struggled by with bargain basement signings. It’s little consolation to realise now that this was all done on a ‘smoke and mirrors’ basis which would come back and haunt those at Ibrox in later years. Their demise in 2012 will not clear me of the troubled times I once endured.
I was the treasurer of the Govan Emerald supporters bus during the barren years and it was a constant battle trying to keep a bus on the road. There are guys I meet now and I know we share a bond that we supported the Celts during their hardest of times and it’s great to see them enjoy some marvellous moments in the last decade or so. Desire for success was so bad then that in 1994 we ran a bus to Tannadice – for a reserve cup final. Before you ask, we won 3-1 on the night. We were that desperate for Celtic to do well.
So I hope spring will forgive me and I now look forward to the annual coming of light replacing the winter darkness. These days the misery and helplessness is heaped upon another part of Glasgow and long may their misery last. But it serves to remind us that that good times should be savoured whilst you can and that they shouldn’t be taken for granted.
Nothing lasts forever but hopefully League wins, silverware and Champions League nights will be with us good Celts for some time to come. It’s my fervent hope that we will all fill Celtic Park on May 11th for the game against Dundee United when we will again receive the league championship trophy.
One more little quote before I go: The future’s so bright we’ve got to wear shades.