As the ball goes out of play and the pace of the game drops a fan will realise “I need to be somewhere.” At this point they will try to quietly dash out of the ground without drawing attention to themselves. But the objectors are an eagle-eyed bunch. They will spy them and quiet often let out an unprovoked and pointless remark at the expense of the “part-time fan” who’s going somewhere. I’ve seen this situation descend into a war of words between two perfect strangers. It even demands thread-upon-thread of opinion of internet message boards. The nothingness of this issue genuinely stuns me. Evidence that humans could find conflict in about absolutely everything. No wonder there’s always bloody wars – humans are ass-holes.
Tonight I did something even worse than leave a stadium early, I left a pub early. Celtic were coasting 2-0 going into an away second-leg in Holland. Confidence was high and we’ve been playing well. But what I saw in the first 60 or so minutes was the most pathetic, gutless, shapeless, cowardly, rudderless and even unlucky display I’ve endured in all my years watching my comedy football side.
We now seem incapable of just losing – we have to go all over-the-top and get completely indisputably ass-raped. We don’t do things by halves, disaster is always around the next corner. As the fourth cheap goal bulged the Celtic net, drifting past an increasingly irrelevant goalkeeper, I decided I’d had enough. What was done was done, me standing there in a boiling room full of increasingly furious middle-aged men served no purpose. Flood-light failure was Celtic’s only chance of a reprieve.
I left the pub. I bumped my way past dozens of raging Glaswegians. Each tightly gripping their pint of Guinness like it was Lukas Zaluska’s fragile neck. Some of them simply rolled their eyes. They probably wanted to leave as well only they’d just bought a fresh drink. Others growled as if to say “where the fuck are you going?” I was going home, I didn’t need to witness the humiliation unravelling before my eyes.
As I write the game will barely be finished and I don’t know the end result. Maybe we came back to stumble our way through on away goals. But I wouldn’t bet on it. Probably fair to say Celtic will be leaving European football early yet again. Boooooo.