Upon arrival at Lennoxtown, I was startled by a giant life-sized cardboard cut out of a naked and oiled up Johan posing in a traditional Greco-Roman wrestling stance.  Intimidated, my eyes were drawn to the bottom of the cut-out, where plastered just below Johan’s larger than life package were the words – “To my greatest pupil Georgios, your friend and mentor Johan.”



A sudden moment of poignancy piqued and caught in my throat, could it be that despite the naked wrestling sessions (which no other squad member was ever made to compete in and I never got to win, he always pinned me on my belly and breathed heavily into my ear), the catapult throws and the out and out attempts to assassinate me, Johan was actually doing it all because he cared, because he wanted to toughen me up for the times he wouldn’t be there?  Had I gotten it all wrong?  A solitary tear fell from my eye and the world at once seemed a more sullen and sad place.


I trudged onto the training pitch, my head hanging low, hair over my face to hide the shame of my tears from my team-mates.  I had been downhearted anyway that I was now headed for south Africa to star in the “Greatest Show on Earth”, le Coup De Monde (as the French say) and that some of my peers and pals would be staying behind in Glasgow, however it transpired that none of them seemed particularly bothered about it all.