Colin Watt with A Celtic State of Mind – A virtual matchday guide: Football, but not as we know it…

Vote now for A CELTIC STATE OF MIND as BEST INTERNATIONAL PODCAST at this year’s FOOTBALL CONTENT AWARDS:

It’s Saturday 10am, the hangover from the Zoom quiz from the night before is kicking in, you stumble out of bed, desperate for a gasp of water… a mistake, that’s vodka from the night before, what a start! You stumble into the kitchen later, there’s bottles of beer lying all over the worktop, that bottle of Vodka is sitting there too. You drank all the beers and moved on to the good lady’s favourite Russian tipple (she’ll be raging at that); urgh this hangover needs shifted, off to the fridge to see what’s there. Result, the butcher’s package you seen advertised on the local Facebook group arrived yesterday, thirty items for £50, seems a bit pricey but Iain from work tagged you and said he gave it a try last month; so why not, eh?

Sweet chilli and red onion sausages, what the fuck! Nah, that’s not going to cure this sore heid, wait…what’s this? JACKPOT! Some quality square sausage, and a packet of tattie scones, geez the frying pan over! BEEP BEEP. That’s the boys up, the WhatsApp group is already kicking off, big Tam’s getting accused of cheating on last night’s quiz, he’s posting screenshots to show it wasn’t him. The smell coming from the kitchen is incredible, you’re feeling a helluva lot better already. The phones not stopping buzzing, the conversation has moved on, now the coupons are getting discussed. Last week was a bit of a result for the group, only Alan, daft enough to think Morton could beat Livingston in the Betfred Cup, was a loser. Football’s getting a wee bit easier to predict.

Shit… The square sausage, uck it’s still edible, just a wee bit burnt, it’ll do. Butter a crispy roll, get the tattie scone on and find the HP bottle. Sorted. The living room needs a tidy but you’ll get to that; same time you’ll get to the kitchen, oh aye, and that Ikea furniture the missus insisted you queue an hour to get into the shop at Braehead for. “Eh, an’ are you the only wan with a mooth in this hoose?” Ah well, that’s the peace broken. “Uck, dae it yerself; it’s a’ lying in there.” Probably not the wisest words to come out of your mouth but you’re struggling as much as she is. Then you remember: you need to keep the peace, she’s taking the kids round to the in-laws to let you have the boys over for the game. “Eh, actually hen, you sit down and I’ll get it.” There, that’s worked a treat. It’s fuckin’ annoyin’; wee Sturgeon says you can still only have a maximum of six inside the hoose at one time, it was hard telling wee Dave there was no room but he ditched the boys for the pre-season game against Clyde and he reckons he’s still not over that cold… It ain’t worth the risk.

You’re both fed now, and it’s getting on for 12 o’clock, the weans are nipping around your feet: “Daddy, daddy, can I stay and watch the football with you?” Usually cute, but today no chance, you’ve already told Dave he can’t come, you can’t risk telling someone else now as well. “Next week, son. Me and you we’ll watch it tonight when you come in.” That should work, the wee man’s Cellic-daft, the missus wasn’t happy at first but even she thought he looked cute in the full kit – result. “I’m jist goin to the shops, love. Need anything?” Again you’re trying to sound helpful but really you’re thinking you need a few cases in before it gets busy, forty minutes in the queue at Tesco last week and it was pishing of rain! “If you could get me a bottle of Rosé to take round to my mum’s, that would be great. Thanks” Even better, her drinking means that’s your excuse sorted for when you’re drunk an’ she gets home!

Off you trot, taking the car, you probably shouldn’t but who’s going to walk half-a-mile with a load of shopping? Turnin’ in to park, you can see the queue, it’s bad but not as bad as last week. Parking up, you check your phone, three messages, two from the wife, an’ one from the group chat, straight away you check the group chat, it’s only natural, Steve’s called off, full of apologies, most likely hungover from the night before and can’t be arsed but he still makes up a story – you know no one in the chat believes him but no one can be bothered to call him out. Do you message Dave now and tell him there’s space to come over? You already feel bad not inviting him but he might still have that cold, uck, just let me messa— What’s she wanting now? “Could you get me two bottles, please? Mum’s going to have a few glasses too.” Even better! What was it you were doing again? Doesn’t matter, it’ll come back to you, front of the queue now, trolley in hand. That big baldy security-guard on the door reminds you to use the hand-sanitizer and spray for the trolley. “Aye, cheers mate”.

In you get, you know this one-way system like the back of your hand now, down the bread-aisle lets you go up the bevvy-aisle. Stella’s on offer, it’s not the best but it’ll do, two dozen bottles for £18, get two. Don’t forget the Rosé. Fuck it, jist get the expensive stuff, she can’t moan at you for that, it’s worth it, it’s game day. It’s getting on half-one and the boys are starting to come over at 2, you throw in some crisps and snacks, they won’t get eaten but you know if you don’t get them some bastard’ll ask, “You got any crisps, pal?, I’m a bit peckish.” There’s one in every group, and if you’re going, nah there isn’t in my group, well the likelihood is it’s you!

Queues aren’t as bad as they used to be but you still wait for eternity, as the wee wumman serving just seems to keep yapping away: “Aye, it’s good to get back to nearly normal… aye, the perspex is comin’ doon next week I’ve heard.” That’s smashin’, hen, but we’ve goat places to be, right!

Listen to COSMIC ROUGH RIDERS’ JAMES CLIFFORD with A Celtic State of Mind here:

Finally, you’re back in the car, the queue you joined is now twice as big as it was when you were in it, thank fuck it’s not you! There’s a car waiting to take your space; so, he’s very kindly letting you reverse out, and then you nod to each other, he rolls down the window, “Cracking tap, mate. Hope we get the win the day. Hail Hail!” Ah, you forgot, you’ve got the ’88 retro top on, “Aye buzzing, mate. Hail Hail”. That’s put a smile on yer face, you were meant to do something when you were going into Tesco… uck, it’ll come back to you eventually. Driving back to the house, Tam and Stuart are on their 300th series of ‘Off the Ball’, this week’s team of the week is the Cutlery XI, and somehow there’s got to be a way to get Tommy Ring into that team. Jason Leitch is still on telling us it’s too soon to get fans back in the stadiums but it’s not too far away. It’s been four months since the peak of the outbreak but it’s still too early.. Pulling into the driveway, the kids are playing in the garden, the wife’s sitting outside on the deckchair. “Aw thanks, babe. We’re just waiting on my dad coming to pick us up. When are the boys due round?” “Eh, anytime now probably.” “Just don’t get too drunk like last week, please.” Last week was rough, admittedly, a shot for every goal was a bit awkward when Celtic beat Clyde 9-0. “Nae worries”. Timing couldn’t be better, the father-in-law turns up minutes before the first of the lads turns up, it’s wee Sean, he’s always the first here, despite telling him you were getting the beers in, he turns up with a case of Corona, this could end up getting messy.

One by one, they all turn up, apart from Stevie, he’s sticking with the story he told us earlier, ah well! Fuck, wee Dave, is it too late to text him now? It’s thirty minutes to kick off, you drop him a quick text. Everybody’s all sorted with a bevvy, Celtic TVs all loaded up, no pictures yet but it’s Liam McGrandles playing in the background. A cheer goes up, nah the games not about to kick off, but it’s the Scott Brown song! A classic! Options pop up on the screen, Vote on the Celtic TV App for the next song: A) Fields of Athenry; B) Over and Over; and C) Neil Lennon Song… It’s a special feature that’s been introduced to improve matchdays .

Five minutes to kick-off, up comes Gerry McCulloch, Kelly Clark and Tom Boyd, they’re all socially distant even at an empty Celtic Park, they’re here to run through the teams. John Ledwith screams out for the empty stadium to “Make some noise for the Bhoys.” Broony is there once again leading them out in that stunning new Adidas home kit, you know the one you all bought in the first week because everyone wants some of that new gear.

Out comes the legend Danny McGrain, facemask on mind you, still got to be careful, the flagpole is standing there with Neil Doncaster and Peter Lawwell waiting on Danny to come and unfurl the flag. “He played his part in the last nine-in-a-row, now he’s here to celebrate this one, Celtic family, even from home give it up for Danny McGrain!!” Poor John, he’s still giving it his all whilst most of us are laughing at the stupidity of the situation “He sounds like a complete fanny, eh”. Flag hoisted, and the huddle starts to take shape, social distancing or not, Celtic aren’t going to give up on this tradition.

“Come on, Bhoys…” “Intae this mob…” “Start as we mean to go on…” “First step on the road to the 10…” Bobby Madden puts the ball down on the centre circle. It’s Celtic v Hamilton, the first hurdle. Odsonne Edouard stands over the ball and the whistle goes… and NOTHING. The screens froze. “Fur fucks sake!” “Fucking typical!” The groans start in the room. “Aw right, hold oan and I’ll check the internet.” A quick check on Twitter tells you it’s not just you that’s having problems, time to go and check the router, Virgin Media has been absolutely brutal during lockdown; so there’s a good chance it’s that. “Hold on, here we go, WHEYYY” it’s back, Mikey Johnstone has the ball down the right-hand side, a cross comes over and Griffiths just heads wide. A good start! Goal-kick… “Aw fur fucks sake, its gone again.” This time Celtic TV is asking for your client code to reactivate your account. The boys in the room are checking the betting Apps to see if we’ve scored yet, “Honestly boys, my IPTV wouldn’t even crash like this.” “Fuck up, Sean.” Sean gets shot down quickly, he’s got one of those packages that cost £50 a year and he’s able to pick up every channel across Europe, but he’s still forty-five seconds behind Celtic TV, as we found out last week.

“It’s back, thank fuck!” Brown has the ball in the middle of the park, the pass is sprayed out to Jeremie Frimpong. Frimpong beats his man down the line with pace, stops, cuts back and finds Tom Rogic on the edge of the area, and he curls his shot high past the Hamilton goalkeeper and into the top corner. “YASSSSSSS!” The first goal on the road to the 10, it’s kicked off, it ain’t Celtic Park but you’re here with your friends, even Dave who turned up just before kick-off, he took the remote to watch the goal back from the seventeen different camera angles that Celtic TV allows. This is Scottish Football in season 2020-21, it’s football, not how we want it, but it’s back…

Well, until the internet cuts oot.

Colin Watt

Vote now for A CELTIC STATE OF MIND as BEST INTERNATIONAL PODCAST at this year’s FOOTBALL CONTENT AWARDS:

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