IT never fails to get to me! Big Game Day. My wife likened me to a five-year old this morning as I was getting ready for work; Brendan Rodgers came on to the BBC Sports report at around 06:35 and she said I’d lit up “like a wean at Christmas.” I admit that I did.
I was singing Grace quietly as I was getting ready but everything stopped so I could listen to Brendan. They just don’t understand!
CQN regular MNCelt sent me an e-mail yesterday as he was getting ready to fly over for the game; I’m sure he won’t mind me sharing that his good lady was “bemused as to what all the fuss is about. It’s just a soccer match.” Naw, it isnae!
It’s 07:30 and I’m sitting at work listening to Celtic songs, mainly the Wolfetones, through my headphones and I am feeling excited; within the hour I expect I will start getting texts from my younger brother starting his usual process of getting ready for another trip to Paradise on a Champions League night. So what makes it so special?
Apart from the opportunity to play against some of the best teams in Europe, it allows us to be amongst our own; it allows us to celebrate our heritage and history. For some, that is the heritage and history of this great Club of ours. For others (like me) it’s also a heritage of our Irish roots; and others (again, like me) there is also a bond to their faith.
This is reflected in the unity of our support; the songs we sing; and the fact that for most of us Celtic is a thing that is intrinsic to our being.
More than just a club, for many a way of life.
I’ve been going along to Celtic Park for over 50 years since 65/66 and there hasn’t been a single season, even when I lived in England for around 10 years, that I haven’t been a regular visitor. I can’t imagine not going. So much so that my good lady has a clause in her will charging my sons with the responsibility of making sure I get to Celtic Park every home game when I’m not fit enough to go on my own!
I will be distracted during the day thinking about the game; my plans have already been made to meet some of the Bhoys beforehand. The first thing I’ll do when I get home after the game is to sit down, pour a drink and watch the re-run of the game. Sometimes it’s fantastic to watch and appreciate a great performance and a positive result. On other occasions, it’s a painful reminder of where we went wrong; how we failed; or how the Brothers in Black manipulated a result!
There is a difference this season, though.
The past 2 seasons I’ve still been excited on Big Game Day, but there was always an underlying uneasiness; a feeling that it would be a struggle and that constant niggle that we would fail to hit the heights and reach our potential. Under Brendan Rodgers the whole club seems to have developed a new, positive vibe and that has regenerated the symbiosis between the players and the fans. We have some fantastic new players – Toure, Dembele and Sinclair – some rejuvenated players – Forrest, Brown, Rogic and Bitton- and Kieran Tierney!
Kieran gets it; he’s one of us and he knows in his heart what it means to be a true supporter. A 2016 Paul McStay or Tommy Burns.
Others, like wee Leigh Griffiths and Mikael Lustig, get it now that they have been part of the club.
It gets under your skin and becomes part of you.
It never leaves you.
That’s reflected in the fact the guys like Bertie Auld and John Clark (the second longest servant to the club after Willie Maley) are still around the club.
So how will I feel tomorrow after the game?
Part of that depends on the result. A win and I’ll be ecstatic; a draw and it won’t be the end of the world; a defeat and I’ll be very disappointed.
The other part doesn’t depend on the result.
I’ll still be a Celtic supporter.
I’ll still love my Club.
I’ll still be on CQN and other Celtic minded sites to look at the reports and opinions on the game.
Most of all, I’ll still Keep the Faith!
Then I’ll look forward to beating Comedy Club Sevco Rangers on Sunday!
Hail, Hail, the Celts are here!
Written by VFR800 for CQN.
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Images courtesy of Patrick McGuire from the recent 3-3 Manchester City match in the Champions League.