Peak Fitba Watch Week 2 turned into the difficult second album. But instead of only writing introvert lyrics about the hardship of touring and thinking the fans probably want more overproduced soundscapes rather than the fresh, raw garage feel of my first album, this was simply down to my broadband being down. Something not working. In Germany. Highly suspicious.
This meant that I had to trawl through a week or so of Scottish football media in only a couple of days. It was a concentrated hit. Micro-dosing on Scottish football media is fine, you never really notice it in your system, but condensed in such a way? Christ. It was a more dangerous hit than anything an indie band had taken on their first big tour.
This attack on the senses did crystallise a few self-evident truths:
- Steven Gerrard doesn’t know what certain words mean, but enjoys using them nonetheless.
- Some people that phone the Hotline are actually mental.
- The Daily Record website has more intrusive adverts than Scandinavian football tops.
But after several hours in a Peak Fitba fever dream I felt just like Sean that phoned into a competition on this week’s Clyde SSB:
‘Are you confident, Sean?’
‘I hope so.’
Coinage: An Aftermath
It was probably naïve to think that Scottish football would calm down a bit after the war-like scenes of the Edinburgh derby. No voluntary rehab, meditation and quiet time for self-reflection here. Instead, only a few days after Neil Lennon made a Hearts fan attack him with a coin (Caldwell, Gary; Maryhill; 2018) St Mirren fans – perhaps having an existential crisis about being a complete non-entity of a football club – decided to get in on the act by lobbing Paisley currency at Alfredo Morelos.
With an opinion that Caldwell would no doubt regard as controversial, Kelty Hearts manager, Barry Ferguson, came out in support of the unfortunate looking Colombian: ‘I read some comments saying Alfredo Morelos shouldn’t have gone to the St Mirren fans and stuck his tongue out before he got hit by the coin but it’s an entertainment business,’ said gaffer Ferguson.
Indeed, Barry, indeed. And as we all know, sticking your tongue out is fucking entertaining. Let’s all try it now. 1…2…3 tongue out!!!
God, that was so entertaining. Fuck yer EPL. #NoTongueNoParty
Despite being such a huge moving target no oil money was thrown at Kris Boyd as he goaded the Aberdeen fans by revealing his pregnancy after scoring a penalty against them. He was quick to play matters down: ‘My celebration was just a bit of banter…I’ve always been one to say that you need banter. People are paying good money to watch football and banter is part of it…if you give out a bit of banter then you need to take it back. Nothing was lobbed in my direction – I wish it was a pie to be honest!’ Say ‘banter’ again, Kris. I fucking dare ye.
The unholy trinity of incoherence were then rolled out to offer some meandering nonsense on the whole.
The Father (Gordon Smith): ‘Boyd didn’t go off the field. Not right in front of the Aberdeen fans. I regard Neil as a friend,’ he spluttered in the midst of five solid minutes of humming and hawing. But our father did sign off with a great joke: ‘In my view, the people that shout abuse at me are not demeaning me, they are demeaning themselves.’ Sure we are, Gordy, sure we are.
The Son (Alex Rae): ‘I was doing a bit for BT last year and I was getting scudded with missiles throughout the whole game. You’re thinking we are actually here to watch the game and give a professional outlook.’ At least this gave me the opportunity to type ‘scudded’ for the first time in my life.
The Holy Ghost (Tony Fitzpatrick, chief executive of St. Mirren): ‘These young girls, boys, whoever done that lad, it could be a man, you know, it could be an elderly man, who knows?’ he wondered. Hope you got all that down, police officer?
But what to do with these scallywags once they are caught? The Record Hotline – as always – has the progressive, reasonable answers:
‘If they catch these coin throwing idiots why don’t they just dump them on St Kilda for a week with no bread and water. Let them suffer,’ proposed George from Lochgelly. Just have George phone them up, I say.
Coingate was finally wrapped up with the correct answer coming from Alfie in London (maybe that one). He, in a suggestion straight out of the ‘Why Can’t We All Just Get Along’ playbook, proffered this: ‘All those coin throwers out there should save their energy and their coins and then donate them to their favourite charities. There are plenty of people hanging around football grounds on a Saturday with receptacles collecting coins for deserving charities. Why don’t supporters stick their spare change in those and do something positive rather than throw coins at managers and players that they do not like?’
Aww, Alfie. Beautiful, pure Alfie. My sweet, baby boy. I dread the day that your beautiful spirit is broken by this crazy world and you scream ‘what’s it all about!?’ at the top of your lungs.
Oor precious: Willie Collum
Not one to be outdone by anything going on in Scottish football, oor Willie was back at it again, doing what does best: shitting the bed. His decision to send off Daniel Candeias seemed to break Steven Gerrard’s tiny mind and send him into a spiral of rhetorical questions wherein the interviewer became completely obsolete:
‘Do we think he’s a good referee? Yes.
Is it my responsibility to support referees in this country? Yes it is.
Did he incite the crowd? Yes.
Did he deserve a yellow card? Yes.
Did he deserve two? In my opinion, no.
Should common sense prevail? Yes.
Will it? I doubt it.
I have to adapt to [the disciplinary system]. It is what it is, it’s life up here.
Can it improve? Yes.’
Will there ever be a boy born that can swim faster than a shark? Perhaps.
Should Norwich city centre be pedestrianised? Absolutely not.
This rebooting of Gerrard’s brain then appeared to have him confused as to what the word ‘resurrect’ meant.
‘It is just a clear mistake and we are trying to get it resurrected and we see how it pans out. I just think we need common sense in the game and if mistakes occur we should have a panel in place to resurrect them, not just from a Rangers point of view from a football point of view. If clear mistakes are made you should be able to resurrect them.’
If only there was a football-related example I could give Stevie as to what the word ‘resurrection’ means… hmm… can’t think.
But as Scottish fitba is all about entertainment and banter, those hip young things of cutting edge comedy that are the Hotline and Clyde SSB callers were quick to jump in and offer the cream of their wit:
‘Willie Wonka does it again eh? Why doesn’t Collum go away and open a chocolate factory somewhere and give us all peace,’ asked Neil from Keltybridge, with a comedic timing that should be selling out the Hydro.
‘He probably hands out yellow and red cards to his relatives at Christmas,’ speculated Sam from Airdrie, due to announce his debut at the Hammersmith Apollo any time now.
‘It’s well over time that he gets demoted or they get shot of him, put him somewhere we don’t see him,’ suggested Archie in a remarkably sinister way. Maybe he meant being shouted at by George from Lochgelly while sitting thirsty and hungry on St. Kilda.
Andy Little retires
‘Who?’ half of you are asking.
‘Didn’t he retire a while ago?’ ask the other half.
Why, you lot are so cheeky. Shame on you.
Yes, the Northern Irish player that famously… yes, famously… helped Rangers on ra journey ‘back’ from the lower echelons of Scottish football to the eternity of mid-table mediocrity they now face, has officially retired at the age of 29.
In an interview with Gordon Duncan he spoke about his glittering career. ‘I was part of an unbelievable squad of players who were idols of mine, the likes of Steven Davis was a hero, David Healy was a hero, Kris Boyd was a hero.’ My, my, that’s an utterly depressing list of idols you have there, Andy.
But away from the jokes the interview took a sombre turn when Andy described his last day at the artist formerly known as Murray Park: ‘I drove out of the blue gates and cried all the way to Stranraer,’ Andy shared in a sentence that not only sounds like a Belle and Sebastian B-side, but also managed to be the ultra-rare triple threat of bleak, sad and hilarious.
Good G, Bad G.
Having one aggressive and one nice authority figure is a common trope, but in an interesting twist Steven Gerrard has opted to take both roles on himself and slip between playing the good cop and bad cop when it comes to talking about his players:
‘Connor is constantly in my face saying, ‘’don’t give me a rest, don’t give me a rest, don’t give me a rest,’’ said Gerrard while acknowledging the fact that the defender has now played more games this season than the previous two combined. ‘[For] a lot of our players, all these experiences are new. Regular games, a European run, playing against individuals worth £20million. It is all a new experience for them.’ An unfortunate consequence, Stevie, of buying shite that no one else wants.
However, Stevie was quick to slip back into bad cop mode after the Spartak Moscow game. It was a game where you could be forgiven for thinking that you were watching one of those charity matches where both teams are full of chubby celebrities. But don’t think for a second that it was anything to do with Gerrard’s tactics: ‘If the problem was tactically then I would have looked to change formation or personnel. The goals we conceded were nothing to do with tactics.’ Ok, fair enough. But who was to blame?
‘We are bitterly disappointed with how we defended. We didn’t do the basics well enough, or clear our lines at the right time. At times, we weren’t in the right positions. People who have had a lot of praise and have done really, really well to get us to this stage just didn’t do the basics well enough.’ But wait… you are saying ‘we’, but you weren’t playing. Who are these ‘’people’’?
But Bad G refused to get too specific and blame anyone individually. Instead, he delivered yet another motivational masterclass:
‘U12’s, U13’s normally can clear the ball with either foot, I think when you get a little bit older you learn how to play the game positionally. But I can’t be too critical.’ I think you can, Stevie boy, I think you can.
Filip Benkovic is wonderful, isn’t he? From Football Manager 18 to real life, he is just a big gorgeous bastard of a boy: ‘Coming out onto the pitch it felt that the stadium was on fire. All those people, it felt like they gave us wings. It was very good.’ He’s the kind of player that makes me want to be a better person.
About Livingston he said: ‘If we played them in the street behind the stadium we must play in the same way we did against Leipzig because if we relax even a little bit it can kick us in the face.’ I will kick you in the face, Filip, kick your face with my lips.
Big Beautiful Benkovic is continually being asked by certain members of the media to comment Leicester City helicopter crash even after telling journalists that he doesn’t want to talk about it. It is fucking disgusting.
‘For Neil Lennon to say people hate him because he’s an Irish Catholic is wrong in my opinion. My ancestors are from Ireland and I’m loved everywhere I go!’ Mary Jane from Lennoxtown there, clearly on the mary jane.
‘I’ve supported Partick Thistle through many highs and lows but this present side is atrocious and only made worse by the lacklustre and unimaginative manager Gary Caldwell. Alas, we seem destined for the graveyard scenario of further relegation,’ said Thom from Glasgow with the big words and savvy only someone from the West End could manage when calling the Record Hotline.
‘Carlos [Pena] has tremendous football potential (Ed. note: He’s 29) and he’s a great person. He deserves better and if he asks me for any advice about going back to Rangers I will happily give him some.’ One of our own, Big Handsome Pedro, still on the wind up.
‘The heavy rain that fell in Scotland yesterday led to bonfire nights being postponed up and down the country. This meeting between the first and second—placed teams in the Ladbrokes Premiership also failed to ignite. The top-of-the-table encounter turned out to be more of a damp squib than a firecracker.’ Matt Lindsay’s opening paragraph to the game where Celtic beat Hearts 5-0, playing wonderful football in the process.
‘I didn’t consider not celebrating after what had happened because I don’t think you can really plan a reaction to scoring,’ said Kris Boyd, single-handedly dismissing a generation of pre-planned celebrations from Bebeto to Robbie Fowler.
Clyde SSB Beat the Pundit moment of the week: Which club do Roma share a stadium with? Derek Johnstone: Torino
Moment of the week: ‘I am not sure what to think. It’s a lovely gesture but I just keep thinking that it’s all a bit, ‘look at me, look at me’. Bobby Lennox on his soon-to-be unveiled statue in Saltcoats’. You’re immortal, Bobby.