It’s fair to say Pete Doherty has a reputation for self-sabotage, and he’s at it again in Glasgow on Friday night.

Between songs the  joint-frontman of The Libertines holds up a stuffed effigy of Celtic mascot Hoopy the Huddle Hound, bringing a chorus of boos from half of the Òran Mór crowd. “A friend gave it to me,” the singer mumbles. “I’ve got family who are Rangers fans.” The other half of the crowd boos.

That’s really as hostile as it was ever likely to get, given the crowd is made up entirely of the hardcore devotees. These days The Libertines are more likely to be headlining Hyde Park or Reading Festival than packing them into a sweaty basement – before the show it’s announced they’ll play the Barrowlands in October – but it’s the smaller venues where they’ve always been at their best.

At their peak they were ramshackle – sometimes thrilling, sometimes disastrous – but tonight there’s never any danger of things going off the rails. The show sold out in three minutes when it was announced, and it’s packed and sweaty in the West End of Glasgow. A man from Sunderland laments loudly that he’s not tall enough to “p*** in the sink” as he stands in a lengthy queue for the gents, while another two drenched in sweat may be regretting the choice to wear the French military garb tonight’s headliners sported in their heyday.

The Herald: The Libertines.

The venue is small enough that those at the educational angle can see Doherty, fellow frontman Carl Barat, bassist John Hassall and drummer Gary Powell having a fortifying shot at the side of the stage before walking on but tequila is, thankfully, the hardest substance you’re likely to see any of them touch these days.

Things kick off with the title track from debut Up The Bracket, before ‘Vertigo’ is greeted with a joyous hail of flying pints. ‘Run, Run, Run’, the new single from forthcoming album All Quiet on the Eastern Esplanade is greeted like an old favourite – it’ll kill at the Barras later this year.

Where previously a Libertines show would be as likely to end with an arrest as an encore, the biggest test of legal limits tonight is with regard to fire codes, as a birthday cake is brought on for Hassell and the crowd serenades him with Happy Birthday.

One drawback of such a small venue is that if attention drifts, as it does for ‘Night of the Hunter’, the chatter from the back of the room is all too obvious but things are soon back on track for ‘Music When The Lights Go Out’ and ‘Can’t Stand Me Now’.

Read More: The Boys in the Back: The Libertines drummer on Carl and Pete, drugs, and album four

Arguably the band’s defining song, the latter details the breakdown in Barat and Doherty’s relationship in the lead-up to the recording of their second album. With the second part of the equation now clean and, if not sober, off the hard drugs it comes off as more explanatory than recriminatory: “cornered the boy kicked out at the world/the world kicked back a lot f*****g harder”.

Barat leads the crowd in a full-throated singalong to ‘What Katy Did’, while shirts are off and limbs are flying for fan favourite ‘Death On The Stairs’.

“We saved the best for last,” drummer Powell says as the foursome leave the stage for their encore. “This will be the last small venue we play for yeaaars,” says Doherty.

As the crowd patiently awaits their return an audio track of classic Simpsons clips plays, the two main men trading “Monorail!” chants as they walk back to their mics.

‘The Good Old Days’ is followed by an acapella rendition of ‘Scotland the Brave’ and a “f*** the Tories” chant set to The White Stripes’ ‘Seven Nation Army’ before ‘Don’t Look Back Into The Sun’ closes things out, Barat and Doherty sharing a mic and gazing lovingly into the other’s eyes.

A little under an hour and a half after the former wildmen of British indie took the stage they’re done, the four clasping hands and bowing to the room before it’s even hit quarter past 10. What became of the likely lads indeed.