Whistle for it

SCOTTISH football fans are getting a bad time in the press these days, so we look back on happier times with these Diary stories about fans in the past, including the supporter who phoned to tell us: "I can't stand these people who hate football, but still go along to games to cause trouble and ruin it for everybody else.

"Bloody referees …"

Ripping yarn

IT was our feature writer chum on The Herald, Teddy Jamieson, who got to the bottom of the oft-told tale of flash Charlie Nicholas, when at Celtic in the late seventies, tearing up a £20 note in front of a fan who was giving him grief to show he was rich and didn't care.

Teddy asked Charlie about it who said: "I think I was 17, 18. I shouldn't have been allowed in the pub. There was this guy giving me earache all night. 'I'm better than you. I'm better than you'. I went into the gents and he was right at my back and he gave it to me again. So I took the £20 and said, 'Can you do this?' I ripped it up and threw it on the ground and walked out. He came out and went to his mates looking a bit sheepish. My point was made and I sprinted straight back into the toilet to get the £20 note to Sellotape it up.”

All aboard

A READER once heard a fan discussing his trip to an away game in the SPL, and how he managed to cadge a lift back on a supporters' bus. "So they had a spare seat?" asked his pal. "Aye," the chap replied. "It was full originally, but fortunately someone got lifted.”

Going higher

NOT all football chants are foul-mouthed. When Glasgow University played Kilmarnock in the Scottish Cup at Rugby Park in the late 1960s, one of the student chants was "If you've got your Higher English clap your hands."

What a tail

AND not everyone is a football fan. When The Herald ran a story about Morton's mascot Cappie the Cat having its tail ripped off when it caught it in the dressing-room door, and club medics sewing it back on, a reader phoned to express outrage that it had not been treated more humanely and taken to a vet's. The reporter gently explained that it was a costumed fan and not a real cat.

Suits you

THERE were a few Diary stories about Rangers' epic struggle to climb back through all the leagues after going into administration. Many Rangers fans followed them on the comeback trail, and boasted that the club set a record for the largest crowd in the world at any fourth tier football game. However a Celtic fan phoned to tell us: "That's a bit like boasting about being the best-dressed man in Albania.”

And when Brechin equalised against Rangers before eventually losing, the Brechin fans were chanting: "Are you Forfar in disguise?”

Work it

WE should, of course, also mention Junior Football. Our chum Graham Scott was at an Auchinleck Talbot v Beith game in the old mining village when an Auchinleck fan, frustrated by a delay in the game, shouted: "C'mon ref, ah've ma work to get up for in the morning." A Beith fan immediately shouted over: "You don't live in Auchinleck then?”

Blowing in the wind

AND, finally, the Tartan Army. A Renfrewshire reader was in Paris for a France v Scotland game when he saw one of his kilted brethren wearing a T-shirt with "ventilateur" printed on the back. Our reader could only surmise that the chap had used an electronic dictionary to find out the French word for fan and have it printed as a welcoming gesture. Alas ventilateur is of the electric fan variety.

THOSE WERE THE DAYS - 1958: The show of hands that turned Bearsden into a burgh