THE 1990s began with me owning a season ticket at Parkhead. The decade ended with the dedicated Celtic reporter at the Evening Times being my average self.

If you are in to imagery, the years in between in terms of my football was mostly tumbleweed being blown across some grass, then Ally McCoist booting it past Pat Bonner.


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In what was my dream job, I didn’t get a single trophy to write about. The appointment came after the 1997/98 season. I missed that one great triumph but got to cover disaster after disaster.

I was a punter at the 1995 Scottish Cup final. A very drunk punter. So drunk that there was an unfortunate and regrettable incident involving me, a wall much steeper than it looked and a missing sign which read “Welcome to Holyrood Palace”.

That was it. Three trophies in

10 years. Oh, and total Rangers dominance.

The worst of all was a UEFA Cup tie against Neuchatel Xamax in 1991. Celtic lost 5-1 in Switzerland. My dad and I were there, travelling on a bus full of neds, Buckfast and more recordings of Wolfe Tones concerts than were absolutely necessary.

I hated all that stuff. I just loved the football. Songs about some Irishman shot dead decades before I was born didn’t really do much for me. I was more a Carter the Unstoppable Sex Machine kind of lad.

At the home game, Charlie Nicholas, pictured, missed a penalty and within minutes I had to be helped out of the ground having succumbed to extreme food poisoning. Great days.


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What made all of this just about bearable was that it was only football, it’s always good to remember that, and essential gallows humour.

As a teenager, I did wonder why I went home and away to watch some real drivel when I should have been doing teenage things. But football is a drug impossible to quit.

So my dad, uncle and I would stand in The Jungle watching Dougie Arnott take the piss out of whatever lumbering centre-half happened to be stealing a living that season. It was still a laugh. The great Wayne Biggins, for example, dressed as Biggles (geddit) on the back of The Sun claiming he was going to “gun down Rangers” in the morning of the Ne’erday game, only for Rangers to be 3-0 up within eight seconds or something.

I stood up a really pretty girl to go to that game. Terrible, terrible decision.

Even my bluenose pals stopped slagging me. It was too easy and eventually they felt a bit sorry for their mate. I decided to become a football journalist because that would mean I couldn’t get to watch Celtic. Being a supporter back then was character building in the same way as I’m sure being robbed at gunpoint is. The club planned a move to some toxic wasteland in Cambuslang. This would help them take on AC Milan thanks to having, among other attractions, a 10-pin bowling alley inside the new ground.

Today’s millennial supporters, too young to have lived through these times, must listen to historical tales of that night a fox ran across the pitch with the bewilderment of their trying to understand rationing.

For a Celtic fan in their 20s, their interest in the team their dad followed began with Henrik Larsson and is currently two games away from a triple Treble.

So why the anger? Seriously. Why are a section of Celtic supporters so furious with the world?

Why, instead of enjoying themselves, do they persist on preaching paranoia, writing screeds of words on blogs about how everyone is against the club, spending hours on social media to find something to be annoyed about?


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Why do they sing “sad Orange *******” to Derek McInnes, the Aberdeen manager, while their team are 3-0 up in the Scottish Cup semi-final? And then, of course, deny it happened (it did) and try to claim the abuse came after he was sent off (it wasn’t), as if that sort of makes it okay.

And here’s a thing. Why is it that away games are often an unpleasant experience, what with the flares, coins being thrown, drug taking, Provo songs (still . . . really?) and a lot of folk feeling they don’t belong anymore because of their age and an idea of how to behave at a match?

Celtic win everything. Nobody else wins anything. This has never happened before. Maybe smell a rose and go blessing counting once in a while. Stop tweeting about Rangers as if they were an ex-girlfriend you both love and hate.

I still prefer one team over the rest – everyone does – but find myself having less in common with a lot of my so-called fellow supporters. I’m not alone.

A generation of Celtic fans have been spoiled. They have everything and it’s still not enough. But perhaps it’s not enough.

Those who watched Gary Gillespie attempting to track Mark Hateley as if he had a wet tractor tied to his back know that, for Celtic fans, these are good, fun days. Ironically, it’s time they cheered up.