Drove an inebriated press man home from the Scottish Hall of Fame dinner and all I got was a peck on the cheek. He had brought his budgie.

We both had listened to Joe Jordan, a Scottish striker who had scored in three World Cup finals, telling how he had phoned the then national manager, Jock Stein, seeking assurances that leaving Manchester United would not affect his international chances. He was signing for AC Milan.

O tempora! O mores! As we said in the Possil as they updated the fruit machine in the pub.

The chat from a legend, though, was a poignant reminiscence of times past as he bodyswerved just whose hand connected with the ball at Anfield in 1977. Old media treat this reticence with a forgiving smile. New media, though, are obsessed with cheating. The cacophony of kack has grown again surrounding diving, most specifically Manchester United's Ashley Young, who hit the ground against Real Sociedad with the alacrity of a marine coming off a landing craft.

Here's the truth: players cheat; it is just a matter of degree. For example, they appeal for shies that they know they are not due. George Washington would never have done this, which is just one of the reasons he never played in Major League Soccer. That and his daft hairstyle that ensured he was a liability at set pieces.

Cheating is bred into the footballer at a young age. The issue of the awarding of fouls in bounce games, for example, was always decided by force. One could argue with Big Tam with the sophistry of Sophocles but the debate would be ended with a kick to that other great persuasive force, Testicles.

There were lies told over a variety of matters. Most specifically, the precise route of a ball over a bundle of jerseys. This was sometimes replayed as if the ball's path had been tracked with the precision of air traffic controllers with the judge announcing: "It hit the post." His certainty was not diluted by the fact that there was no post, just a pile of jerseys stiffened to teak by snot.

The other major lie concerned the trajectory of the ball as it flew past the goalkeeper. The custodian would shout: "Over the bar, over the bar." There was, of course, no bar and the ball was so low that worms ducked as it passed.

The dimensions of the pitch were somewhat fluid. The lower pitch in Busby Glen was so wide that players sometimes moved into a different time zone to create space for the cross. If Opta had been measuring stats then, one of my brother's meandering runs would have surpassed the travel career of Marco Polo.

The biggest cheat, the most massive lie concerned the score. My mate, Big Mike, was brilliant at this. He had more nerve than an astronaut looking at an empty fuel gauge. He would scream at his team-mates: "We are just one goal behind." The opposition would communally halt in their tracks as they were labouring under the impression that the fact they had scored 16 goals and we had scored three meant the score was 16-3. This deficit, though, was slashed by one roar from Mike.

If the cause looked lost, he would play his joker. "Next goal the winner," he would announce, usually when through on goal.

One accepted all these disputes, lies, con games and outright cheating as part of the game. There were lessons to be learned. Namely: that arithmetic was not as precise as Mr Docherty attested at school; that might was right when it came to rows; that diplomacy was necessary when facing Psycho Frank, who wore steel-capped boots that were spattered by rust or the congealed blood of his victims; that the absence of posts and bar was a mere detail when dealing with reality; and that facts were just perceptions that could be swept away by one strong statement.

It was all about winning at Busby Glen. And it is the same in modern football. The only difference is that diving in the Champions League can win one a penalty. Diving in the Glen was a matter of personal protection as the glint of the sun caught the surface of steel toecap.