Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Yous and Whose Army?

The most visible sports fans around Paris at the moment have little to do with the rugby; the Tartan Army are in town, for the European Championship qualifier at the Parc des Princes tomorrow night. Always a pleasure to encounter, I'm hoping they have better fortune than their last visit to Paris five years back when they were thumped 5-0 at the Stade de France. I had a drink outside Stolly's earlier with a bunch of lads from Musselburgh, the home town of John White, the midfield star of Tottenham's double-winning season of 1961-62, who was killed by lightning while golfing two years later, though to be honest, only the gentlemen of a certain age knew of White. The guys were a mix of Hearts and Hibs fans and one of the things that is most remarkable about the Scottish fans is the relative absence of both Celtic and Rangers fans among them, which considering the sectarianism of certain fans of those clubs carry about with them is no bad thing.

Despite having the prospect of a ticket for the game being waved in my direction I have patriotically (or is that quixotically?) decided to instead watch Ireland's make-or-break clash with the Czechs in Prague. We would all like to have gone into this game without the burden of having to win but, in spite of Ireland's pitiful away record, I think the Czechs are vulnerable. They are missing the suspended Jan Koller and have not been the same fluid unit since the retirement of Pavel Nedved and Karl Poborskẏ (in fact in last year's World Cup horror show against Ghana, it was Nedved and Peter Čech that seemed to be only Czech players in the land of the living). Of course a midfield with Tomáš Rosickẏ is not to be sniffed at and even in the event of a repeat performance of their match in San Marino on Saturday - where they reportedly rivalled even Ireland's muckery - Stan's boys will surely be on hand to help them back into the game. I'm getting alarmed in advance.


rorebhoy said...

What a result for the tartan army last night...stunning goal by McFadden - no doubt there's a good few sore heids about today.

Regarding the lack of Celtic and Rangers fans in the tartan army: Celtic have been alienated by the SFA for years (witness Jinky's paltry cap collection right through the delaying of Cadetes registration by Jim Farry)and so many fhans feel no allegiance to the national team, with many (of Irish stock, albeit far removed by now)preferring to support the Irish. Rangers tend to have a better following of the team traditionally, so maybe you just hit upon an unrepresentative selection, or maybe they were heading down Wembley-way. To say sectarianism is the stock of the Glaswegian sides is far from the truth. Hearts in particular can spout bile that matches anything to emerge from deepest darkest Ayrshire or Lanarkshire. Also trying to get out of Tynecastle's narrow streets without a tussle is a mean feat.

Onto happier (sadder) matters, the Irish :-( ...onwards and upwards for the world cup I guess..

seanachie said...

I'll hand it to you on both counts: the Celts' disillusion of the national team long predates even that scumbag Farry (the shame of the Farry clan's most famous member being that cunt), Jinky was shamefully booed whenever he played, which makes the one-time popular Lansdowne pastime of booing Rangers players such as Peter Lovenkrands, Giovanni van Bronckhorst and Shota Arveladze equally stupid. But that said, the worst of the Celtic support generally stems from Ulster, and I know quite a few who are willing to support Brown, Hartley and Elvis.

As for Hearts, I know what you're saying; some of them are pricks and even last night in the post-match euphoria a clutch of Lothians were unwilling to divulge their allegiance. 'We support Linlithgow Rose,' they said. Seems like they had something to hide. That said, it's hard to dislike the Scots (and most of them are good), I hope they get there.