The delicate but brilliantly white lace curtains emblazoned with a vivid aerial view of Celtic Park, gently fluttered as a magical breeze disturbed the stale air of the long sealed shrine to all of Timdom! As the atmospheric disturbance dissipated, its essence lingered in a mist of emerald, silver and gold wisps of stars spinning, darting and sparkling within an initially enticing but insubstantial outline eventually materialising as that of a beautiful pale skinned and red-headed enigmatically smiling colleen. For a brief moment she stood there arms crossed with one hand on each shoulder, dressed in tantalisingly torn but figure hugging peasant raiment.
In an instant her eyes flashed open and as they sparkled with the same intensity and enchantment as the stars from which she emerged, the wee smasher, glowing from neck to ankle in a pulsating green and white – glided across the room with the consummate grace of Henrik ghosting by Bert Kontermann.
She leaned lovingly over the comatose but tossing and troubled ugly frog lying on the tear stained Celtic co-ordinated matching quilt and pillowslip, and proceeded to plant a right smacker on the said frog’s kisser!
In a flash the non-rhythmic writhing subsided and the painful contortions of his bulbous lips evaporated as he began to rouse from his curse induced slumber. The gentle breath of the sylph-like but well proportioned and tenderly giving re-incarnation of a young Maureen O’hara, turned the sleeping amphibian from an ugly wart covered creature of slime and smelly dank water into a muscle ripplingly handsome example of Celticus Superior.
At last the spiritual manacles of that damned spell cast by the the evil ‘Steelmanus Macdonaldus’ had been lifted and once more our handsome paragon and champion of ‘Paradise in excellsis’ – that’s me by the way – was ready to strive with ambition, hope, skill and strength to recover the lost treasures of the Trebleus Scottius!
The Return of Estadio (Episode 1)
Once more does the eternal triangle of football’s metamorphosis from the cast-off smelly remnants of the old season, through the hibernating twilight of the close season, into the dazzlingly dressed-to-kill, freshly washed, ironed and glad-rag clad new cornucopia of thrust and parry, complete its vitally re-invigorating cycle.
On what turned out to be last Thursday 14th July, I slowly unwound from my seven week long self-pitying exile from a nasty world where dementedly smiling and unbearably triumphalist followers of that other mob roamed the streets of our Dear Green Place. For those seven weeks, locked away in my Rangers-free womb and darkened shrine to the great heroes of the Celtic past present and hopefully future (my spare bedroom!), I had adopted an ever-comforting attitude of a thumb-sucking foetus.
As the veil of unconsciousness slowly evaporated, I threw back the (by now in need of a good wash and general fumigation) Huddle printed continental quilt. Through bleary eye I had a quick look at my Hoopy bedside clock which had ominously stopped…… at 15.40 on Sunday 22nd May 2005.
I rubbed the stickiness and blur from my vision and struck out in a vain petted temper to try and vanquish the demons administering that throbbing dull ache left by Motherwell’s parting mugging administered on that fateful day. To be fair, that throbbing has significantly subsided from the excruciating mental torture that I felt as that Aussie quisling McDonald, thrust his metaphorical steel-toe-capped winkle-pickers right up my unsuspecting philosophical jacksy!
Stretching out a manly ‘Tiocfaid ar la’ tattooed arm (with matching Gold Plated ‘Fields of Athenry’ engraved chronometer), I switched on my tasteful ‘four leaf-clover’ am/fm radio and was only too pleased to hear from the stunted guttural utterances of Radio Tcheuchter, that it was the 14th July 2005. This meant that firstly I hadn’t overslept and missed a complete year and even more importantly that I had avoided the manic swaggering of the anally retentive degenerates on the 12th.
But unless I was sadly mistaken there was much more for those of us who had been struck down by catatonic impact of the last few minutes at FirPark.
His words filled me with the nervous ecstasy and anticipation as he apparently revealed that wonder of wonders, Celtic through our beloved chairman and renowned soft-touch and philanthropist Dermot (here have the shirt off my back) Desmond, had actually landed in that magic fairy land of the EPL.
I turned to my constantly faithful sleeping compadre, my Celtic-pyjama clad mascot, (whom I have imaginatively named ‘Hoopy’), clutched him to my heaving bosom, pondered on the exciting journeys and adventures that lay before us and regaled him with hysterical predictions of wending our way to the four corners of perfidious Albion and laying waste to and vanquishing the challenge of mere pretenders and upstarts to the throne of both TGFITW and TGCITW.
Cups in my experience never have runneth over with quite such a metaphorical flourish as my own cup (Celtic Badge branded mug actually – mind you that description could equally be applied to me) did on that newborn Thursday morning.
And then it got even better not only were we taking on the aristocrats of Fulham (okay I know, but bear with me for indeed it doth get even dafter) in the premiership but the minions of the netherworld had been accepted with open arms into the cold Calvinist desert that is the league of Northern Ireland and were opening their own season with a bully-off (or should that be a billy-off) against their wee brithers – Linfield!
But the Gods are indeed disloyal, treacherous, base, low, deceitful, disloyal, lying, and untrue, (I would have used perfidious there but I’ve already employed it a couple of paragraphs above) and were having a good old laugh up there on Mount Olympus as, just as my ecstacy was approaching Sevillian proportions, Kheredine explained that he was only referring to the pre-hostility phoney war of pre-season friendlies..
Woe upon woe and shattered dreams and ambitions whirled around my room like diahorreaic pigeons as my previously much cherished foam filled companion was hurled with some force into the far corner of the room knocking over my ‘V for victory’ bedside reading lamp, and my head slumped back onto my ‘Celtic Park’ imprinted single pillowcase!
I lay there immobile but with a certain subtle masculinity, smoothing the wrinkles on my now post-sell by date and definitely non-chic Umbro sponsored Champions league group ‘F’ clinging and ‘soft-to-the touch night-shirt, and readied myself in pregnant expectation for another fun-filled assault on fortress SPL.
Having girded my mental loins (which in keeping with the rest of this nonsense I have given the pet name of ‘Lisbon Loins’) to this return to reality, I enthusiastically and urgently sat upright and then even more urgently but with significantly less enthusiasm (in fact none at all) crashed back to the pillow as my ‘Celtic Cross’ emblazoned night-cap, unfortunately accompanied by my skull, met suddenly with the hardwood frame of the upper bunk bed which I, in my intervening seven week coma had forgotten was there.
Stifling a complete thesaurus of sweary words, and ignoring the expanding red stain on my pillow which I must admit leant a rather ‘romantic’ sepia tone to the lush and green swards of the Paradise Print, I swung my hunky legs over the side of the lower bunk, pulled on my ‘Hoopy Slippers’ and ‘Bobo’s gonna-get-ye’ dressing grown and strode manfully towards the en-suite ‘Jinky’ monogrammed loo and prepared once more to face the world.
It was then that the first of many weird and wonderful transformations caught my one good –eye (the other eye being blacked out by my split Tri-colour/Saltire etched eye-patch ).
The elegantly papered walls resplendent in their almost life-size representation of the ‘Huddle’ had changed. Some of the long-serving bums had simply disappeared, some had been replaced with new younger and more energetic bums, some had simply left honourable gaps like RAF squadrons acknowledging their mates shot down over the skies of blighty during WW2, some had begun to fade but not yet gone and some had begun to appear but not yet fully materialised.
The same with the team picture as faces black and white were replaced with faces black and white and yellow, from north south west and east; in the case of the yellow ones they appeared to be radiantly healthy exemplars of the Japanese and Chinese races rather than jaundiced pasty faces more usually associated with the environs and rat runs of Bridgeton.
Most astonishing of all was the transformation of my picture of St Martin from a wee dark headed Irish curmudgeon, to a wee red headed Scottish curmudgeon accompanied by the apparent change of name to St Rachan!!!!!!!
Quickly rummaging around in my ‘Celtic view edition of everything you wanted to know about Saints but were afraid to ask’ I was disappointed to find that no mention was made of St Rachan. I quickly reasoned that he must be a new saint perhaps even the canonized name and reincarnation of the lately departed John Paul II.
This had all the potential of an inspired appointment, an ex-goalkeeping Saint with recent experience of the Vatican, a history of miracles, obviously a Celtic supporter of the old school, and with a direct hot line to the ultimate Chairman of the Board.
I whistled happily to myself as having showered and shaved, lavishing my honed body with lotions and potions perfumed with that racy but subtle ‘essence of Tim’.
As I skipped athletically back to my boudoir, I sneakily grabbing an admiring but justified glance of my handsome profile as I passed my ‘Welcome to Ireland’ full length mirror. I threw on my new Nike Tick replica home shirt which contrary to other experiences was delivered on time, adjusted my Jimmy Johnstone wrist band, swept back my golden flowing locks reminiscent of Frank McAvenney in his heyday, popped on my green and white Seville shades with multiple pin holes so that I could see where I was goin and with little snatch of ‘here we go again, were on the road again……..’, I headed off to Glasgow airport, Easyjet, and my appointment with the Eight Bells in Fulham and the start of
‘Bhoys on tour 2005/2006 – Give us our feckin Treble Back’.
To be continued once I can find a new supplier of Magic Mushrooms