I find it a shame when I read that ahead of tonight’s game that many Celtic fans are not interested in the national side.
Celtic is, and always will be my first love when it comes to football. In various competitions I am also a fan of Newcastle United and Juventus. In Spain I’ve always been a fan of Madrid over Barcelona and come major international tournaments I’m a fully-fledged member of The Azzurri! The main reason I have a few teams to follow is that I love football, and I love to have an interest. All of the above teams mentioned were selected as a free choice. They were handpicked by me for different reasons. Growing up Kevin Keegan had Newcastle playing in an attacking manner that I loved to watch, indeed linked closely to the much mentioned “Celtic way”. As a teenager I watched Channel 4s coverage of Italian football and fell in love with it. My favourite stars were Signori of Lazio, and unfortunately Gazza. That of course changed a few years later. Del Piero will always be an icon for me, perhaps moulded by the fact Alec Cleland is still trying to untie his knees after that game, and I’m a huge fan of Buffon. They are heroes at Juve, therefore I’ve followed them.
The reason for highlighting the above is to say that at times you get to choose who you follow, but there are 2 teams that I have no choice, Celtic and my nation. I’m Scottish and indeed very proud of it. Politics is not my bag, but I’m very much in the YES camp come next year. I hate it when fans of other clubs suggest we are an Irish club or only interested in the Republic of Ireland results. At the Euros last year I celebrated Mario Ballotelli’s goal against them. I have no interest in the Irish results.
Being part of a national team following is something which should simply come as part of being a football fan.
My partner is a big football fan, unfortunately her choice of club is not as well thought out and she has an interest in the 3rd tier this year. My best friend falls into the same category. As such I don’t get the opportunity to enjoy the highs and lows of football with them. (Not directly anyway, but laughs were had after Forfar…..!) However myself and the other half have gone to Sham-den on a couple of occasions to see the national side and I was at Glasgow Green back in 2007 watching the Scotland Italy game with a couple of Rangers supporters. It was a great opportunity to suffer together!!
It is also massive for the players. Scott Brown will have the massive honour of leading Scotland out tonight at Wembley. The chance to play in high profile matches against the world’s best players do the world of good for our players like Forrest and Mulgrew. And look at Gary Hooper. He left us partly due to the fact he wasn’t getting the chance to play for England. It’s massive for the players.
And finally, let’s be honest, if Scotland ever make it to a major tournament, we will all happily join in the celebrations and festivities. Should Scotland win tonight (I know that by time this is read by most we will probably have been whooped 5-0) then every Scot will take every opportunity to enjoy it. So the next time you have a go at Celtic fans for only turning up for the big European matches, keep in mind how much attention you pay the national side!!
We have Scott Brown and Forrest starting, Mulgrew on the bench and of course Shaun Maloney and I suppose we can mention the fact he did play for us, Kenny Miller all there. There’s also wee Gordon as manager. How many of you happily sit and watch Sweden play Estonia and hope they win because Lustig is playing, or want Greece to win for big Sammy??
Here’s to the Tartan Army all across the world celebrating the national equivalent of an O** F**m victory tonight!!
The Newton Sammy (@TheNewtonSammy)