Stop Running Mr Joubert

Last Sunday, Rugby Union referee, Craig Joubert, ensured Scotland was never going to be a future holiday destination when he did the most dastardly thing ever in the whole of Earth’s existence, awarding a penalty against Scotland in the dying seconds of their Rugby World Cup Quarter final against Australia. Three points later, fearing he may be asked to eat haggis, our ‘brave’ Craig became the fastest South African since Oscar Pistorius, running off the pitch at about the same speed as David Cameron caught outside a Glasgow pub by some Partick Thistle Ultras ๐Ÿ™‚

Don't run Mr Joubert!
Don’t run Mr Joubert!

What Braveheart Joubert didn’t realise, was he had just added to the trail of sporting self destruction which has trailed Scotland like an evil little puppy that won’t go stop following you. This time, despite the fact the actual reason Joubert ended up the bad guy, was actually a daft decision by Scotland at the preceding lineout to throw long, which resulted in the whole saga unfolding and we Scots being sent homeward tae think again.

That last statement tugs on our tartan heartstrings. Once again we were within seconds of doing something special. An underdog ripping off it’s fluffy coat to reveal tartan superheroes, leading us out of the sporting wilderness into oval ball shaped nirvana.

Ha I say! Ha!

Having lived long enough to see so many similar events happen, I just knew it was never going be. The ball was never going to be caught by the lineout. The forwards were never going to form a scrum, hold the ball in and grind forward for 90 seconds, then kick the ball out, finally beating Australia, waking up the next day in the Semi finals of the rugby world Cup. It was destined never to be. You see, we have a history. A sporting history so mindboggingly unlucky there must be questions asked whether it’s genetic or there really is ‘someone upstairs’.

Why am i saying this?

Well, you see, I’m old enough to remember a few other ‘special moments’ in Scottish sporting history. Special moments that have scarred my sporting soul. My first proper memory is the 1974 World Cup. Different shaped ball, same horrible ending. We were drawn in a group with World Cup holders Brazil, Yugoslavia and Zaire. We started off playing a country who, (and no disrespect here) I didn’t know even played football. We pummelled them 2-0 :-), followed by 0-0 against the Yugs, leaving us to get something against Brazil to go through. Despite drawing 0-0 against the reigning World Champions, we went out because Brazil had scored just one more goal against Zaire. Yugoslavia rubbed haggis in our face by scoring nine….YES…NINE foofing goals.

…….and that was it we were out…..

Four years later we were off to win the World Cup in South America with Ally’s Army. Peru, Iran, and the only decent team in the group *sic Holland, stood between us and the Final ๐Ÿ™‚ It soon became obvious that Ally hadn’t watched any videos of any South American team, but our goalkeepers hairdo was nice. Peru guubed as 3-1 in hte opening game and we’ll skip over the next game against iran for psychiatirc purposes ( Iran 1 Scotland 1) ๐Ÿ˜ฆ

After the opening farces, the game was up. We had to face the mighty Oranje. We were out. Or were we????
I remember Scotland going down 1-0 to a penalty, but, wind on to the 68th minute ,and one of the finest goals ever seen in any game by Archie Gemmill saw Scotland lead 3-1, One goal away from making it through the group stages with 22 minutes to go. For a whole 4 minutes we were thinking the unthinkable. Scotland could do it, We were going to beat a decent team after making a cods of it……..hten……….BANG!!! a REP screamer from 800 yards out. 3-2 Holland. We were OUT again ๐Ÿ˜ฆ

I was too young to realise there was a pattern emerging. But, wait, everyone told me Scotland had once beaten World Champions England 3-2, playing them off the park in a meaningless friendly just a year after they’d scudded the Germans at Wembley to be the best on the world (not a lot of Scots know that ๐Ÿ™‚ )

It was only a matter of time. We were good, we just didn’t know it. We could and would do it at some point…………….

Hail 1982, we played and won against New Zealand (5-2) and lost to Brazil (1-4) and needed a result against Russia to go through. We almost looked as if we would do it until Graeme Souness and Alan Hansen went tor the same high ball on the half way line and Hadron collided with each another. As they lay splayed out on the turf, a Russian collected the ball, run all the way up the pitch and in on goal and put us to the claymore once again. In an instant replay of previous ignominies, we had created our own downfall once again.

By the time the 1986 World Cup came along I was already starting to have conspiracy thoughts. Someone or something was deliberately knobbling us. By the laws of probability we were due a rub of the green, a lucky rabbits paw etc. After all nearly everyone has a little bit of good luck at some stage. This time our luck was in. We needed a win against Uruguay, and, In the first minute of our final group game against Uruguay, our lottery ticket came in. Uruguay had a player sent off. We were now playing TEN men for 89 minutes. Easy peasy lemon squeezy……………89 minutes later i sat in disbelief. They’d kicked us off the park, they’d hacked at us, gouged our eyes, pulled, prodded and pushed us. We didn’t score. We didn’t win and the plucky losers getting sent homeward malarcky tae think again was becoming slightly boring.

Returning for a second to the oval ball, In 1990 i got up at the crack of dawn, to watch us lead the All Blacks 18-12 at half time in Auckland. We were going to beat them for the first time ever and, it would be on their own soil! The hairs on the back of my neck stood up with pride. But somehow, our grip on hte game ebbed away, white line syndrome was endemic. With 10 minutes to go, once again we capitulated losing 21-18.

Fast forward to 2001. 2-0 up against 10 man Belgium we were on our way to the Euro 2002 finals……..somehow we managed to throw it all away losing two goals including a 90+ minute Belgian equaliser.

you could go on and on……..missed penalties vs England at Wembley, last minute goals vs Poland two weeks ago, all culminating in a last minute penalty awarded by Craig Joubert against Australia on Sunday.

So, stop running Mr Joubert. It wasn’t your fault. You see, we’re Scottish. Cut us open and we’re full of words like ‘plucky, gutsy, unlucky’. Probability and luck are things other countries get. Don’t feel sorry for us though, we’ll still be singing our heart out, waiting for our luck to turn. Unlucky, but still proud to be Scottish but unfortunately, sitting at home watching. ๐Ÿ™‚

‘Stop Running Mr Joubert’ was brought to you by by David Linden aka @qosfc1919 and by Dodo Productions ยฉ 2015

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#SoccerShorts The Sunday Nutmeg

Football has always been my number 1 passion. Mainly because, apart from a bit of science knowledge, the ability to sing in tune (well, to some ears…… Mainly my own ๐Ÿ˜), a bit of guitar playing, drawing, being good with numbers, computers, statistics, oh and the ability to write side creasing lay funny stories ๐Ÿ˜ณ, it’s the only thing I’ve ever been good at. ๐Ÿ˜Ž

Despite having to wear glasses, I had managed to play for both my primary and secondary football teams. This was no mean feat, as every schoolteacher seemed to think, at any moment, my glasses were going to fly off my face and kill someone. When I was 15, I finally was approached to play for a Sunday League a division 2 side (ok, there were only 2 divisions, but it was a start! ๐Ÿ˜„). My friend, Bud Malone, had also been given a trial. It wasn’t long before we found ourselves lined up to play against Locharbriggs Social Club. I could kick the ball with both feet, so , I found myself on the left wing, with my pal Bud on the right.

it wasn’t long before we were in the thick of it. At one point we won a corner. I mulled around the penalty area in among a throng of hardened Sunday League players. They were all bigger, guile and hairier than I. This wasn’t at all like playing 2 a side in front of the flats on the drying green, or, playing kerby of a Sunday afternoon. Nope, the jostling, pushing and grabbing was all new to me. Welcome to Sunday League Football Dave. ๐Ÿ˜ณ
As the ball was lumped into the middle, I suddenly found myself in a tiny pocket of space. I looked up. The ball was heading right towards me. As it got closer I realised it had my name on it. I had dreamt of this day all of my young life. I was about to score my first ‘proper’ real goal, a goal that meant something, that would make the local newspaper, that would be recorded for posterity, that would…..BANG, the goalie had launched himself at the ball, missed it completely and taken me clean out.
As I lay crumpled in a heap on the floor, I consoled myself with the knowledge, I’d won a penalty. Would my team let the newbie take it or would my first goal celebration ( a triple back somersault with twist ๐Ÿ˜) be taken away from me.

‘C’mon son. Get yersel up’

It was the Locharbriggs goalkeeper. I looked around. The ball was up the other end of the pitch. They had played on! How could he not award a penalty? It had been the stickiest on penalty EVER in the history of modern football.

‘….but…it was a penalty…..’

‘don’t be daft son, I hardly touched ye’

He pulled me up. My shirt was muddy. Welcome to Sunday League football indeed! I re-entered the game with the knowledge only a severing of a limb in the penalty box would result in a penalty award. Or maybe not ๐Ÿ˜ณ

I eventually gathered myself together and soon found myself on the left wing heading with the ball towards the right back. I turned one way, then the other, then nutmegged him neatly, taking the ball the other side of him, crossing it into the box, finding the head of one of our players. We were one nil up. This was easy.
The game to and fro’d. At 2-1, I found myself in exactly the same position. Left wing, on the ball, right back to beat, space behind, an opportunity, a chance, glory ahead with every step. So…….. I did it again……yes…..I slipped the ball through his legs, two nutmegs in a row, I was GOOD! I sauntered into the penalty box, ducked left, then right and curled the ball wide of the keeper. I’d done it. Scored my first Sunday League Goal. I was GOOD ๐Ÿ˜Ž

The goal
The goal

After being congratulated by my new teammates, on the way back to take centre, I suddenly heard a ‘HOY!’ It was the right back. This was nice, he was going to praise me for my great skills, which had left him sitting on his arse bereft of ideas, bereft of the ball.

‘You do that again and I’ll ******* have ye’

Ah, yes praise indeed. I wasn’t being congratulated on my Ronaldoesque skills, I was being threatened with GBH. I walked away feeling just a it scared. Luckily half time arrived quickly. I made a beeline for Bud……’

‘how do you fancy swapping sides in the second half. I’ll play right wing, you play left’

‘yeah ok. No bother’

I didn’t feel bad. Bud was safe…………๐Ÿ˜

As we lined up to kick off the second half, I looked across the pitch. I’m sure the right back smiled and produced a rude sign. I smiled. You see, Bud maybe couldn’t dribble like I could, he maybe couldn’t nutmeg, twist, turn, chip, dribble and bamboozle defenders, but…….Bud could run like the bloody wind. Faster than a cheetah, he was like lightning. I stood in awe, as time after time Bud left my would be assailant for dead. As my new enemy floundered in Bud’s dust, he maybe wouldn’t have threatened me had he known Bud had just won the school 100 metres in a record time.

Fast as Lightning
Fast as Lightning

We won 4-3, I’d scored, I’d get my name in the paper, Bud had left flames in his wake as he scorched down the wing leaving my nemesis in his wake. It’d taught me that grown ups were scary, referees were blind, Bud was even faster than I’d realised, and, be careful what you wish for โ˜บ๏ธ

‘#SoccerShorts The Sunday Nutmeg’was brought to you by David Linden aka @qosfc1919 and by Dodo Productions ยฉ 2015