Celtic, Champions League, Satire, Scottish Football

Appalling News For Scottish Football

Astana

Good Evening.

Celtic’s performance against Astana in the first leg of their Champions League Playoff Round was a bit special, wasn’t it? Any win without conceding would have been welcome (although 1-0 would have been particularly good news for underwear retailers ahead of the second leg). But to win 5-0 was the stuff of dreams, and the players and manager deserve every plaudit heading their way at present.

Cliché and fact remind us that it is only half-time in the tie and Celtic could yet be dumped out of the competition in Kazakhstan next week, so we mustn’t get ahead of ourselves. However, it seems highly likely that the Scottish Champions are going to be in the draw for the Group Stage of the 2017-18 Champions League. Which – on balance – is rather nice.

Another cliché which tends to do the rounds at times like this is that “Celtic’s likely progress is good for Scottish football” in terms of the profile and prestige of having a participant, in terms of the opportunity for home-grown players to play on the big stage, and in terms of giving a boost to the national coefficient. Most people seem to agree with these points (even if they don’t much care for Celtic). However, as you might expect – and it is a free country – some have remained resolutely unimpressed. They have lamented the prospect of Celtic’s Champions League revenue making them more dominant domestically, thereby reducing competition still further, and generally making the game less interesting and attractive.

The Clumpany must admit that it laughs in the face of anyone who bemoans a lack of competition but who

  • remained silent during Rangers’ (IL) ‘9-in-a-row’ years;and /or
  • subscribes to the disastrous fantasy that years of industrial scale cheating by one club is best ignored ‘for the good of the game’.

Nevertheless, I can see why some might be troubled by the prospect of Celtic’s dominance increasing. What’s more, I don’t mind them saying so as long as they don’t try to blame the club in some way for building sustainably over 20 years and for taking a successful punt on a very good manager. There is no fluke or underhand method underpinning Celtic’s position. It is the product of a lot of hard work which continues each and every day. [NB Celtic don’t have the monopoly on working hard to build up their operation – see also Hearts, Aberdeen and Hibs etc].

And then of course there is the windfall that would go to Premiership sides if Celtic make the Group Stages of the Champions League. I have seen it mentioned numerous times today so I thought I would investigate, and I must admit that it is THIS element of Celtic’s success which clearly gives folk grounds to get upset.

“Why should they get upset?” you ask. “It’s basically a bonus to clubs for doing nothing!”.

I must admit that that is what I thought. But having done some digging, I have discovered a  little-known clause in the latest UEFA rules and regulations which specifically relates to the implications of Celtic qualifying for the Champions League, and which I now quote in full:

Season 2017-18: Special Provisions for Celtic FC (Scotland).

To mark 50 years of Celtic winning the Champion Clubs’ Cup, and at the request of the club itself, special slurrydality payments will be shared by eligible members of the top tier of the domestic competition in Scotland. £365,000 will be issued to Celtic FC in the form of agricultural slurry for distribution before the end of the season.

The Clumpany has spoken to Celtic insiders who confirm that the club would be absolutely delighted to share its success with its domestic peers in such a unique way. Peter Lawwell has apparently gained a pilot’s licence and intends to personally drop the slurrydarity payments on Premiership grounds during matches. Preferably as near to the press boxes as possible.

One source – who asked not to be named as he stood on his heated driveway – said “I don’t know why people begrudge Celtic our success. It’s not as if we literally come and dump a load of shit on their doorstep.

Yet.

Mwahahahaha…”

So there you have it. Celtic’s Champions League success is clearly bad for Scottish football.

#KeepOnClumping

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Celtic, Champions League, Satire, Scottish Football

A Self-Indulgent Army?

Rodgers

Good Evening.

The Clumpany hopes that it finds you well.

Anyway, about that Green Brigade statement… 😉

>>>>>

Following the club statement on Friday, we take this opportunity to accept full responsibility for both the pyrotechnics display to celebrate the achievements of the Lisbon Lions at the Hearts match in May, and our ‘Brendan’s Undefeated Army’ tifo during the match against Linfield on Wednesday evening. Except that we aren’t quite. We won’t pay any fine levied by UEFA or apologise to the club or fans for any consequences resulting from our actions. The important thing is to be ultra-tastic at all times. After all, even if Celtic end up playing in a closed stadium, we will… err… be there.

While we are kind-of-disappointed at the martyrdom offered by the impending two match ban, we know that in the sanitised world of Scottish and European football there are (bizarrely) rules and punishments, as well as expectations of good behaviour and basic regard for our fellow fans. As a result, the actions of an Ultra group like ours may have consequences for our members. [NB “May”! We actually just said may have consequences!”, as though we are genuinely surprised that pushing the envelope so far actually results in repercussions!]. We do, however, completely oppose collective punishment, and a blanket ban on all fans in our block is disproportionate and unjust. Therefore we call on the board to revise this decision. Because we are all heart, and we are confident that the board wants to listen to us, even though we maybe didn’t stop to think about the consequences for others before acting rashly.

As a group, we are defined by our style of support and our politics, both of which the club are happy to benefit from when it suits their agenda. Although we won’t specify what that “agenda” actually is at this time. Almost a year ago, after much immediate criticism, we brought worldwide adulation on the club for our show of solidarity with the people of Palestine and the subsequent charity fundraising which was endorsed by the Celtic support, but not by UEFA, who make the rules and who imposed yet another fine on the club. What isn’t common knowledge is if it had not been for this incredible response, we would have faced the same punishment as we currently face. And we are confident in this big assertion.

In light of this, and of the condemnation of banners and songs from Wednesday, we refuse to allow a discredited and corrupt organisation like UEFA (who unfortunately have the temerity to impose rules which must be followed if you want to play in their competitions and win the substantial prize and TV money…) or a board which has welcomed Tory Lords to dictate our moral compass. Because the background of Celtic board members clearly negates the rules of UEFA, health and safety regulations, and the responsibility of a publicly-listed football club to protect the interests and image of its footballing and commercial  operations and to look after its shareholders and fans as a whole.

Our decision to mark the achievements of 1967 by using pyrotechnics was not taken lightly. In fact it was very light. And smoky. Because that is what pyro is like. We took the required steps to ensure that this was carried out as safely as possible. Because we are skilled pyrotechnic engineers with the necessary qualifications and permissions, and we knew – following extensive surveys – that the authorities and our fellow fans were happy for us to do so. We also did it in the knowledge that we as a group may face potential consequences as a result of it. But hey! Why not? It’s only the authorities and their rules and regulations. Everyone else can conform on our behalf.  We believe the scenes that day and the response from the Celtic support proved it to be worthwhile. And that’s probably the most important thing.

We have engaged in regular dialogue with the club over this matter throughout the summer and believed to be reaching an amicable outcome. However it seems as if events outside of our control on Wednesday (and NOT those within our control, oh no) have impacted upon the decision which has now been reached.

The Green Brigade exists to support Celtic in a positive manner and we believe that this current confrontation is unnecessary and avoidable. We reject any suggestion that “it WAS avoidable, and we are therefore now inevitably residing in Confrontationville which is a suburb of Consequence City”. We welcome Peter Lawwell’s call for dialogue as we have been waiting on his availability for some time. One of our first talking points will be the unnecessary and unsafe policing operation carried out during Wednesday night’s match, which we believe must be the source of one of UEFA’s charges (blocked stairwells) and could only have been designed to antagonise fans in the area. Other possibilities are clearly unthinkable. It MUST have been about antagonising folk. As the evidence below proves [NB yes we did say “proves” rather than “suggests”], it is bizarre and shameful that the club have not only blamed the fans for this charge but have cited it as a reason for the ban.

Other pertinent issues to be addressed are the club’s response to the biggest cheating scandal to shame Scottish sport; the insulting of the Celtic support over the Linfield away debacle and negligence of the safety of those they knew would travel (because it is highly unlikley that the club would had looked at an awkward fixture at a tense time of year and made a reasoned-if-reluctant decision on the basis of the available information and advice from the authorities); and the silence over the racial and sectarian hatred directed at our player of the year and manager. Typically, the club are quick* to bite the hand that feeds them yet reluctant to unite against common detractions. [* NB Our definition of “quick”]

We have built a positive relationship with the Celtic SLO. However we are concerned that his position is nearly untenable due to the manner in which he is continually undermined by Celtic security staff. The SLO is required to “collaborate with the security officer on safety and security-related matters” however has been deliberately excluded from discussions of this nature which is in breach of the UEFA SLO Guidelines, as per article 35. His exclusion is a deliberate tactic adopted by the police and Celtic security to facilitate the targeting of our members. And yes that is a big assertion to make. A big one! We hope you are impressed by it.

For over 10 years now the Green Brigade has withstood attacks from Police Scotland and sadly this will always continue. This also will not be our first ban or forced absence from Celtic Park. The Green Brigade has not only survived through the years but we have thrived – we are currently as large and strong as we have ever been. We can assure all that we will be back in Celtic Park soon enough and that we will never allow our style nor our politics to ever be diluted.

So can we have all the rules and regulations waived immediately please? And can the Celtic board and everyone else respect our Ultra-ness?

Green Brigade
Until the last assertion.

>>>>>

That’s probably it from me.

Remember folks, satire doesn’t only work on Sevco-related matters.  It also works for those who – in the main – offer amazing support to Scotlands No.1 team and who do a lot of good work away from football.

#StripTheTitles and

#KeepOnClumping

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Celtic, Champions League, Satire, Scottish Football

Leigh Griffiths: A Deserved Yellow Card


Good Evening.

Following the conclusion of yesterday’s Linfield v Celtic match – a fixture akin to the Football Banter Gods coming up with a ‘great idea’ after their usual dealer accidentally sold them some really dark mood-altering sh*t (😉) – The Clumpany sent the footage to top Clumpany scientists for analysis.

I wanted to know quite why Leigh Griffiths had been booked. The Twitter feeds of the two competing clubs told different tales.


I am pleased to report that the dedicated staff of the Clumpany labs did their jobs to their usual high standards and in record time.

Following forensic, slow-motion analysis of the footage, The Clumpany can confirm that Linfield FC and (most importantly) the referee were absolutely right.

Leigh Griffiths was time-wasting.

He is bang to rights.

In what appears to be the blink of an eye to the ill-informed, you can clearly see Griffiths sit down at a mahogany bureau and write invitations using quill and ink.

These invitations were then sent to all manner of people around the world who duly replied via letter, messenger and carrier pigeon over a period of several months.

Having received their replies, Griffiths waited until the appointed day and had a very smart table and chairs set up in the corner of the Windsor Park pitch. The finest glasses known to humanity adorned the table and – unsurprisingly – the guests were hugely impressed when they arrived. 

Ever the consummate host, Leigh Griffiths told the assembled company that he would have to leave them briefly to take a corner, but he hoped that his brief absence wouldn’t inconvenience them. 

Griffiths was assured by all present that no one would mind him interrupting the occasion to do his job.

And then a problem arose.

Leigh realised he had forgotten to bring the booze for his on-pitch wine-tasting event!

Oh no!

Everyone shuffled uncomfortably in their seats and tried not to make eye contact with  their host as the full extent of his failings became apparent. 

But then something amazing happened!

Despite the huge disrespect he was clearly showing to the Champions League, and despite the massive inconvenience he was causing them, a kind-hearted Linfield fan decided to help Griffiths out. And so he threw the remnants of his half-bottle of Buckie in the general direction of the Celtic striker.

It is a matter of considerable social regret – but well-deserved football justice – that just as Griffiths was about to serve the Buckie he had picked up from the pitch the referee decided to book him for timewasting.

Nae luck Leigh. But you clearly brought the booking on yourself… 😉

#KeepOnClumping

NB Remember folks, it’s just a bit of fun…

Celtic, Scottish Cup, Scottish Football

The Hangover From Heaven

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Good Afternoon.

The Clumpany did not enjoy Saturday’s Scottish Cup Final.

It was quite a novel experience to discover that an ethereal entity could feel so sick. I was nervous all morning and then absolutely nauseous throughout the match.

As they did for large parts of the recent league game, Aberdeen worked unbelievably hard, and pressed Celtic (who were undoubtedly not at their best) as no other Scottish team has all season. And on another day Aberdeen might have taken their chances and won the game. [Mind you they also might easily have gone down to ten men during the first half! 😉]

But that didn’t happen, I am delighted to say. Celtic battled and turned the screw as Aberdeen tired, and they somehow found a winning goal in injury time.

It was tough on Aberdeen. I have many Dons on my timeline who are great folk, who give their team fantastic support and who want the same reforms in the governance of our game as large numbers of Celtic fans. It was hard for me not to feel some sympathy for them as their side went down at the death like that.

Some sympathy.

Because as the state of my ethereal stomach attested, I would have been absolutely mortified if Aberdeen had won. Having gone through the league unbeaten, won the League Cup and arrived at the threshold of an Invincible Treble – a feat never likely to be repeated – it would have been demoralising to see it snatched away. Brendan Rodgers and his team have performed brilliantly this season, and they totally deserved their place in history.

Anyone who suggests that winning trophies must be meaningless to Celtic fans given the club’s resources and track record can quite frankly take a running jump. Saturday was absolutely excruciating, and the joy of prevailing was exquisite, just as it was after the League Cup Final and after Celtic clinched the title against Hearts.

Mind you, the agony was nothing compared to the experience of the monumental hangover endured by The Clumpany on Sunday.  I can only assume that my 15th Buckie and Bleach on Saturday night was a ‘bad pint’.

He was sneered at, but Derek McInnes was probably correct in his pre-match comments/ ‘mind games’. There could have been a lingering sense of anticlimax about a great season had Celtic lost the Scottish Cup final. And personally I think the last thing they deserved was an anticlimax.

Celtic have been relentless this season. Relentless even when the flair for which they have been applauded was absent and they simply had to grind out results from somewhere.

For me, one of the best indicators of their unrelenting efforts this season is their December results: eight league games, eight wins, plus a Champions League draw at Manchester City.

Simply magnificent.

Others will write detailed analyses of this historic season and the contribution of various players (for me the rejuvenated Scott Brown was the standout across the season, but I am happy to hear the arguments for others). The work of Brendan Rodgers and his backroom staff who have performed a near-miracle with (mainly) Ronny Deila’s team will also receive forensic coverage.

However, I simply wanted to say well done and thank you to all concerned, including the Celtic board who made the Rodgers appointment happen, and the fans who were magnificent every step of the way, and who heeded the manager’s call for patience at the start of the season.

It is not an exaggeration to say that the 2016-17 campaign was a worthy tribute to the Lisbon Lions, the 50th anniversary of whose European Cup triumph was recently celebrated in such fantastic style.

The Lisbon Lions: How To Live Forever

I will mention the defeats to Lincoln Red Imps and Barcelona in Europe because they ARE part of the story of the season – and uncomfortable parts too. Ultimately however, the thing to take away from them is that they were not THE story of the season. They happened and they were bad moments. But they didn’t define Celtic’s campaign. The Hoops made the Champions League group stages for the first time in three years (which most of us would have defined as a huge success before the start of the season) and got three creditable draws, including a 3-3 draw against Manchester City on one of THOSE epic nights at Celtic Park. Not only did Celtic pick up a point that evening, they also showed a host of Premier League teams how to play against the previously-imperious Pep Guardiola’s side, whose season was never quite the same again.

This season was one of progress for Celtic. Lots and lots of progress, which amazingly included winning an unbeaten Treble.

An. Unbeaten. Treble.

What can they possibly do for an encore?

Well, Rodgers’ every utterance speaks about development and building for the future so it seems highly unlikely that Celtic will rest on their laurels. Champions League football with group stage wins and a longer European campaign would be amazing, but let us be in no doubt about quite how difficult that will be to achieve.

For now however, let’s take a moment to pause and salute the undefeated domestic treble-winning Champions of Scotland, who did it playing the Celtic way.

We may never see the like again.

But I hope we do, and I am sure that Brendan and everyone at the club will give it their very best shot.

#KeepOnClumping

Celtic, Scottish Football

The Lisbon Lions: How To Live Forever

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Good Evening.

It is a happy coincidence that the 800th Clumpany blog coincides with the celebrations for the 50th anniversary of Celtic Football Club winning the European Cup in 1967.

Despite The Clumpany pouring out a torrent of surreal and occasionally pointed comments over the course of many thousands of words, I happily confess that I am utterly devoid of witty comments to make about the greatest football team ever to emerge from these islands.

‘Why bother saying anything at all then?’, you may ask. After all, that day in 1967 has been written about, discussed and dissected in a million different ways over the past half-century.

It is a fair question and my answer is simply that I wanted to say how utterly brilliant the anniversary celebrations have been.

For me, the Lions have multiple ‘personas’. All of them are praise-worthy and all of them have been applauded in the most fantastic way in recent days

The Lions as an exceptional football team have been saluted – not least through tributes from some of the greatest names in the game. However, the most striking tributes have come from the fans – in the 67th minute tribute during games this season, and through that jaw-dropping tifo prior to the final league game of the season against Hearts.

The Lions as individual human beings have been hailed in numerous interviews, profile pieces and documentaries. And yes we have been reminded of the passing of time with new photographs and footage of proud but ageing men which have been both uplifting and occasionally heartbreaking. An uncomfortable reminder that heroes can fade even if their heroism never will.

Then there has been the Lions as something akin to ‘rock stars’.  The event at the Hydro was without question big, spectacular and ‘loud’ enough to commemorate the magnitude of their achievement in Lisbon and their status as unquestioned giants in the world’s most popular sport.

And finally, the Lions as legends who accomplished deeds so fantastic that they could almost be mythical were it not for the TV footage and the physical evidence of that Big Cup which they brought home. The almost infinite variety of tales that we have seen in recent days of folk making the trek to the Estádio Nacional has reminded me of long-ago pilgrimages when people felt moved to travel long distances and make sacrifices to get as close as they could to something truly profound and to pay homage.

Of course, I am not suggesting that the Lions are religious figures. However, it feels as though the anniversary celebrations have been an expression of a sort of ‘faith’ for many, and they have certainly led to a great number of charitable acts and fundraising to help those less fortunate.

There is undoubtedly something about the scale and nature of the Lions’ achievement which speaks to people in a way that little else could – especially in the world of sport. If you want proof, you only have to look at the way a lot of people in the street, on the bus, in the pub and indeed on social media were happy and absolutely bursting with pride yesterday as they stopped to reflect on the glorious deeds of 25 May 1967.

The Lisbon Lions are not just a great football team. They are the heroes of a sport and a cause.

They also come across as throughly decent and humble human beings, who always have time and an encouraging word for other people. It is arguably this decency and humility – which most of us try (and often fail) to attain – which is the most remarkable thing of all about them.

Put simply, keeping your feet on the ground and remaining an example to others when countless people constantly shout about your achievements is a truly incredible thing to do. Especially over a period of many decades.

The 50th anniversary celebrations of the 2-1 victory over Inter Milan have been perfectly executed and all those involved in organising them should be applauded for their enormous efforts.

For obvious reasons I suspect there will never again be commemorations on the scale of those seen recently. However, it really doesn’t matter. Every single facet of who the Lions are and what they achieved has been marked in magnificent fashion and I have no doubt that wherever they go and whatever they do in the coming years, they will be left in no doubt about how much they are treasured.

And many years from now, when we are all gone, their achievements will still be remembered and spoken about with reverence.

This means that the Lisbon Lions will live forever.

Which is the very least that they deserve.

Thank you for reading.

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Celtic, Media, Satire, Scottish Football

The Break Up Of The Celtic Squad 

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Good Evening.

The Clumpany brings you dramatic news courtesy of a completely fictitious article which won’t be appearing in a Scottish newspaper. Probably…

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Celtic Squad Facing Dramatic Transfer Swoop

Piss-take Sport understands that the successful Celtic squad looks set to be ravaged this summer by intergalactic raiders.

Having seen off interest from the English Premier League, and having indicated that they are not a selling club, the Scottish Champions are about to discover that resistance is futile as aliens from the planet Jumpshark make a dramatic move.

A source close to the Jumpsharkian high command said “Does this costume and voice modifier seem convincing? Let’s do this quickly as the PR company could only afford to hire them for half an hour. Oh is that thing recording? Sh*t! Let’s get on with it!

“Yes it’s true, the Sharkjumpians have been monitoring the progress of Celtic under Brendan Rodgers since the return of Rangers* to the top flight scared Dermot Desmond into action. 

They think that Celtic have some quality players who are certain to get bored of playing at Celtic Park. They believe they could do a job in the Sharkjumpian Super League playing against real-life Subbuteo players bred in laboratories on one of the planet’s many moons.”

The departure of most of the Celtic squad would be a massive blow to the Parkhead side as well as giving a tremendous boost to Rangers’* title hopes next season. What’s more, it is understood that the aliens are unlikely to take no for an answer should Peter Lawwell try and stand in their way.

The Sharkjumpian Super League is booming and those in charge will stop at nothing to get all the best Celtic players” said our source. “Their preferred method will be to line up a pretend friendly for Celtic against the ‘Area 51 All Stars’ in Nevada, and then kidknap them when they get off the bus.

However, in the extremely unlikely event of Celtic not falling for this cunning ruse, the Sharkjumpians will simply teleport all the players to their ship while they sleep. There really is no hiding place for them.”

The sudden intergalactic disappearance of the best Celtic players will be a huge disappointment to the Parkhead faithful, but our alien contact believes it will be good news for Rangers* fans.

“With a weakened Celtic side and Pedro Caixinha’s big plans backed by Dave King, this is sure to be the season when Rangers* return to their rightful place at the top of Scottish football. If I were a Rangers* fan and not a [*cough*] anonymous source from a distant world, I would certainly be snapping up an Ibrox season book now by calling the number at the bottom of this page.

I definitely wouldn’t wait until after the Sharkjumpians have abducted the best Celtic players. My advice is to buy early and buy often.”

>>>>>>

#KeepOnClumping

NB Remember folks, it’s just a bit of fun…

Celtic, Media, Satire, Scottish Football

9-In-A-Row 20 Years On: Billy McStaunch Tells Us What Happened Next


Good Evening.

Sadly no newspaper will be printing this as part of a series of pull-out supplements… 😉

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9-In-A-Row 20 Years On: Billy McStaunch Tells Us What Happened Next

May 9, 1998 is a day that Rangers fan Billy McStaunch will never forget.

For it was on that day that the previously unstoppable Rangers tanks were turned back by the luckiest military manoeuvre since ‘Colonel’ Parker got Elvis to sign on the dotted line.

Somehow the impossible happened and Celtic fluked a league title with a 2-0 win over St Johnstone. Flukey flukey flukey Celtic.

Ten-in-a-row parties were cancelled, your author allegedly cried himself to sleep every night for several years, and nothing was ever the same again. Except that it WAS because Rangers are still the world’s most successful club and are going for 55 again next year. 

One eyewitness to that awful May day has given us an exclusive insight to what that lucky, doesn’t-really-count Celtic title meant to him.

Billy McStaunch followed the Light Blues everywhere during the nine-in-a-row years and can vividly remember the impact of Celtic thwarting their bid to go out on their own with the Ten.

“Bastards”, said Billy. “Bastard f*cking bastardy bastards.”

“Cheating State-Aided, traitorous stinking bastards. That was our title. Our ten-in-a-row. Absolute f*cking c*nts”.

Billy still feels the impact of his beloved Gers missing out on what would have been their greatest domestic achievement.

“C*nts, all of them.”

“Wim Jansen – managerial c*nt.”

“Henrik Larsson – overrated c*nt.”

“Harald f*cking Brattbakk – just a c*nt.”

“Peter Liewwell – he scored that day didn’t he? Absolute c*nt.”

“Fergus bastarding McCann. What a c*nt. Who did he think he was? David Murray had bought that success for Rangers and McCann came along and stole it. The c*nt.”

Billy and his friends have formed an informal support group to deal with the continuing grief they feel following that disappointing day.

“Aye. We drink a case of Buckie and kick the living sh*t out of an anvil with a Celtic scarf  wrapped round it. A bastarding Celtic scarf. We then spend the rest of the week in A&E before doing it all over again the following weekend. We haven’t been to a game since 1998.”

Asked whether nine-in-a-row wasn’t worth celebrating despite it only drawing Rangers level with Celtic’s record, Billy was unequivocal in his response.

“F*ck off! No one is equal to the mighty Gers! Our Nine is way better than Celtic’s. Theirs was just a bit better than Eight. Ours was almost a Ten. And it would have BEEN a Ten had it not been for those lucky Hooped bastards in 1998.”

“C*nts all of them. Now, when is David Murray going to buy us two European Cups?”

>>>>>>

#KeepOnClumping

NB Remember folks, it’s just a bit of fun…