31. Mar, 2018

SCOTLAND 0 HOLLAND 1

SCOTLAND IN CRISIS!

The approach of World Cup soccer is a reminder of the story behind this photograph.

We were staying up in Oban back in the day when Scotland were due to play Holland in a previous World Cup qualifier. If they lost, they were out!

THE TARTAN TAVERN

Fascinated by the extras left over from "Braveheart" I followed the "See You Jimmy" hats and saltire-painted faces into my favourite bar, less interested in watching the match than watching them watching the match.

Having eventually fought my way to a pint of "the heavy," and knowing England were about to kick off against Germany, I could not resist asking the landlord if there was any chance of watching it. He eyed me with total incredulity..."Do you want to see these bastards burn down my pub?" Perhaps not.

A ROSE AND A TULIP AMONG BLUEBELLS

I made my English way to a discrete table only to be joined by a guy wearing an Orange scarf and bobble hat. He was Dutch! Mmm. a flame in a powder magazine?

"Flower of Scotland" was given a rapturous if inebriated rendition. The whistle went to the sound of the fearsome battle cries that had scared many a redcoat by loch and by glen.

However, this initial enthusiasm slowly subsided, for as the match went on, the Dutch proved themselves to be mfar superior. Their 60 minute winner was greeted with a stony silence by everyone... except that is, my companion, who insisted on shouting his joy and waving his scarf above his head.

WEE HAMISH

The final whistle went. A huge local drained his pint and rumbled over to our table. "Not good," I thought, reaching for a heavy glass ash tray as a potential means of defence. He extended a huge paw to my orange-clad friend and....insisted on shaking his hand..."Och awa’ mon. Yer deserved tae win. Yer team were the better side!" It was fortunate that his gesture was met with nods of friendly agreement all around the bar. At that moment the result from Wembley was announced..."England 5 Germany 0".

THE PHOTOGRAPH AND THE PIPES

I made my excuses and left. Outside the pub, I took my photograph. I doubt if even the 1746 defeat at Culloden could have been greeted with deeper and more obvious body language.

At that precise moment, and I swear this is true...down in the town and to mark Scotland's exit from the world cup , a lone piper struck up a Lament!