…true grit?… or just plain fitba’ daft?… the original ‘flying winger’…

…for a brief interlude in Master Gallacher‘s kaleidoscopic career, I played on the wing, in the outside left position, for the then Scottish First Division team, Third Lanark F.C.… the ‘Hi’Hi’s’, in the fifties and early sixties, vied with Partick Thistle F.C. and Clyde Football Club, as the city’s challengers to Glasgow’s big two, Rangers and Celtic… I was signed up (or rather my dad signed me up) on what were called ‘S-Forms’ – schoolboy player designation for a professional club… the playing staff at the time boasted two exceptionally talented forwards in Alex Harley and Dave Hilley, goal machines of the old school… and arguably the shortest professional  goalkeeper the WURLD has ever known at 5 ft 5 1/2 inches tall, Jocky Robertson… when he put on his goalie’s ‘bunnet’ (cap, Mabel… cap), he grew instantly taller… despite his being vertically challenged, he was an excellent keeper, and immensely brave…

hihis

…my first training session at the club was held in the evening (some of the players had other day jobs) under the car park lights… yes, the car park… the pitch was to be kept for match days only… none of yer running about and spoiling the surface before Saturday’s game… the car park was topped with ash, and we went through our paces there… I had purchased a new pair of shorts for my first showing in front of my new team mates and the trainer (‘coach’ back then was a WURD that meant ‘a bus’)… unfortunately in my haste to buy the shorts and get along to the club grounds at Cathkin Park, I took a pair that was two sizes too small… I struggled into them and began to train… kicking the ball back and forth was just about manageable, but when the trainer asked us to get ready for sprints, I knelt down, and on ‘ready, steady go’, lunged forward a la Usain Bolt… the tightness of the shorts restricted my legs from moving at the same speed as the rest of my body, and I took off in a perfect simulation of Superman, flying yards away from the start line, ending up sprawled face down on the ash surface… my extended hands and arms took the brunt of it… gravel rash dug into my palms and up my arms to each elbow… it was horrendously painful… I think I was more angry at the embarrassment than at the excruciating bite of the cinders in my now-bleeding skin… in a rage I ripped the sides of the shorts to free my thighs, and carried on to the next sprints… all of which I won easily, propelled by temper more than skill… (I won’t say I won ‘hands down’… too painful!)… I went on to play a season with the club before moving away from Glasgow to pursue my career as a Trainee Financial Master of the Universe… in 1967, the club sadly folded after dreadful mismanagement and embezzlement at the directors’ level… but at least for one training night I truly was a ‘flying winger’… see yeez later… LUV YEEZ!

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8 Comments

Filed under Blether, Scribbling & Stuff

8 responses to “…true grit?… or just plain fitba’ daft?… the original ‘flying winger’…

  1. It sounds like you did your heroic best, Seumas. 😀 — Suzanne

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I’m guessing you were lucky your shorts didn’t rip in another place, eh? 😀 … great story!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I waited to hear the short r-r-r-i-p. Cannot imagine how they stayed together to save you from embarrassment. 😀 😀 😀 I guess what they say about determination counts for a lot.

    Liked by 1 person

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