Tag Archives: #ThirdLanarkFC

…the throwback original sports psychologist… and the real reason why I’ve never smoked…

…I’ve long since forgotten his name… but I remember his voice… a Glaswegian to the core, and a gentle Scots burr in the intonation… some say he’d been a classy football player in his day, which ‘day’ would prob’ly have been in the late nineteen-thirties… bit of a flying winger, which was how Master Gallacher also considered himself at the ripe old soccer age of fourteen years and half (the ‘half’ was always important)…

…I’d been ‘spotted’ by one of the scouts of the Scottish First Division’s football clubs, Third Lanark Athletic Club (the ‘Third’ piece of the name came from the original founders of the club, in 1872, an offshoot of the 3rd Lanarkshire Rifle Volunteers… I’d played for Glasgow United and Scottish Schoolboys a few times, mostly on the left wing, before sumb’dy realized that even at only 5 foot 8 1/2 inches (there’s that ubiquitous ‘half’ again, Mabel), my aggressive tackling and speed dictated a successful switch to centre-forward (none of yer ‘striker’ tag nonsense in the early sixties)… but back to the man at the start of this post… the trainer of we young lads, the apprentices… would-be WURLD Cup Winners for Scotland… twice a week, on Tuesdays and Thursdays at the Cathkin Park ground, the evenings were consumed with sprints, relays, ball-WURK skills, heading, receiving tackles (yup, we learned how to receive tackles correctly.. feet off the ground so as not to break anything in yer legs or ankles)… lots of play with the ball…

…we called it dribbling, body-swerves, flicks, feints, bursts of speed… all great for building stamina… the memorable night came when one of the lads after the training asked our trainer if it was okay to have a smoke… cigarettes, never drugs back then… and his answer to our group has remained with me ever since… ‘I’ve naething against yeez smokin’ lads… it’s yer own choice… but I can tell yeez this – if yeez smoke, it’ll slow yeez down by ten yards in every fifty… please yersels’… the result – nob’dy in that squad ever smoked that I’m aware of… the throwback original sports psychologist… and the real reason why I’ve never smoked… see yeez later… LUV YEEZ!

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