It’s Scottish cup final weekend.
Sunday at 3 sees Celtic face Hearts in last years cup final, a game that one way or another will bring the curtain down on an unprecedented and probably unique period of domestic dominance in not only Scottish but world football.
The run of consecutive trophies will either have another one added to it, or it won’t.
But it will end, and only Craig Gordon probably doesn’t care how it ends, as he’ll apparently get both a winners and a runners up medal, due to his participation in the tournament with Celtic.
As he is no doubt all fired up for the game, and more than capable of reminding us what we are missing, lets hope he has a stinker.
One wonders if his heart will be in it, and given Hearts could be said to have worked themselves up for this game, for a couple of reasons, he probably will be.
One also wonders if he has a bad game, sections of the media and supporters of other clubs will doubt his allegiance to his new club.
In fact, should he be allowed to play-he is cup tied in the usual sense ?
Had Hearts been facing “rangers ” and a former Ibrox man been in their line up, would we have seen a rule change then ?
Then again, referees are allowed to play for their favourites, so rules in Scottish football are perhaps a little different from anywhere else.
The Hearts players will all wear 26 on their shorts, a tribute to their former captain Marius Zaliukas, who died of motor neurone disease recently..
Hearts players will don the number 26 on their shorts in tribute to former captain Marius Zaliukas.
The Lithuanian defender tragically passed away in October on the day Hearts beat Hibs to reach the cup final with fans heartbroken at the news.
Zaliukas was skipper when Hearts last won the trophy with a 5-1 thumping of Hibs at Hampden in 2012, and now the club will show their love for him on Sunday.
Every player will wear shorts with 26 on them during the game at Hampden as they look to overcome the odds and beat Celtic to win their third Scottish Cup in 14 years.
The club confirmed on Twitter: “This Sunday at Hampden, every player will wear no. 26 on the front of their shorts in memory of Marius.”
Not only that, the Edinburgh club felt a little aggrieved that they were relegated as a result of a show of hands last season, despite it being fairly obvious they would have been anyway, having had a dreadful season.
Though one could argue that at the business end of the season, making a cup final would have boosted the players and they may well have escaped their sentence, which means they might well try to make amends for that on Sunday against a Celtic side that could at best be described as inconsistent this year.
Factor in Neil Lennon talking about giving the players who got to the final-apart from Gordon, obviously, though you never know when Lenny speaks these days, and suddenly we have a game on our hands.
And so it should be that way.
It’s a cup final, the showpiece end of season game where everyone started equally with the same dreams and hopes of making it to the big day.
Alright, maybe the last weekend of christmas shopping isn’t the normal time for the game, and lifting the cup in the dark without any fans present will be sort of surreal, its still the Cup, and its still another trophy.
And I’ll bet you’ve forgotten how we got there, haven’t you ?
Here’s a short refresher….
Fourth Round: Partick Thistle 1-2 Celtic
Fifth Round: Clyde 0-3 Celtic
Sixth Round: St Johnstone 0-1
Semi-Final: Celtic 2-0 Aberdeen
— Scottish Cup (@ScottishCup) December 17, 2020
There is a dilemma facing the manager.
As another manager in Glasgow is beginning to realise, once teams spot your weakness, your form goes out of the window.
Celtic under Lennon have been predictable for a while, but the pace things were done at meant that although other sides knew how to beat us, they couldn’t actually do it . The recent malaise saw a slwoing down of action o the pitch, and lesser sides capitalised.
It will be the same with “rangers ” over the next few weeks, especially given they have a smaller squad, less flexibility and an over reliance on referees.
Lennon has to decide if he will risk a return to the slowmo style, or stick with the more bustling performances of late.
In Cup football, there are no second chances.
Thats what makes the quadruple treble such an achievement if it does happen. One bad result in the cup, and there’s no treble.
Celtic have avoided that for four years, truly remarkable in any sense against any level of opposition.
One more game, one more win, to close the circle and possibly even define an era is not so much desired as necessary.
These days, football is entirely governed by money…more games means more revenue, and traditional one off Cup tournaments don’t appeal to TV and betting companies, even though fans love the excitement generated by the whole matchday experience.
Be that at home, in the pub or at Hampden, the latter of course , having played its own part in diminishing the appeal of cup football with its own unique design and lack of atmosphere.
Every cup game has its own story, every final the last chapter in a book in its own right, and Sunday will be no different.
Despite what seems to be a media campaign, led by a staunch BBC Scotland, to play it down, get out there, or stay in there and damn well enjoy it.
I don’t know who Martin Watt is, but there can be no doubt as to Martin Why…
Football has been spoiled by group stage formats, by home and away ties, and by endless seeding arrangements to keep the big clubs in around the business end.
The Scottish Cup remains football in its purest form, between clubs whose fans still want to go to games to watch and enjoy them, and not to record it on their phones or wear half and half scarves.
Sporting integrity and honesty at its peak, although i did read that John Beaton was going to be the referee, which shows that the SFa don’t see the tournament through the same eyes as the fans.
Winner takes all and to hell with the loser.
Long may it continue.
( Though preferably out of the hands of the SFA. They’re cheats. )
This is the fundraiser we will be taking part in this weekend, where we will be doing a one hour stint on a podcast…
Those are the charities the money goes to, and as one or two of you have offered a few quid to sponsor our one hour programme, undoubtedly a better idea than having to listen to it, and all of the money will of course go to the fund, we’ll let you know how to contribute during the course of today, as I’m not very good at that sort of thing,
I’m more your sort of brown envelope untraceable used notes sort of guy.
We’ll put details on the site when we have them.
Caption competition from yesterday, the unique late edition of the diary…..
Puggy Sixty Seven
Gran, your post calling for McGrory to be sacked, that’s it up on Etims