Posted: 4/10/2010
Title: GLASGOW'S MILES BETTER-FOR THE STAGGIES

Blog:                                                                                                                         

          It was back in 1968 the last night I spent the night in Glasgow. It certainly has changed-for the better and is very friendly. Ask directions and they spend genuine time explaining and asking how you are.

          I bought a Day Rover on the buses and just wanted to look around in the sunshine. I went out to Hampden Park which has completely changed. I visited a few times in the old days, watching England win over Scotland in front of 125,000 fans, mostly standing in  the '60's. Also saw them play Brazil play with Pele. Then they had the famous 'Hampden Roar' when Scotland went on the attack. The Scots didn't florinate their water, ate too much candy and had false teeth in their twenties. Many were left behind on the terraces to the right of the main stand as bodies pressed together, surged forward, and urinated where they stood.

         Next door is Little Hampden, home to Queens Park, with just about enough seats to fit the few hundred that watch Scotland's oldest club play. The main stadium, proudly named Scotland's National Stadium, has a museum. In the entrance are some nice action bronzes of a goalkeeper and a striker. In between is a plaque to Svein Kaasa a speedway rider who crashed and died on the surrounding track in 1972.   During World War II the stadium was registered as an airport, and had helicopters take off and land. Not far away is Cathkin Park, which was the original Hampden Park and hosted Scotland v England and some Scottish Cup finals and was the home of now defunct Third Lanark. It's now a public park, but some terracing remains. 

       Perhaps the greatest match ever played there was the 1960 European Cup Final, Real Madrid 7 v Eintracht Frankfurt 3, in fronnt of 130,000 fans, which I saw on a tiny black and white TV. Ten years later a similar crowd for Celtic v Leeds United in a European Cup semi-final. This June Paul McCartney will return to the venue. In 2012 Olympic Games soccer and in 2014 The Commonwealth Games. 52,000 is the currect capacity after the rebuilding in 1999 and the end zones behind the curves are too far away from the action.

        I also took the bus from there to Ibrox Stadium home of mighty Rangers FC. That stadium, with it's listed front outside has also been completely overhauled. There is a statue outside of former captain John Greig, but also plaques to those 66 who were crushed in 1971 and before. Rangers are half of The Old Firm. staunchly protestant and heading for an easy Premier league title. I was staying near The University of Glasgow and walked to the nearby Kelvingrove Natural History Museum and Art Gallery, one of a dozen or more free museums for the public in this city.

       The theme for tourists is GLASGOW IS MILES BETTER, and exiting Queens Street station from The Highlands you come to splendid George Square, where crowds were sunning themselves on the benches the grass and sitting at the base of the statues having a picnic. I was off the Hampden on Saturday as well for the first semi-final of the 125th Scottish F.A. Cup, sponsored by Active Nation, and a noon kick-off. Celtic, by far the favourites, were playing First Division Ross County from Dingwall, north of Inverness. With a population of 5,000 they were bringing 8,000 fans to support them. Celtic were the first ever British team to win the European Cup, back in 1966. www.glasgow.gov.uk. www.visitglasgow.com

    Roy MacGregor, owner  of Global Energy Group had spent over 100,000 to buy 800 tickets for his employees, transport them to Glasgow and pay for a pre-match buffet in the stadium. What a great gift and WHAT A DAY !. He even bought them all a fish supper on the way home. The Staggies, in their first ever semi-final, ran at Celtic as if there was no tomorrow!! WELL, There is going too be a tomorrow, actually the Scottish Cup final, and a return to Hampden Park. They won 2-0 with marvelous second half goals from Steven Craig in the 55th minute and Martin Scott two minutes from the final whistle- and at the end where their fans were out of their seats going wild as Highlanders. www.hampdenpark.co.uk. Ross County partially sponsore the other fans buses charging only 14.00 return.  Manager Derek Adams had prepared his squad well and they played at speed and with crisp passing.

     I was near the Celtic end, but in fact the Glasgow team had brought four times as many fans. EXODUS !!! when the second goal went in, and their disastrous season was virtually over. They all left the stadium at once, tossing scarves, programmes and flags onto the trash bins outside. In fact I retreived a couple of them. Meanwhile Ross County players, and supporters were in raptures. www.rosscountyfootballclub.co.uk

    This blog is dedicated to MILES PULVERS- MILES IS MILES BETTER !

 

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