In the centre of Old Town by the Royal Mile downhill from Edinburgh Castle is a Heart of Midlothian (the county we are in) in the stone roadway. which I visited on a day trip from Glasgow. People have been passing by and spitting on it for centuries to keep the devil away.
I enjoyed a very pleasant day in the capital, taking a bus to South Queensferry and back and the iconic Forth Rail Bridge, then using a day pass, off to Edinburgh's seaside at Portobello, past Hibernian's Easter Road stadium. I walked up and down glorious Princes Street, and behind it the eating and drinking Rose Street. Then up, up, the hundreds of steps to The Royal Mile and Edinburgh Castle and a visit to the statue of Greyfriers Bobby(read www.ronsblog.com.9/01/2007.
Well, at Tynecastle Stadium tonight where Heart of Midlothian were entertaining Celtic, the devil got loose !!!. Just after Celtic made it 2-0 in the 62nd minute a Hearts 'fan' in the Main Stand, 10 yards to the right of me climbed over onto the coaches area and jumped at manager Neil Lennon. He and his family have been under 24 police protection after bullets parcel bombs and death threats were sent through the post. The guy was in the expensive seats near the players tunnel and police and security jumped him, a little late I think, after assistant Alan Thompson knocked him to the ground and security and police hauled him away, not before Lennon had stomped and kicked him. www.heartsfc.co.uk
WHAT IS SCOTTISH FOOTBALL AND SOCIETY COMING TO !!! There were 16,810 packed into every seat in this wonderful, compact and atmospheric arena. (Minus one of course for the last half an hour). How can I be sure? Well, I happened to be sitting next to Martin the ticket manager who had all the seating facts and figures.
Earlier in the season the same referee as tonight, Craig Thomson, had sent Lennon to the bench and he had received a 6 match touchline ban, later reduced to four. Hearts had implored their fans to sing 'ONLY HEARTS SONGS' at their final home match, but that didn't happen. VILE chants and songs from both sets of supporters. Celts took up all 3,700 seats in the double decker Roseburn Stand and they all stood for 90 minutes, sang, chanted, danced, swayed in a sea of green, non-stop !!, plus some ugly clashes and fighting with police. After David Obua was shown an instant red card for spitting, the match was basically over at 1-0. In the second half after 2-0 the 'incident' happened, and it was 3-0 as I left for an early getaway.
I took off early to catch the No. 3 bus to Edinburgh Waverley Station, 5 minutes away and the fast 40 minute express ride back to Glasgow Queen Street, while the green hordes were kept back, let loose and ready to catch the next train with British Transport Police massed and ready for action.
With the Celtic win both they and Rangers have one more match to play and one point difference. Celtic are at home and Rangers away at Kimarnock at the weekend, and whoever lifts the trophy, an ugly season will thankfully be over .