ONLY AN EXCUSE: Gagging order couldn't keep me quiet after comedy cuts

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The champers was flowing after LA Galaxy won the MLS Cup ... but David Beckham seemed to be more concerned with protecting his hair
The champers was flowing after LA Galaxy won the MLS Cup ... but David Beckham seemed to be more concerned with protecting his hair

'THE Arbroath Gag' had always reminded me of the classic routine by that legendary comedy double act Francie and Josie - but not any more!

Whenever I hear of 'The Arbroath Gag' from now on, I will immediately think of Celtic's performance in the Scottish Cup against The Red Lichties. It was totally, sensationally, utterly astonishingly hilarious.

Honestly, I haven't stopped laughing since Steven Doris' shot ended up in the back of the Celtic net. Just a wee shot from Doris, just a wee shot, that's all, and Celtic face a banana skin of a replay against dangerous minnows-or should that be smokies?

So confident were the BBC Sports department this result was in the bag for the so-called Scottish Champions they sent Kheredine Idessane to cover the match. Why, oh why, oh why, did they not send ME?

You could say hell mend Neil Lennon for making nine changes and putting out a weakened side, but surely even eleven Celtic reserves should be able to gub a part-time team of brickies, posties and other such lowly professions?

And yet it all started so well for the mighty Hoops. They stormed into a one-nil lead thanks to an own goal the likes of which I have never seen before. An own goal that, if I didn't know any better, I'd say was deliberate. For me it looked like Alex Keddie deliberately moved his bahookie to connect with the ball and send it skittering into the net.

Then, just when it looked as if Celtic were going to get away with it, the 'Super Caley Go Ballistic' voodoo jinx struck again. Arbroath are managed by Paul Sheerin who, of course, played for Caley on that magnificent occasion when they famously humbled Celtic in a previous Scottish Cup humiliation.

Ahh, memories, memories.

NEIL LENNON

TO be honest, I'm not really that bothered about drawing at home against – with the greatest respect – a wee diddy team in the cup, not bothered in the slightest, not in the least, couldn't care less. Maybe I'm glad Celtic only managed a draw.

Maybe I WANTED a draw. Maybe I wanted Spartak Moscow to think it would be easy against us tonight. Then again, maybe I was secretly pure bealin', but was too embarrassed to say anything.

In all seriousness, though, I'm pretty confident we can produce a performance and get a result against Spartak to get us through to the last 16 of the Champions League although, to be honest, I'd probably be a lot more confident if we were playing them at Tynecastle or New St Mirren Park – or any stadium other than Celtic Park.

DAVIE PROVAN

AS far as Celtic's Champions League aspirations go, tonight is most definitely the quality night.

Predictions? Well, it's a difficult one to call but, without being too specific, I think the Parkhead side will be two-nil ahead with two minutes remaining, then substitute Aiden McGeady will score a hat-trick for Spartak.

Then again, I could be wrong.

ALLY McCOIST

TO be honest, I want the fans to have their say in any renaming of Ibrox. Me? I don't don't like the name 'The Sports Direct Stadium'. I'd prefer something more subtle and classier like 'The Let's Have League Reconstruction and Get Rangers Back Into the Top League Stadium'; I think that has a nice ring to it.

CHARLIE NICHOLAS

AFTER watching the tie-of-the-round at Easter Road, I can only conclude in my concurrence that the pendulum has now swung like a yo-yo in Hibs' favour.

Hearts have had it rotten lately but on Sunday things turned even rottener. No-one likes to lose a goal, but to lose a goal in the manner in which they did was a kick up the solar plexus that will have set the clap amongst the pigeon holes.

For what seems like a maternity, Hearts have dominatrixed this fixture but on Sunday, Hibs turned the tide of the screw and looked the likelier of the unlikely winners they were.

Pat Fenlon deserves praise for what he has done in turning a piddling to average side into an average to piddling side, but the difference is belief. Trust me, they believe they can believe in themselves and that's half the bottle. So, could this be the year Hibs finally unleash the hoodoo, capture the monument, grasp the metal, take the horn by its bools, throw down the omelette and finally win the Scottish Cup for the first time in over 400 years? No.

JIM SPENCE

ENJOYED the Turriff versus Morton tie, but the match I really wish I'd been reporting on was Partick Thistle versus Dunfermline.

Why? Because it was the only match to provide a good old-fashioned rammy that almost turned into a stooshie. The sight of big, tough, footballers throwing haymakers and waving metaphysical handbags made me hanker after the good old days of punch-ups.

Even the Westenders inside Firhill thrilled at the sight of all the shoving and posturing which, okay, might not have been the talk of the Steamie, but was certainly the talk of The Ubiquitous Chip.

PAT NEVIN

A BIG thank you to all those insomniacs who have expressed their gratitude for having Jim Jefferies on Sportscene. His lively, scintillating chat cured thousands.

Sport

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