Whether it was lack of sleep on Friday morning, and not enough sleep on Friday night, I’m not sure, probably both, but getting up to make the 6:15 out of New Street up to Edinburgh, wasn’t easy, I vowed to sleep on the train going up, something I wasn’t able to do initially, as fate had decreed that I would be sharing a table with a friend/acquaintance of Tommy Robinson, once the name had been mentioned in glowing terms, I chose my words carefully, not wanting to be embroiled in a strain of politics, I don’t align with, but not wanting to antagonize the bloke either, as a four hour journey spread out before us. Even if I did need a bit more sleep, I used it as an excuse to escape anyway, jamming headphones in, for extra pretense. I got off at Haymarket and my spirits lifted, it was good to be back in Edinburgh. The Caley Picture House is a new addition to the GBG, and a Wetherspoons I had yet to visit, though why, I have no idea.
“No usherette’s though”
I had a traditional breakfast, but a traditional Scottish breakfast, there wasn’t an English option, and I wouldn’t have had it anyway, as the Scottish version had potato cakes replacing hash browns and also had black pudding. Whether it was the surprise of England’s game v Argentina being shown (Especially with the independence march taking place later that day in Edinburgh) the breakfasts being different, or just the splendour of the place that had completely disoriented me, I’m not sure, but I actually had to ask the way out. Although still feeling extremely stupid for even having to ask, apparently, it was an oft asked question. I may have to invest in a piece of chalk, something I thought to myself as I exited the labyrinth.
“And at the moment, Hearts wouldn’t win any of them”
Once out, and back on firm ground, I raced up through the hoards heading for the march to the wonderful Halfway House with the aim of getting myself a beanie from there, unfortunately, I was out of luck, but the landlady is now putting one aside for my visit in November. Teuchters was next.
“Whoa, what’s that?”
“Not the rugby memorabilia, not all the whisky packaging, not the name plates, not even the plaque mentioning about the pubs cricket club. . . . An England flag in a Scottish pub!!!”
Teuchters makes no apologies for being a rugby pub, and the Japan game was on, and they were winning again. I know it’s being held in Japan, but I wasn’t expecting them to do so well, if I’m being honest. Next, was my home from home, the Diggers. On the way, passing many fans bedecked in blue, and they weren’t Rangers fans, it seemed like Kilmarnock were everywhere. The Diggers usually show both the lunch time kick offs, unless Scotland are playing in something, or there’s a major golf tournament going on, I tend to favour watching the Championship game, if there is one, but Spurs were on, and they were getting smashed by Brighton, a team that they would’ve been expecting to beat easily, nevermind Gogglebox, watching the Spurs staff and their supporters reactions, when the cameras cut to them, was well worth it, and I couldn’t stop a grin appearing, as I observed pained expressions emanating from them.
There wasn’t the excitement around me, as I entered the ground, more an air of despondency, nothing more than a sense of duty. The colours might’ve been different, but the atmosphere was similar to when Steve Cotterill was manager at Blues. The game kicked off, and it was apparent why the atmosphere was one of depression, the football was monotone, reading a phone book would’ve been more interesting. Half an hour had gone, before the first attempt on goal arrived, and it was a good chance, served on a plate, which was duly dropped on the floor, condiments not required. Kilmarnock, not feeling threatened at all, ventured forward, finding the Hearts defence almost nonexistent, and what was left, woeful. A good cross, led to a good headed goal, but here’s the crux of the matter, it was scored by Chris Burke, not in itself, an embarrassment, as I remember him, as a great player under Chris Hughton, the embarrassment should’ve been born out of him being the smallest player on the pitch, and the oldest by some way, in the Kilmarnock side. It was a soft goal to give away, and led to the away side relaxing into a defensive shape, not that the Hearts attack were looking potent previous to the goal, as about as potent as a plastic beaker of water, if truth be told. Halftime brought a bit of light relief, in the form of the army band, as it had been designated, a day of celebration of the armed services.
“Traditional tunes . . . . Baggy Trousers, from the esteemed Madness”
I consoled myself with the hope that the second half would be a vast improvement, surely it had to be, it wasn’t. Kilmarnock were happy with their one goal, the general feeling seemed to be that it would be more than enough to see off Hearts, it was. Hearts managed to fashion two gilt edged chances in the second half, the first wasn’t at all difficult in fact, it was harder to miss, but it was, though it made the second badly missed good chance, look like an audacious back healed attempt from the Halfway line, if the plate had been dropped in the first half, not only was the whole dinner service dropped, but it was smashed to smithereens, along with the five course meal and accompanying trolley of complimentary drinks. Hearts did manage to get the ball in the net, but even someone who had no grasp of the offside rule whatsoever, could see it was. As all but the away support, who were going to stay to celebrate, streamed out of the stands, I gave up, and joined the throng, a first for me, as I had, until then, squeezed as much out of a game at Tynecastle, as I could, but even I couldn’t stomach any more. What had surprised me, was that there wasn’t any chants for Levein to go, there had been for the Hamilton game, there wasn’t a protest in front of the main stand afterwards either, I could only ascertain that Craig had bought himself time with the win versus Hubs at Fester road, and the upcoming semifinal v Rangers, which points to another bad defeat, then, I think the protests will start in earnest and won’t stop till he’s gone.
I went back to the Diggers, and a pint of the famous heavy. I hadn’t had my pie fix, something I went to remedy with another pint, as luck, or bad luck would have it, they were out of both, the barrel was being changed over, and another batch of those pies, pies, glorious pies, had been sent out for, delivery imminent, both when sorted, were their usual excellent quality, but it was soon time for my train, although the performance had been shockingly bad, it had once again, been a great day, and over far too soon.
“Of my garden and decorating the stairs and landing”