Celtic Park and 'Oor ain wee corner'

Celtic Park and ‘Oor ain wee corner’

By @LWordsmith updated for TCN.

Years ago we vented our upsets our frustrations and our loss of innocence down by the Street corner. Celtic Park Oor ain corner
We always complained vociferously when told to ‘move on sonny or else’ time and again, by the polis otherwise known as the fuzz, the rozzers, the auld bill, the coppers or the cruelty, to mention but a few of the corner warning nicknames
In they days, they the polis didn’t mind just giving you a ‘belt in the mooth’ to perk your ideas up, it seemed par for the course for the corner crew and it was what we expected and to be honest needed at times. 
Well who were you going to complain to anyhow ? 
Your maw or da ?  
No chance they’d have leathered you as well for being stupid enough to get rumbled doing whatever you shouldn’t have been doing. Blame brought shame and the family didn’t take to kindly to being shamed, family values were important the deeper the misery that you shared it seemed.
Nobody ran to a local MP or human rights org either, for they were just faceless and spineless words that didn’t meet many minds in the tenement closes, the wee mans pubs or the street corners up n down the land, everybody just sucked the shit up as part of their normal life.  It’s how it was that’s all.
We were after all awe in the same boat.
But Christ were we fucking bored man.
Our usual explanation for these gatherings would be but ‘Hey Mister there’s bugger all to do’ or ‘but this harassment is a fucking anti teenage agenda, it’s because we’re young isn’t it !’
What we didn’t realise, no what we didn’t care about, was what a noisy destructive bunch we surely were as we kicked balls off somebody’s walls day and night as they watched crossroads on their black and white televisions or the like. 
Those that were lucky enough to have them mind, for the rest of us peasants were radio buffs. 
That constant thudding must have drove them to distraction like a big bass drum deliberately tormenting the ears without rest.
You see we didn’t care because all we all wanted was to score the winner in the European Cup final against Inter, played out in earnest in the community drying green. 
We had dreams to act out you see.
That constant thudding as I said, must have drove the inhabitants completely round the bend not to mention the occasional window break which must have been a proper nuisance as it took the best part of a year back then to get the putty guy out for repairs, but then we’d remove the putty out of curiosity and become Tony Hart creatives for a few hours. 
Poor neighbours right enough, aye they must have hated us.
We was fucking pests to be sure but did we care, nope not a jot, it was after all our formative training. 
We were potential soccer superstars or top athletes what with all the running we managed when the comical wee panda cars appeared, they had no chance to be honest, their top speed was about 40 miles an hour and our fear generated feet made us gazelle’s on an impromptu flight.
Looking back I’m sure it must have felt the same on almost every street corner across the cities of the time. 
The perception was probably the same as we grew to become the gangs of drink and drug fueled neds grouped together hell bent on wanton destruction and being as big a nuisance as possible, or so we were often accused. 
Of course we resented that because our maw’s would have killed us if she ever found out the half of it.  
Morals you see were a code, they were a big thing don’t you know and so was right and wrong. If you weren’t right you soon found out how wrong you were when the belt crackled on your painfully accepting backside. 
It was smart to avoid that smart, real smart.
We were angel faced alter bhoys of a Sunday making your mammy ever so proud, but roving destroyers of forward progression the rest of the time, aye rebels indeed, mostly, without much of a clue.
You see to us it was offered when challenged as just the youthful frolic. 
We got booked or apprehended for our cheek with many wide ranging excuses, the favourite though being the production of one’s best innocent wee face that was always showing a picture of stupidity, but that was no get out clause from the firm hand of ‘don’t you embarrass me son ! 
Most of us knew the lines not to cross.
For a few adults, a few mind, it was indeed that youthful tendency that they themselves had displayed, but now ignored in later life, perhaps with each newly found authoritative position. 
‘He might just have been the Janitor or something’.
With age came responsibility you see, until your auld man or somebody else’s, was as pished as a fart, then you were able to get away with it as said adult might offer the back up of ‘who fuckin cares aboot awe that shite man’. 
‘Leave the lads alone you forget when you were a kid pal !’. 
That was a pretty common statement from any blind with rage parent, usually though, from the parent who’s kids could do no wrong, ever. You know the ones I mean, it still goes on. 
‘Naw pal, no ma boy, he widnay day that, noo fuck off afore a get pissed off n put yer lights oot !’.
‘Hey man, it’s only some graffitti, a wee bit of spray paint, a coupla menshees, the kids is bored shitless.’
‘It’s only some broken bottles and fag ends, fuck sake it happens awe the time err a gathering of underage drinkers on their journey to manhood don’t it, geeza break ya nosey fud’. 
The rank smell of pishy stain from the corner of the walls or shop shutters was normal, ‘so wit, it’s natural int it ?’. 
‘Wit you want dude, the kids tay pish thur bloody pants, they’re gist bored man.’
Inside our wee heads as we listened to the adult back-up bicker to the moaner we were thinking, ‘Nah fuck you Mr Doogood, it’s oor scheme, oor street, oor fuckin corner, noo bolt ya dafty !.
All the squabbling, screaming and fighting of a weekend was par for the course man, it was gangland kind of shit wasn’t it, besides being outside of that pack mentality on those mean streets was fatal man. There was a safety in numbers.
There wasn’t many hapless victims in my hood, at least not as far as we were concerned.
Maybe somebody finished the last sip of cider or vino or somebody got two’s up on the last Capstan full strength or Woodbine throat choker that just happened to be nicked out of somebody’s Granda’s tin without a declaration of interest in a smoke, until that very morning. Cough splutter wheeze.
But to us none of that was any reason for any of the senior citizens or educated proper folk with best togs, nay mates and proper speak, to fear popping out for a loaf, a bag a sugar or a newspaper, was it ?.
The street corner was as safe as houses man, just grow some balls and get your shopping in you dumpling.
Aye, them days was no half educational. 
Maybe not the educational that we needed but they did teach us shit never the less, we learned how to act the big man be the toughest of the softest and curse easily in a variety of tongues. 
‘No wit a meen, ya wanker’ being a most common form of communication.
As we started to expand our horizons at the weekends the majority of us from the same school and same school of thought, would get a right few of us together and head to Parkhead for the game done up in all our greenery. 
It was our birth right you see, our true religious festival, it’s what was expected. 
This deprived deluge of kids from the corners of destruction knew how to express their beliefs, we had voices and we were going to use them, we believed in Celtic and all these years on, we still do.
‘Hail Hail the Celts are here…and off we’d go, suns oot, troops are sorted, who geeza fuck’. 
‘The hills are alive way the sound of…       s a bastard’.
‘For it’s a Grand old team to….’  the sounds belted out. 
Nobody gave a toss, the modern day ‘ kettle’ hadn’t been invented yet and the hospital casualty was a natural result of the acceptable chaos of the time. Witnesses nor bleeding hearts were tolerated to spoil the fitba march, our World was alien to that.
In those days you could stand, sing, move, smoke, eat & drink, piss outside and it wiz seen as normal. This was pre-political correctness in the days when the law was catching criminals not creating them, but then rules were slack then and the people not so bothered.
Sure to us that other lot in blue was worse than we could ever be, but we all ran the gauntlet of the fitba day out, and loved it. Back then real freedom wasn’t a crime you see.
We could express depress and produce the middle fingers with ease, the street corner had made us professionals at it. We’d chip our coins together, manage a couple tins of the ale and fags, sort our fare for the rocking bus as pensioners covered their ears and hoped we would get off next stop as we planned our way into the sacred ground. 
‘Here goes for the punty err, try n make yerself look smaller it usually worked a treat man’. 
Some of the guys doing the lifting over ‘good guys that remembered their street corners’ some of them still living there to this day having moved from the Eldorado to the buckfast near keeled over half the time from lifting over these young looking adults whilst questioning ‘wit fkn age ur you pal ?’ usually to the back of the head as you squeezed yer torso into the ground and legged it to a pre-arranged rendezvous point. 
‘Fanks mister Jimmy !!’
‘Hail Hail’ and off, past the stampede of other successful punties to catch up with who ever else got in from your own crew’.  
‘For we will be mastered by no…..’  Lively crowd the day lads eh..!’
‘Geeza fag man eh, am gaspin.?’
‘Hail Hail the Celts are here…’ and off we’d go, suns out troops are sorted, who gives a fuck we’re in paradise’.New Celtic Park Oor ain corner
Years of that went on man, dogging school to sneak a peek at the weekends upcoming project, who we playing next, where about, how do we get there ?.
We started properly shaving, getting laid, getting educated about the real meaning of Celtic, real priorities. We were getting all political and managing to still make sure the street corner we held firm at the games remained the same. 
‘Fuck the suits man, cos sure as fuck, they was fuckin us’.
Aye the street corner was an education it ‘husnay hauf’ expanded, behind the smoke and noise and confusion, breathless wee souls that pay their way to watch the play, just scratch their heads as the corner boys don’t seem to grow up with the times.
But thankfully, I did.


5 thoughts on “Celtic Park and 'Oor ain wee corner'

  1. LW
    Excellent reminiscences. I must confess to not having had quite as colourful experiences as yourself coming from a small village where anybody could clip you because they were probably related somehow. The EU would probably class it as inbreeding these days but in ours it was just that you did not stray too far from home – for anything. Anything except the fitba, that is. We would have gone to hell and back to watch the Celts.
    What does strike me is though we misbehaved back then it was judged in a far, far different light and dealt with by on the spot belts across the lug and not arrests, probation, tags or prison sentences. It is interesting that the young ones of today are probably not any worse in there own way at football matches than we were. I think the big difference is in the reactions of the current powers that be both within and without the club. We hardly knew who UEFA were except that they ran two important competitions called the European Cup and the Fair Cities Cup and everybody wanted to win them. We did win the big one. The first to ever do so in Britain; the first to make it seem possible to British clubs. The attitude to drinking in grounds was totally different and a fan had to “be right out of line” for the police react. Stewards were guys that wandered round the park doing “something” and you only had contact when you needed to ask for the lavy or the burger stand. I always thought most of them took the job to get free entry to the games. It certainly had nothing to do with “policing” the supporters. There were levels of behaviour that are targeted and punished today that were simply ignored or laughed off in our time. Even the polis had a different approach. I remember one that I knew well (I was tempted to say he was a friend but remembered that those who could be called friend by the Celtic or Catholic community were a rare breed indeed) telling me that the general strategy was to let fans burn themselves out either fighting among themselves or themselves out then move in like a hovering bird of prey and “lift” whoever seemed most vulnerable. That way games looked to be being policed. Most importantly, clubs were not under the same threat of punishment for the actions of their fans. This meant they did not pay any great heed to the environment their fans were exposed to, the abysmal condition of most grounds nor take appropriate actions against supporters who behaved badly. As you say, LW, political correctness had not come into existence then nor had political knee-jerk over-reaction. At the same time, I can honestly say I never knew a Celtic fan who did not have a line he/she would ever cross. That could not be said of other fans I knew.
    We could all examine how we acted back then, both fans and authorities, and would have to confess to being no better nor worse than those of today. For me, the greatest change is in the consequences for fans’ behaviour nowadays. The slightest misdemeanour can result in penalties imposed on individuals and on clubs that eventually could have such far reaching consequences as to pose a real threat of lifetime exclusion for the individual or closure for the club. That is why supporters today can not be as carefree and off-handish as we were. Eyes are watching us everywhere today. There are most certainly those, particularly in the media and the police, with an agenda to do damage to the reputation of both the support and the club. Severe penalties have replaced the odd warning or request to improve. Sadly fans of today are more restricted. Unfortunately fans today can not simply express themselves freely. Annoyingly fans today are unable to be so boisterous and demonstrative without incurring the wrath of authority. That is why fans today have to keep shtum, bite a lip or two and stick to supporting the team. We got away with a lot more in our day but we would never have put the club at risk. Whatever it takes, whatever they have to do, fans today must never put the club at risk either. Sadly there are some who apparently do not get this.
    H H

  2. Thanks for comments guys, Indeed especially for that fantastic reply Pensionerbhoy.with which I concur totally.
    What an excellent in depth look at the differences in attitude, I thank you.

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