Celtic View :: The Final Word :: November 30, 2011


Tony Hamilton



Words: Paul Cuddihy






The Final Word

THE Celtic Graves Society are good people doing great things in Celtic's name. I've said that before and no doubt I will say it again, but only because it's absolutely true.

Last Saturday, at St Kentigerns' Cemetery, Lambhill, Glasgow, the latest ceremony organised by the Society took place at the graveside of Tom Maley, the brother of Willie, and another pivotal figure in Celtic's formation and early years.

It was a moving and uplifting occasion as Celtic director, Brian Wilson spoke, as did two of Tom Maley's great-grandsons.

And Terry Dick, a great supporter of Celtic and of the Graves Society, and the son of Glen Daly, who wrote The Celtic Song, delivered a wonderful oration on Tom Maley, the player and the man.

To honour and remember the dead is the mark of a civilised society, and in honouring the founding fathers and early players of the club, the Celtic Graves Society are ensuring that their contribution and legacy are preserved for future generations.

The existence of the Celtic Graves Society also further emphasises the unique character of Celtic and why we truly are more than a football club.

Go to www.celticgraves.com and support the magnificent work that the Graves Society are doing on our behalf as Celtic supporters.

CDIT'S the song which greets the teams as they run out of the tunnel before the game, and it's always been one of my favourites.

The Celtic Song is celebrating its 50th birthday this year, and that's an impressive achievement for any tune. It remains uniquely Celtic and eternally endearing, and while the various versions on the new CD release of the song are all good, for me, the original Glen Daly version will always be the best.

In saying that, Shane MacGowan's take on the song is a toe-tapping one, and while it might not quite rival Fairytale of New York in my affections, I'm sure it will still prove to be a big hit with fans.

You can get a copy of the new CD release at any Celtic retail store, or you can download it.

NOVEMBER 30 is St Andrew's Day. Scotland's patron saint is an important figure in history – the first apostle to be called by Jesus, and the brother of Simon Peter, the first Pope.

It is a great religious feast day, and for countries such as Scotland who have St Andrew as their patron saint, it is also a day of national celebration.

The saltire is known informally as the St Andrew's flag, and the white cross symbolises the shape of the cross on which Andrew was apparently crucified; he didn't want to be killed in the same way as Jesus.

In Scottish historical mythology, a white cross was seen in the blue sky by a Pictish king on the eve of a ninth century battle and was taken as a sign of impending success on the battlefield.

More recently, Mel Gibson painted his face with one and galloped about on a horse shouting 'Freedom!'

In Celtic terms, we are a Scottish club proud of our Irish roots, and that attitude towards our identity is one that would serve the rest of Scotland well, given that suspicion and hostility still exists in our society today towards people with an Irish and/or Catholic background.

Our founding father, Brother Walfrid, was christened Andrew Kerins, and his contribution to Scottish society remains an important one to this day.

I also believe that, just as the feast day of another great Catholic saint, Patrick, is celebrated around the world, including Scotland, on March 17, then we should have a similar celebration for St Andrew, both here in Scotland, and globally amongst the Scottish diaspora.

And it is good to see other SPL clubs using the flag of this important saint and his feast day to generate interest in their forthcoming games.

SAINT Andrew's Day also sees Celtic in action tonight as we take on Atletico Madrid in the UEFA Europa League.

It's going to be a tough game, and we saw from the game in the Spanish capital earlier this season, that they are a team full of top-class players.

This fixture also brings back, for me, memories of that infamous game in March 1974 at Celtic Park. It is actually my earliest, most vivid memory of going to a Celtic game.

I was seven-years-old at the time and, if I close my eyes and think about it, I can still recall the game as if it was yesterday.

There are no football memories of that night, unfortunately, since very little football was played during the 90 minutes, and it still remains one of football's great injustices that Atletico weren't kicked out of the tournament following that match. Instead, it was Celtic who were kicked out, literally, of the European Cup.

It was so shocking that I remember being allowed to stay up late and watch the highlights on TV when we came home from the game – on a school night! That was unprecedented in my childhood.

That is over 37 years ago now, and football has changed in its attitude to assaults masquerading as tackles in the game, thankfully so. When you see the sublime talents of Lionel Messi being allowed to flourish on the field of play now, it makes you wonder how Jinky would have fared with the proper protection.

THE gap at the top of the table is now just four points, a remarkable turnaround in the space of a few short weeks, and the players deserve credit for the way in which they've hauled themselves back into the title race.

That's only right, given the fact that criticism had been levelled at them up to the goalless draw against Hibernian.

Saturday's game against St Mirren was played in some dreadful weather conditions, but Celtic produced a sparkling performance on the park, and the fans produced an impressive performance in the stands.

It made for a very enjoyable afternoon, and there is a renewed optimism that there could be success heading our way this season.

Gary SpeedI HAVE listened to many of the tributes which have poured in for Gary Speed, and it's difficult not to get emotional as I do so - men who have lived and worked in the tough environment of football struggling to keep their emotions in check as they speak about a man who was a team-mate, a coach, a manager or a friend.

The circumstances of his death, at the age of just 42, are tragic, and we can only offer our thoughts and prayers to his family at this very sad time.

The Celtic View has, in the past, highlighted the important work that the Breathing Spaces charity does in trying to combat male suicide.

Breathing Space is a free, confidential phone line that people can call when they are feeling down. For more information visit www.breathingspacescotland.co.uk or call 0800 83 85 87 (open 6pm-2am).

The views on this page are not necessarily those of Celtic Football Club


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