Ref takes my name, flashes yellow card. A talking to at most surely but tackles are flying in, typical cup tie and he’s obviously had enough. Keep the head, don’t do anything rash,nothing stupid….30 seconds later sitting in the dressing wondering what just happened?
Morton v Killie 94/95, Scottish Cup replay. These games were always eventful. Midweek, floodlights, big crowd, can’t beat it. We had a mix of youth and experience and always fancied our chances, especially at home as teams hated coming to Cappielow. The place hadn’t changed in 100 years but we loved it.
One of the senior players, Rowan Alexander, thought I wasn’t bad technically but needed to add to the other side of my game. Rowan was a club icon, fans loved him. As old fashioned in his playing style as he was with his dress sense. Wore his herringbone trench coat religiously, which I’m sure was part of his Brentford signing on fee 10 years previous. Son of a butcher with arms like something out a comic strip ,he must have been a nightmare to play against, as he was in training, always using his elbows,sometimes for elevation.
Anyway, just before the kick off, he took me in to the toilet area for a “quiet word”. “You need to get stuck in!” Whack! “You need to put yourself about more!” Slap! Getting roughed up by hands the size of shovels can make you either roll up in a ball and protect yourself or find some inner strength to fight back….When I eventually opened my eyes and made sure he’d left, I got up, dusted myself off and was ready to go.
You hear people say if you’re going to get sent off make it worthwhile. Take a body, smash somebody. After getting booked for the foul, I retreated the 10 yards. Free kick was just in our half, no major threat. Boy takes it, I jumped to block it and I’m off. 2 yellows in the space of 30 seconds and I’m up the tunnel. I won’t name the ref as he was well respected in his time but if you remember who shot J.R. Bobby Ewing waking up in the shower was more believable than what I walked for.
Now what? The home dressing room is a decent enough size but it now seems huge as you sit alone going through everything in your head. You can hear the crowd and try judge how games going. Are we on top? Will we win? Please win. Do I get showered and go back out? Will the Gaffer go ape if I do? Will I put cold water in the big communal bath, but then it will be freezing by time game finishes? If you do that you may as well go whole hog and deep heat all the boys underpants as that would be totally disrespectful. Especially if we get beat. We did! 2-1.
Strange thing is, if we win, it wouldn’t have been forgotten about, but the boys would have been on a high and you might have got away with it. But no matter the score, if you thought you were hard done to or not,you still left your mates fighting an uphill battle and you feel terrible at letting everybody down. The Gaffer, teammates and the fans. You can play it over and over as many times as you like in your head while trying to get to sleep that night, but all you want is to get back to training and get it out your system as quick as possible, preferably the next morning…