|Goodbye Charlotte: turning on to the runway
I could describe the entire weekend as faultless, but that wouldn't do it any justice...
My Aunt Maureen was waiting for us at Glasgow airport. Smiles were followed by a few tears, and then more smiles. We made a brief pit stop in Bishopbriggs before heading over to our hotel, Menzies, in Glasgow. The stop in Bishopbriggs gave a chance to say a quick hello to Paul and Katy as they prepared to start their day.
We made our way to the hotel to grab a nap and meet two people.
|Signed: a Celtic jersey autographed
by Peter Mullan
|CQN: Paul Brennan
You won't be surprised to hear that a nap quickly followed, before a trip out to Bishopbriggs!
The first pleasant surprise of the evening came when my Aunt Mairead, herself journeying from Newcastle to Bishopbriggs, stopped at our hotel to take us to the Nicolson household. I'm not sure I could tell you the last time I saw Mairead, but it was a wonderful surprise to be greeted by her at the hotel, and a real treat for her to make the journey up from Newcastle.
Upon arriving in Bishopbriggs, were greeted by the entire Nicolson family - my cousins Matthew and Stephen had made it out of bed by then, and Katy wasn't rushing to get out the door to school - my Uncle Peter and Aunt Sheila, Aunt Babs, my cousin Susan and her son Liam, my cousin Chris, Trudy Nicolson, and Jim McKenna.
The entire night was great fun. Great company, and a great spirit.
|Yum! (Yes, I took a photo of
We returned to our hotel and got a decent nights sleep.
|On the curb: Martin, me, and my Dad
stop for a snap in front of the main stand
|'67: iniside the Boardroom, standing
before the European Cup
...then we paid a visit to the club shop, and spent enough money to make a noticeable improvement in Celtic's profit forecast for the financial year!
|Old: The Scottish Cup, the oldest trophy
in football, and current property of Celtic
|Inspired: one of many great quotes
by Jock Stein, and the source of this
blog's name. The quote hangs in the
tunnel that leads players out to the pitch
|Pitch-side: Dad, me, and Martin
pose between the dugouts at the
foot of the tunnel
|Meet: Finally meeting James, and
being joined by Celtic legend
Billy "Cesar" McNeill
|Yum: Another fine meal, this time
at Celtic Park
Speaking of memorable: we were soon asked if we had time to visit the team downstairs, as they arrived for the game. I have to pass on my thanks to Peter Lawell, Tony Hamilton, Iain Jamieson, Eileen, and everyone at the club that made this possible.
|Emilio, James, dad, Martin, Scott Brown, and me!
|Meeting Neil Lennon, the Celtic Manager
To recap; wonderful company, wonderful hospitality, wonderful atmosphere, and some privileged access to the team. And yes, you've guessed it, great seats for the game (James went down a few rows to say hello to Rod Stewart!). In fact, the image below was taken as Victor Wanyama headed in Celtic's second goal (that's James jumping out of his seat on my left)!
Paul Brennan has a good recap of the game here. While it had its ups and downs, the result went our way, and it was a memorable game. I don't think there's anything like the atmosphere at Celtic Park; people shouting and singing from the stands, a slight cold bite to the Glasgow air, the faintest smell of the grass wafting up, and that electric sense of anticipation in the stadium. It was wonderful. And my hat is off to the Green Brigade; we were all a little jealous of the noise you were making and the fun you were having!
Full time brought a final round of hospitality. My Dad and my brother shortly excused themselves to retrieve our purchases from the club shop. It gave James and I a while to ourselves. James, that final conversation really helped to put some kick back in my stride. Thank you.
We retreated to Bishopbriggs one last time. Dad treated us all to a curry, before Paul got us back to the hotel.
Sleeping that night felt like I closed my eyes one second, and then woke the next. As quickly as I woke, it felt like we were in Maureen's car and back at the airport in an equally brief amount of time. And our farewell wasn't dissimilar from our welcome on Friday morning.
|Home: Louise knows what to do!
Thankfully, our flights home were on time, and half-empty! It wasn't long before we were back in Charlotte, tired, on Sunday evening.
A welcome overnight stay at my Mum and Dad's house followed on Sunday night, before making the journey back home to Lexington.
My deepest thanks to my Mum and Dad, my brother, all our family and friends; those that supported Amanda in my absence, and those that helped to turn the weekend in to such a memorable event.