Takeaways from the weekend

Forgive me for going off-script and weighing in on Celtic while we’re still outside the parameters of the regular SPFL season — a self-imposed rule I have set on myself and this blog. However, this weekend warrants a few comments and points which could be marginalized, or even forgotten, by the time we pick up the regular season again on Sunday.

Like . . .

The pregame tifo to honor Bertie Auld was fantastic, but it still paled in comparison to the display at the 67th minute of the match. The Green Brigade pulled out all the stops on this one.

Damn, can we tifo!

Recently I was explaining tifo to a friend who follows sports marginally, and if anything only sports in the U.S. He couldn’t understand why fans would make so much of an effort, and I just threw up my hands and changed the subject.

Anyway, despite the fact I am not a big fan of pyro, the pregame and 67th minute tributes to Bertie Auld on Saturday were both phenomenal. The Green Brigade gets high marks for bringing high quality to the stands, each and every time, regardless of whether it gets the club in trouble or not. It was phenomenal, and regretfully I could not find a still from the 2nd half demonstration by the Green Brigade.

You’ll have to settle for videos gleaned from social media, like this one here.

Of course, Sunday’s Wile E. Coyote tifo — whatever the Ibrox crew was doing on at Hampden the day after, which seemed to be purchased at ACME– paled in comparison. As it always does, and as they always do.

A yellow for Furuhashi

An incident in the St. Johnston game which caused some ripples was when that paragon of class officiating Nick Walsh — yeah, that’s the epitome of sarcasm right there, as Walsh should be nowhere near a grade-school match, let alone a Cup semifinal — gave Kyogo Furuhashi a yellow card. But the fact of the matters is that it was completely warranted.

Kyogo Furuhashi against the backdrop of the Green Brigade’s demonstration at the 67th minute of Saturday’s game.

Furuhashi was floored by some mouthbreathing, hammerthrowing nobody on St. Johnstone — playing their Livingstonian 10-0-0 formation all game — and Kyogo got up and was clearly justified in pushing him. A small tete-a-tete which amounted to nothing, except to Walsh, who made it a serious offense thanks to the fact that it was a Celt involved.

Daijobu desu, Furuhashi-san — That’s OK, Kyogo. It’s good to see that Kyogo has probably had his fill of the rogue’s gallery of talentless thugs that populate the SPFL and is now standing up for himself.

Welcome back, Jamesy

Oh, man. Have I been waiting for this, and it’s a plot line straight out of Hollywood. Who better to honor a legend like Bertie Auld than a potential legend-in-waiting like James Forrest?

James Forrest gets chased by Celtic captain Callum McGregor after Forrest scored on Saturday against St. Johnstone.

Forrest scored in the 74th minute from a cross that pinballed off St. Johnstone goalkeeper Zander Clark and others, and slotted home the 1-0 winner on Saturday. If there was ever a fitting “welcome back” after recovery from a long injury, it was this for Jamesy.

Love seeing that kind of play from a homegrown hero like Forrest.

One more thing

My friend Matt Corr’s latest book — “Harry Hood: Twice as Good” — has officially been released into the wild, and it’s an ideal holiday gift for that Celtic fan on your list. You can pick up the book at the Celtic Star Bookstore, and you can marvel at how great Harry looked in the San Antonio Thunder jersey late in his career . . . not to mention all the tales of glory from his Celtic days as well.

And that, ladies and gentlemen, is that. We travel to Bayer Lederhosen — sorry, Leverkusen — this week before taking up the regular season tasks against Aberdeen on Sunday. Mon the Hoops!

A few of my favourite things

Fun fact: “The Sound of Music” was the first movie I went to see with my family when I was a kid. A minor qualification, though: Really, the first movie I ever saw was the night before in a Friday night outing with my Dad and my friends from the neighbourhood to the drive-in, where we saw a forgettable stock-car racing movie called “Red Line 7000” with James Caan.

Anyway, “The Sound of Music” ended up producing a boatload of cultural references over time and, in the Internet age, a raft of memes that range from sublime to hilarious.

“Red Line 7000,” not so much.

As such, of all the songs in “The Sound of Music,” the song “My Favourite Things” has probably been parodied most throughout the 55-year history of the film.

Permit me to add another. Sing along if you know the tune.

My favourite things

Ntcham and Jozo and Rogic and Boli,
Griff blasts a shot that slips right past their goalie,
Jeremie Frimpong flies quick up the wing,
These are a few of my favourite things.

Killie in Glasgow, French Eddy puts two in,
Oh, and hey look, Tom, “Whit’s the goalie daein’?”
Taylor to CalMac, the Green Brigade sings,
These are a few of my favourite things.

Broony at Rugby Park, Moi Elyounoussi,
Bitton upfield with a shot like an Uzi,
Forrest and Christie, two midfielding kings,
These are a few of my favourite things.

Loss to Cluj, and draw at Livi,
When I’m feeling sad,
I simply remember The Wall is in goal,
And then I don’t feel so bad.

‘Created by Immigrants’ meets ‘Refugees Welcome’

Celtic FC was started in 1887 when Brother Walfrid, a Marist brother, used football as a fundraising tool to help the Irish immigrants in Glasgow. Today, football is still used by some as a tool for good in Glasgow by United Glasgow FC.

While we wait for football to start again for Celtic — and the clock is ticking toward 3 p.m. Saturday in Glasgow when the Bhoys take on Livingston, and hopefully get some revenge — it might be a good idea to take a look during the break at some of the positive aspects football brings to the wider world.

The Celtic Star published an article last week about United Glasgow FC, a club founded in 2011 on the same principles as Celtic 132 years ago. While the landscape around immigration has changed between the formation of Celtic and the founding of UGFC, Celtic supporters and the Green Brigade have not forgotten the club’s roots during a recent appeal a few weeks ago which secured £15,466, according to The Celtic Star article, for two refugee-related charities: The Baobab Experience in Rome and Scottish Action for Refugees.

Creating opportunities, tackling exclusion

United Glasgow FC takes pride in creating opportunities while tackling exclusion, according to its website. In eight years, the club has grown to three competitive teams, and four community drop-in sessions each week, that help support more than 200 players, regardless of religions, ethnicities, socio-economic positions, sexual orientations, and immigration statuses. The video below explains the purposes and direction of the club.

A United Glasgow: A video about UGFC.

“The message being portrayed has clearly resonated as they are growing in popularity,” according to The Celtic Star article. “They have a website and nearly 9000 people follow them on Social media platforms such as Facebook, Twitter and Instagram they even have their own T-Shirts and other merchandise to help raise funds. Fundraising functions have already attracted hundreds of supporters.

“As such United Glasgow very much rely on volunteers and players from Glasgow and across the rest of the country and of course money is always a problem.”

As it is everywhere, of course, though if you are inclined to donate to this all-volunteer organization, you can do so here.

On a somewhat related note, FC St. Pauli has produced a video about their efforts in Italy around the same issue. Entitled “Kick the Borders,” it outlines efforts to assist immigrants in Sicily. Primarily in German and Italian, you really don’t need to be fluent in either language to see the impact that football has made on the lives of people coming to a new land.

Now, Bhoys in Green, let’s grab a victory on Saturday at Paradise (and, of course, the Boys in Brown on Friday have FC Erzgebirge away, and FC St. Pauli can use a win as well).