A weekend to remember….

And so a rare trip to Glasgow for me ended on Saturday with St Johnstone winning the coveted Scottish Cup for the first time in their 130 year history…Quite an achievement all round really!

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Football for those who like/love it has a rare ability to let you immerse yourself in it for minutes or hours, an ability to let you dream, to lead you to utter despair at times even.

For me football has allowed the down side of life to take a back seat at times over the past year, a time in my life where I needed distraction of some kind…some folk read books (as do I) in order to transport themselves to another place when the going gets hard…for me I had the added bonus of watching the two teams I follow both have great seasons and for that over the past months I have been very grateful.

Liverpool FC came first in my life, the mid to late 70’s they were everywhere when it came to their success, watching them winning the European Cup in those years were some of my earliest footballing memories, those of us of a certain age will remember that football was hardly ever on the television back then, with the exception of Cup Finals you had to rely on the radio and highlights on a Saturday night for your fix…and so getting to watch a Final where some of the most famous names in Football were on show tended to stick with this young lad anyway…Dalglish very quickly became a hero, others soon followed…

And so in the past year the exploits of Brendan Rodgers and the current Liverpool side have made us dream a little bit again that the good times are on the way back, qualifying for the Champions League was always the aim of the season, finishing second in the league and still being in the title race on the final day was just a little icing on the cake and all looks good for the seasons to come.

Saturday’s exploits however where closer to home…I was born in Perth but came slightly later to the St Johnstone cause…1981 to be precise…Saints played Rangers in the Scottish Cup…I suddenly realised I had a team on the doorstep rather than following the well worn path of supporting a ‘big’ club from the west coast…

1982-83 was my first season committed like a good one to the Saints cause…We won the old First Division that season, Muirton Park on the final day will always be in my memory as my Dad who supported Dunfermline Athletic had to sit there whilst the Saints beat his team to win the league and relegated the Pars in the process…on such foundations a lifetime of support are made!

So fast forward to Saturday 17th May 2014…

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Celtic Park, Glasgow the venue…In the dreams it was always meant to be Hampden…we need to correct those dreams next May!!!

As someone who suffers depressive episodes I have an inbuilt mechanism now for dealing with disappointment…I always assume the worst is going to happen and anything else is then albeit briefly a high!

Saturday afternoon in Glasgow was just a very numb experience for me, its hard to not believe when surrounded by 15,000 who do…but no matter how long the game went with it 1-0 at Half Time and still that way deep into the second half I would be lying now if I said I honestly believed Saints would win…mental is a word, especially given my mind condition, that seems inappropriate to use but for me the whole experience just felt ‘mental’…hard to understand or accept despite wanting to so badly.

The second goal in the 84th minute all but ended the game…still I couldn’t quite let go completely…but the high of those last few minutes and the realisation that the Cup was coming home to Perth seemed to overcome the negative feelings of the day…

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Its not that in reality I didn’t think they could win…of course they could…I just didn’t want to believe it because I didn’t want to slip into the hole that awaited if expectation didn’t match reality.

Its hard facing life that way, but its how I cope, if folk find it hard to work with then that is their problem and not mine…when you hit rock bottom some folk stop digging and look for a way back up, others look for dynamite to blast a bigger hole…its a disease…get over your prejudices…

So thank you St Johnstone and Liverpool for the distractions this past year…for those 90 minutes each game and the odd dream time around them you helped me cope, helped me live in a world that wasn’t out to get me…you helped me to have a focus on something other than thinking about the things that had gone wrong that I couldn’t understand or deal with…you made me forget!

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