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celtic miscellany book
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The Celtic Miscellany by Andrew Smith; Vision sports Publishing; 150 pages (illustrated with line drawings throughout); £9.99

Did you know that Celtic’s 6-0 drubbing of Aberdeen at Pittodrie on 11th December 1999 is the only competitive game in Britain in which a team has had scorers of six different nationalities?

Or that Alan Thompson is the only player to have been red carded three times in Celtic v Rangers matches?

Or that Willy Maley’s Celtic went undefeated from 20th November 1915 until 14th April 1917, a sequence of 62 league games and a British record.

Open almost any page of this wee gem and you’ll find enough similar facts, figures and trivia to keep you interested and amused througout the dark winter nights as you while away the minutes in between Celtic games.

Written by an ex-editor of the Celtic View, it is definitely more fanzine in style than straightforward history, and although there are plenty of memorable games, player profiles and the like, the author has included a good number of off-beat and quirky subjects in keeping with its light-hearted tone.

There is a feature on some of the fashion monstrosities unleashed by the commercial department in the name of change kits, for example, a look at some of the repertoire of the jungle and a mention for Michael Fagan. You won’t see that name in too many official publications.

Having worked at the View with Fergus as a boss, Smith is able to recount from first hand some anecdotes about the bunnet and his less than publically acknowledges dry sense of humour. Apparently Fergus used to quote lines from popular culture, such as,“Principles, sir? Sorry, I can’t afford them.”
From George Bernard Shaw’s Pygmalion, McCann scoffingly recited this whenever it was suggested he occupied the moral high ground by not giving in to monetary demands.”

“And all the stars that never were, are parking cars and pumping gas.” The lyric from the Bacharach and David song Do You Know the Way to San Jose,which McCann offered as a retort to a press man who asked if he was worried about losing stars on pre-contract agreements.

“Do you believe that stuff the old man was saying the other night at the Oso Negro about gold changin’ a man’s soul so’s he ain’t the sort of man as he was before findin’ it?” A line from The Treasure of Sierre Madre McCann would recite when despairing at the greed of footballers and their agents.

If I had to offer one small criticism it would be that a lack of an index or a list of contents makes it a pain finding something again once you put the book down unless you mark the page in some way.

Still, that’s a small fault in what is otherwise another excellent stocking filler for Uncle Tim this Christmas. Better still, if you don’t want to pay the shop price you can get it cheaper online from visionssp.co.uk, or cheaper still through our website (www.ntvcelticfanzine.com).

MANFRED LURKER

For the curious, the scorers mentioned at the beginning of this review were Lambert, Mahe, Moravcik, Viduka, blinker and Ian Wright.