Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Stag Saturday

Hampden panorama
Yes, County lost, but it was a fun weekend nonetheless.

I joined the exodus from north to south in Scotland, on a train that gradually filled up with tangerine-clad people along the way. People from Dundee can be scary, but this lot seemed friendly enough. The general atmosphere of the day was actually very "family" with the County fans made up of seemingly most of the Highlands, be they young, medium, or old. I'm medium, although not medium enough to put a bet on 3-0. Anyway, the atmosphere in Glasgow was fairly relaxed, with the police and security very hands-off; this led to a happy day with plenty of banter (well, as much as you can have with a Dundonian: keep it lowbrow) and mixing of the fans. Any number of County fans, United fans, or locals mentioned how refreshing the lack of an Old Firm presence was.

As an aside, I came to the conclusion that bright orange is not the most sensible choice for a shirt colour: firstly, it is not possible to wear that hue and remain dignified, and secondly if you lose there is not the option of slinking off unnoticed.

The match itself was disappointing. County lacked any real cutting edge and appeared a little overcome by the occasion. This was hardly a surprise and Dundee United were very well organised, stuck to their plan, and in the end won pretty easily. County had a couple of promising 5-minute spells but, to be honest, that was it. The Staggies' fans must take enormous credit though, never expressing too much frustration with the team (who were really trying) and cheering right to the end. The split of fans looked to be about 60:40 in United's favour, but what an effort in terms of people, support, and noise from the Highlands. For most people outside of the Old Firm, seeing your team in the Scottish Cup Final is a once or twice in-a-lifetime event if you are lucky. And I've seen County play in a Hampden final. Magnificent.

A very pleasant weekend was topped off with a couple of wanders around Glasgow city centre (which I grow increasingly fond of) and a delightful bout of dinner and drinks with the Varwells. Summer seemed to finally arrive this weekend, and a couple of whiskies in a warm and sunny Glasgow certainly left me with a warm and sunny feeling.

Some pictures are here, and below is a (pretty rubbish) video that I shot on my phone just prior to kick-off.

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