The Season Book Years – 2013/14
Continuing the season book years series, remember that the one rule I set myself here was that I could only pick a game that was on the season book that I actually went to. As such, they’re all home league games. I might mention other games from that season to put it into the context of the season, but the main focus will be on that one home league game. So, with that in mind…
Celtic 1-0 Partick Thistle, 1st January 2014.
Of the thirteen blogs I’m doing here, this one is probably the worst game of the lot. Which is saying something when you consider we haven’t won all of the previous games!
The Champions League campaign was over and it had been a disaster. A solitary three points thanks to a win at home against Ajax set a new low for us in the group stages – beating the previous low of five points but not quite touching the Scottish record low of just two points. The final game in the group, a 6-1 drubbing by arguably the poorest Barcelona team we had faced in the last ten years – which isn’t really an insult given how good those other teams had been – was probably the most depressing point though. It was so bad that I was in the Admiral drinking my body weight in Vodka and it was having no effect whatsoever!
I did cheer the “one” in “six-one” in ridiculous over-the-top fashion though. And the company was good. If you’re going to lose badly, do it with friends. It still sucks, but it helps.
Domestically, though, Celtic couldn’t be touched. Unlike the previous season, none of the teams in the newly christened SPFL Premiership had been able to keep up with us despite those Champions League nights. Lack of consistency once again punished the teams behind Celtic, and coupled with us being undefeated in the league it was already looking all over by the festive period. Add to that the fact Celtic were also in the League Cup semi final and the Scottish Cup fifth round and things were as good as they could get on paper.
But it wasn’t exactly the most exciting football.
After a year out, the Glasgow derby had returned as a New Year fixture as newly promoted Partick Thistle visited Celtic Park. But it was hardly a classic New Year derby. Freezing cold as it invariably is in January, I was practically bored in the stands. Joe Ledley’s solitary goal in the first half was about the only thing worth getting out of your seat to cheer. Even reading the match reports of that day you’d be hard pressed to find any more interesting details to picture, other than a late clearance off the line by Adam Matthews.
The fact this was our third 1-0 win in a row said it all for the excitement being served up at the time. This game actually went on to become part of a new league record for time without conceding a goal, which Fraser Forster proudly holds to this day. That run eventually came to an end in the only defeat Celtic suffered in the league all season: a 2-1, down to ten men, loss at Pittodrie.
Little did I know what was happening back home.
My heavily pregnant wife had decided not to go to the game that day. She was already on maternity leave by this point, and with our baby due just a few days later she was quite happy to stay in the warm house and put her feet up. It was all quiet, and as this was our first child there were no issues with me going to the game myself and leaving her to chill out. Besides, I was making New Year dinner when I got home!
What she hadn’t told me was that, not long before I’d left, she’d started to feel contractions in the shower… but had written them off as Braxton-Hicks. Of course, they were still going by the time I got home from the game!
That still wasn’t enough for her to think much of it though! She was managing them fine, they weren’t that regular, and so they were still being written off as nothing to worry about. No one gives birth early when it’s their first, do they? So, as such, I went and made dinner and we enjoyed that in front of the television because we’re sad that way.
And by sad I mean comfy. I’d claim this was because she was pregnant, but to be honest we sit in front of the television eating our dinner a lot!
Those contractions started to get more regular and intense though, until it became clear this was no practice session. By the time midnight had come we were timing them to the tipping point of heading to the hospital. Just to wind us up, those contractions all but stopped in the car and there was some question as to whether or not we were just going to have to turn around and go home again. But fortunately as we sat in the hospital’s TV room – amusingly (to me at least) Alien was on Channel 4 that night – they revved up again and we were admitted.
By the following morning my son had arrived and life was never the same again. Not really what I had envisaged for the rest of the day when I’d been bored and freezing while watching us narrowly beat Partick Thistle in the Glasgow derby!