Off Kilter – Season 7 Episode 4: Euro 2004 Special | @PeterJonesPhoto

Peter left us on a bit of a cliffhanger last week so we’ve sprinted back to Alloa for the culmination of the season, including the main man leading Scotland to Euro 2004. Let’s sit back and enjoy.

Scrawled between the pristine lines of the third millenniums third decade are the recordings of this epoch’s generational conflict, as each proceeding peer group tries to write the wrongs of its parents troglodyte collective. Piqued at the immaturity, inexperience, and the propensity to rebellion against its forebears, the preceding generation, in a collective forgetfulness, imparts its own priggish moral high ground to resist the change they fought for themselves. Like the evolution of music, social mores cannot move backwards and cannot be absorbed into the previous generations conscious. The case in point being the trite maladaptive argument of “Music isn’t as good as it was in my day.” It is manufactured and immersed by the same age collective with a secret language that binds a particular social group for which outsides, elders, are not admitted. This can be witnessed every Friday night if you lose your direction and find yourself in the City of London and you’re trapped inside a dimly lit neon emblazed bar where middle aged bores all suited, gelled and waxed try to chat up the new graduate scheme recruits by shouting, laughing and displaying their fillings in a cacophony of verbal diarrhoea. Try as they might, try as they strain be relevant, there is no way to bridge the generational chasm between their lager swelled abdomens and their prey’s gravity repelling mammaries.

The other historical notes etched on those clean sheets where communication has descended to incoherent shrieking is the political spectrums militias that have descended into to cult like shrills. Consider they way cults paint its outsiders, its detractors, its enemies with childish labels. Remoaners, Brexiteers, Alloa, Snowflakes etc. Like all cults, its primary interest is its own, that is its survival and teaching of it’s triumphant values. The SFA’s oeuvre of that last decade to keep its Glasgow coterie intact and to repel any advancing invaders has started to eat itself from the inside like a maggot infested marrow. There will come a time when its duopoly collapses and the emperor will one day have to wear the gold and black of the mighty Athletic.

For the last two seasons, we have split the Glasgow factions by finishing 2nd on each occasion. With 6 games remaining, we have our best chance of breaking through the dark grey Alba clouds and peeking our beaks into the bright blue skies above.

On top of that, there’s the exciting Italian summer holidays of Euro 2004. Rod Stewart is in the recording studio as we speak. Can we keep him locked in there until Autumn? Ole Ola, we’re going to bring the world cup back from over tha’. As Theofilo once said, “What kind of a rhyme is that?”

Clearly, the preceding team talk worked. Although the length did mean our warmup was stunted to a quick 30 second stretch while the lads tied their laces. “Did you mean ‘breasts’?” one of the lads asks. At full time, Dougie Donnelly reports that Rangers also lost which means if we win our match in hand, we can almost guarantee 2nd and Champions League action for another year!

The SFA aren’t happy, so schedule our game in hand two days later. At least we’ll have the rest of the week off to…

…oh. And ‘Bloody Hell!!!!’ On the plane over, I decide to go all out and employ the 2-3-1-2-2 and to hell with caution. By half time, we’re 2-4 up and going through! We waste so many chances to put the game beyond doubt and inevitably we miss out on a final again.

Everyone is knackered so after a burst of fervid 1st half action, we put the cruise control on and see out the last 60 minutes against 10 men.

It’s a good job we did but Dougie delivers even better news. Celtic lost but are 3 goals better off.

An international friendly is welcome relief. Negotiations with April Glaspie fail but Kuwaits resistance is quite impressive as the following statistic shows.

Although this might be more to do with our impotent finishing.

And so, it transpires that if Rangers can’t win the title, then they’ll at least let their heathen brethren succeed.

We may as well keep the pressure on. On the national side, at least Martin is getting back into the groove of scoring.

But what’s this?? The Doug is our barer of good news again. Celtic drew and are only one goal ahead of us! We just need to win by a nice margin and we have every fighting chance. “Do you believe?” I ask the boys.

No.

Celtic beat Aberdeen 4-0 but we could have at least made some sort of effort.

Again, no.

Familiarity is the death of lust, I remind the SFA. “It’s the journey not the destination” they spark back. “Speaking of which, see you next week.”

And so, I pack my bags and head off to the national team base camp. We need to get the fitness back up and some confidence running through our studs. By that I mean our footwear. Not the beautiful godlike sculptured bodies shining in the dressing room light with sweat…good result, yes? We seem to be on the Saddam War holiday package. Dair scores on his International debut.

Dair gets his usual 4th minute goal. We’re on the clean sheet wagon. We just need to ensure our goalscoring ability it second to none and we should have a nice run. Hang on, my phone is ringing…

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First match, another warzone I need to teach the lads about. Gleenie is pushed up front and we are on the scoresheet with some cracking goals. Brennan is out for the rest of the show.

If you are keeping score, that’s 5 in 4 for Dair since his promotion from the U21 squad. He’s quickly onto the domestic shortlist.

If we could keep a clean sheet, we could go far.

Denmark are 2nd but guaranteed to qualify too. Cargill is also out now for the show.

Those 5 goals against is slightly worrying. And it’s the Albion derby next.

The score line doesn’t reflect the ferocity by which the updates are transmitted in epileptic frenzy. Ian Walker gets MotM in the English goal but Glennie carves one into the top corner.

Tommy gives us a helping hand after 2 minutes and we contain the 2nd half comeback. We’ve reached the final!!!

Here’s how we’re lining up. Only 4 Alloa regulars in the starting line up with 2 on the bench along with another 4 Alloa graduates. Martin is just about fit enough to make the bench.

And we do it! McLeod was pretty average in the last two matches and I was thinking of dropping him! He scrambled in a corner kick and we shut up shop in the 2nd half!

Hurrah!

The cult spits out its opinion.

All that remains are the end of year awards. Hardly surprising with 38 domestic and 8 internationals goals. The game tells me I can price him at £20.5m! Disappointingly he didn’t play much in the finals.

I take the award in good grace as is reflected in my speech. “But eventually, I got out of his headlock. And now, where are you, Sir Alex Ferguson. Working with some pygmies in Division Two? And where am I? Here accepting this Premier Division award for being a top manager. And now, we’ll move on to liars…”

Och aye for now!

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