The first kiss with the love of your life. Holding a newborn child in your arms. A roll and potato scone buffet during a wedding reception. All joyous, life-changing experiences, but none of them compare to the elation, the ecstasy, the knee-trembling giddiness that comes with the end of the international break.
Not that I’m counting, but today marks the start of 77 international-free days. That’s 1,848 hours without having to endure the Scotland national team failing to impose themselves on a game. 110,880 minutes without being subjected to Alex McLeish’s forlorn expression on the touchline as another pass goes astray.
In fairness, there are some positives to cling to during international breaks. For instance, it reminds you how much you love club football. There’s also the tingle that fans get at the start of Scotland games when they realise it’s less than 2 hours until they don’t have to be watching a Scotland game.
Of course, there are those who avoid all this pain and suffering by simply choosing to ignore the break. Alex McLeish, for instance, paid little attention to what the Scotland national team were up to. Indeed, his insistence that “We started bright” after the Kazakhstan game proved he hadn’t been watching it.
The manager of our national team will certainly be glad to see the back of this break, and there are plenty of Scotland fans who will be glad to see the back of him. Not everyone has been saying ‘McLeish out’ though. Some have instead been saying ‘McLeish must go’, ‘McLeish out now’ and ‘McLeish, get to f**k’.
After Kazakhstangate and San Marino (which was too dull to justify having ‘gate’ appended to it), fans have embraced the return of Premiership football like Andy and Red at the end of The Shawshank Redemption, but with added poignancy. For all our differences, supporters will come together and bask in the glory that is Scottish foo…oh, it’s Celtic v Rangers on Sunday.
Forget I said anything.
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