CARD REMINDS ME OF SCHOOL DAZE
CUP FINAL COUNTDOWN: 2 DAYS TO GO
Kennydeuchar'S Cup Final Diary
THE postman didn't so much whistle as let out a sigh of relief when he arrived at Raydale Park yesterday.
He handed me quite possibly the biggest good-luck card I've ever seen and, in the process, delivered a trip down Memory Lane.
The card came up to my waist and held the good luck messages from every child and teacher at my former primary school, Nethermains, in Denny.
It was put together and designed by two pupils, Callum Smith and Jack Hamilton, and although my mum had tipped me off about its arrival, it was still a great reminder of the place.
At any time, as many as 150 kids were playing up to five games across the red ash pitch in Nethermains, with the balls a blur in the middle of the melee.
Honestly, it made that game they filmed for the Carling advert in the streets of Glasgow look as organised as Brazil against Italy from the 1970 World Cup Final.
If I think back hard I can still remember David Graham, now my team-mate at Gretna, darting out with the ball at his feet. David was three years below me but he couldn't half hold his own.
If any cynic suggests I was the type who hung about the back post looking for easy tap-ins I'll simply remind you I didn't become a striker until I was 18.
Back then I was a free-scoring midfielder, still fairly small in size, and it was a real honour to get more than half a dozen touches in those games we played come rain, hail or shine.
I remember when a dozen of us claimed not to have heard the bell and were still playing 30 minutes after the rest of the school had returned to class.
Ateacher came out to haul us back to the classroom, but they could never get too upset as we collected battlescars my knees and shins still display to this day.The biggest hero at school was Mr Shirlaw, who worked tirelessly to organise the school team.
My primary seven team was the last he ever took before he retired and, sadly, he died soon after when he should have been putting his feet up.
Mr Shirlaw was a Hibs fan and I wonder if he'll be cheering me from up above on Saturday afternoon as I prepare to run out against his great rivals.
It's a nice thought and one to compare with the gesture from the school. I hope I return before the summer, hopefully with the Scottish Cup in my arms.
I certainly had my hands full on Tuesday night fielding texts from friends after the first half of the documentary on Gretna was shown on BBC 2.
I watched it with my mate and it was a terrific hour of entertainment. Most people know the club are very community minded, but the programme gave a real insight to the hard work that goes on at all levels behind the scenes.
Speaking of hard work, I've got to give a huge thanks to my colleagues, particularly Dr Gill Guthrie, for swapping shifts at Wishaw General to make my preparation for Saturday go as smooth as possible.
I popped into the hospital yesterday to clear some paperwork before the Final and the help of people such as Gill has made the run-up to the big game so much easier.
The excitement is definitely building as we step up work on our game plan and tactics for the game against the Jambos at the National Stadium.
Mind you, I'm back at work on Monday so if we win the Final I'll have to be careful with the celebrations.
In saying that, I'm not due to report to the hospital until the afternoon - a long lie might just do the trick.
Taken from the Daily Record