Since becoming involved with The New Saints FC, I’ve made a number of visits north of the English border. From four-day training camps at St Andrews University to competitive games in the Scottish Challenge Cup, it’s all been good.
We had the exclusive use of the Celtic ground on one occasion, ahead of a fixture against Livingston FC. It was great to be there and have a look around.
My Scottish team is Rangers though and the three behind-closed-doors friendlies that we’ve played at their training ground have all been special.
We were due to be at Rangers again this year, but I would imagine that’s unlikely now, due to the Coronavirus situation. With three consecutive visits prior to that however, there are still plenty of memories.
The lead image is from the game we played in 2019. While the players went through their pre-match routine on the pitch, I spotted the respective managers, Steven Gerrard and Scott Ruscoe in conversation, so I went across and took the photograph while they chatted.
As well as the football-related stuff though, I have also taken advantage of the trips to Scotland to do some sight-seeing. I definitely have a tourist gene, and especially when we are there for some time, I’ve taken every opportunity to feed it.
The video below is a short one from around the hotel area when we visited for the friendly game with Rangers. It’s nothing special, as such, to the outsider, but for me it’s all part of life’s memories.
I’ve really enjoyed my visits to Scotland and the only hostility – and even that wasn’t personal – that I’ve encountered was in St Andrews. I got talking to a man who asked about The New Saints.
When I told him that we were the champions of Wales, he went on a massive hate-rant against the English. He thought I was Welsh.
What made me smile though was when he went he said it was great talking to me and I was a nice bloke, not like those English (expletives). I still laugh at that now.