John McGlynn, Old Firm, Solid Snake, Celtic - The Scotsman's Alternative Awards from season 2020/21
How do you categorise it? It's not a product. The English Premier League is a product. Sellable and lacking feeling.
It’s not a thing. It deserves a better description.
It’s a way of life.
Good or bad, its powers of captivation seep into your every pore. Whether it’s the capacity to excel in whataboutery or moments which leave you flabbergasted, you keep coming back for more.
This season, once again, even without fans in grounds, has delivered.
Rangers and St Johnstone deserve to win the normal awards but here are The Scotsman's alternative awards for 2020/21:
The award for… goal of the season
This isn't just the goal of the season, it's perhaps the moment of the season. Scottish football's ability to entertain in the most comical way possible.
On Thursday, March 18, Dumbarton confirmed the signing of goalkeeper Sam Ramsbottom.
On Saturday, March 20, Ramsbottom picked up a loose ball in the box against Forfar Athletic. He bounced it, put it down, measured up, then launched the ball up field. It travelled barely five yards, cannoning off team-mate Ryan McGeever's back.
Ramsbottom scurried after the ball as it headed towards his goal. The more desperate he got, the slower he moved, as if someone was pulling a rug from beneath him. The ball trundled into the back of the net.
The award for… best non-apology
George Galloway attended a Queen of the South match this season. Fans, unable to attend themselves, were unhappy he was able to do so.
The Doonhamers apologised to “our supporters who have been upset by his attendance at the match”.
The ‘sorry that you are offended but not sorry we did it’ apology.
It didn’t wash and they had to issue a second, fuller, apology.
The award for… best transformation of the season
There’s a moment in Jurassic Park when Ian Malcolm wipes the condensation from the windscreen in disbelief as watches the Tyrannosaurus Rex attack the other car. It seemed almost like a reality check to confirm what he was witnessing was in fact real.
This writer truly knows how Dr Malcolm felt this campaign.
Swap the condensation and windscreen for dust and laptop, and the Tyrannosaurus Rex for Raith Rovers and it’s almost the exact same situation.
John McGlynn’s Sexy Raith Rovers side were a joy to watch at times. When they were good – such as the 5-1 shellacking of Dunfermline Athletic – they belonged behind a watershed.
So much credit goes to John Hammond, sorry McGlynn, who instilled an identity in his side.
The award for… best attempt at shifting merchandise
ROONEY THE 32-MINUTE MAN screams the t-shirt St Johnstone are punting to fans.
Saints legend Shaun Rooney netted the winning goals in both the Betfred Cup and Scottish Cup finals. Saints claim the goals arrived in the 32nd minute. The one against Hibs was scored in the 31st minute.
ROONEY THE AROUND THE 32-MINUTE MAN probably doesn’t sell t-shirts mind.
The award for... failing to read a room
There can only be one winner. Step forward Neil Francis Lennon.
Celtic's trip to Dubai. It wasn’t a smart move and the club eventually apologised. Until Lennon marched that apology out the room and tossed it to the curb.
"The whole squad is negative... bar two players," he said, just simply stating facts.
"I think that is remarkable." Ah, Neil. Remarkable probably isn’t the word you were looking for.
It didn't help that one of the positive cases was the already injured Christopher Jullien.
If there is an award for s**tshow of the season….
The award for… egg on their face
Oh, hello Celtic. Fancy meeting you here.
“We’re not half of anything… [eye roll emoji] Not our problem. #OneClubSince1888,” read the Celtic statement which belonged more on a note being passed around a high school class than one being delivered from a football club.
It related to Rangers chairman Douglas Park referring to the Old Firm in a letter to Nicola Sturgeon.
A matter of days before, Celtic renewed their half of ‘The Old Firm’ and ‘Old Firm’ trademark. Awkward.
Just Howe could Celtic trump that, one might query.
The award for… cup shock
Nope. Can’t think of one.
The award for… best fan engagement
Supporters have had to do all they can to catch a glimpse of a live football game in person, including using a cherrypicker.
Ayr United fans were able to see some of their clash with Queen of the South and it provided one of those warm moments. The fan and player engagement.
Stephen Dobbie was stepping up for a penalty when an Ayr supporter suggested he had a “small bobbie”. Simple, funny but it wasn't effective.
Dobbie scored and celebrated with a fist-pump and smile to the fan.
If that didn’t warm the cockles, nothing will.
The award for… worst patter
It is not Scottish football if we don't celebrate the worst as well as the best. For this award it is a joint winner:
- Any jokes about Dundee's spam folder from November onwards
- Any mention of medicine and the taking of said medicine
Both have reached ‘Antti Niemi – he’s no finished, he’s only 28’ point of saturation already.
The award for... best Solid Snake impersonation
Metal Gear Solid – one of the greatest games of all time – was all about stealth. Solid Snake has nothing on Zander Clark.
Standing at 6ft2in, lumberjack beard, wearing gloves, head to toe in green. Anyone?
Rangers players certainly didn’t spot him as he made his way into the box in the Scottish Cup quarter-final.
Clark gets his head on a Liam Craig cross and Chris Kane finishes. The rest is history. St Johnstone would become double winners.
It bears repeating, St Johnstone. Double winners.
The award for.. simply making it through it
The real winners of the entire season have been the fans. Up and down the country we have had to watch games buffer and fail to load on laptops. We’ve had to squint really hard to make out the players. Sometimes we have not even been able to see the game because the camera is fascinated by a bald napper.
But we are just about there. We have just about survived.