One such occasion was at Hampden on Monday afternoon while I watched a ball sail nearly 50 yards through the air into the net. I surprised myself with my reaction.
It wasn’t despondency, as I expected to feel when watching Scotland go 2-0 down on their home turf in such a high-profile game. That did set in with time. But initially it was “wow”. What a privilege to witness such an audacious piece of skill.
With this confession I realise I must count my Tartan Army membership as cancelled. But why let partisanship get in the way of admiration for one of the truly great goals? And I count Patrik Schick’s effort for Czech Republic as one of them.
Goalkeeper David Marshall – who is already the subject of a number of internet memes – will have to bear the cross, but it didn’t do too much damage to Wimbledon keeper Neil Sullivan’s career when he was the fall guy for David Beckham’s famous lob – from all of 57 yards – in 1996.
I have been so fortunate to have seen many memorable goals as they happened. Zinedine Zidane’s volley into the same Hampden net at the Champions League final in 2002 is one. That was a work of art which I have managed to avoid seeing again since watching it with naked eye. The memory of it being scored in real time lends it an extra majesty in my mind.
Ryan Giggs’ solo effort for Manchester Utd against Arsenal in their FA Cup semi-final replay at Villa Park is another. Also Michael Owen’s equally fine solo effort in St Etienne for England against Argentina at the 1998 World Cup.
Then there’s then Dundee midfielder Morten Wieghorst’s outrageous curling strike against Hearts in a Coca-Cola Cup quarter final against Hearts in 1995. Schick’s is just the latest to add to the list.
His wonder strike meant the Scots had to score three times to secure the win that so many seemed to expect they would gain from their opening Group D game. It all but consigned my team, my country, to defeat. But part of me was glad that it happened. What a strike.