Jason Cummings, stripped down to his pants with something daft tied around his head, attempting to engage another human being in a wrestling match is... something which probably occurs most days. However, we didn’t quite expect it to happen at Hibs’ East Mains training base, and in the cafeteria no less.
Professional wrestler Grado was a good sport for letting the Hibs striker pin him for an (undeniably fast) three-count. Although, seeing as there’s that split-second where Cummings, with Grado fully upside down in the piledriver position, considers dropping the Ayrshire grappler on his neck, he was probably just glad to escape with his career in tact.
The only downside to this (aside from Cummings’ choice of name - “Cumdog” - don’t Google it) was the player’s eventual exit to Nottingham Forest in the summer. While we wish him all the best down south, Scottish football is a better place for Cummings’ unpredictability on and off the park.
9. Hearts forget to order seats
Until the recent, and incredible, 4-0 thrashing of Celtic at Tynecastle, 2017 was like a trip back to the Romanov years without the rambling statements, interference from the stands and mental January transfer windows. Oh wait, no, it was exactly like the Romanov years. Anyway, this was achieved in large part to the hiring and firing of Ian Cathro (more on him shortly) but the club did their best off the park to add to the hilarity.
When constructing a new stand, seats should rank very high on the list of priorities. And yet, someone at Hearts forgot to order them. Just four days into August, three days after they’d dispensed with manager, the club hierarchy had to tell supporters that the opening of the stand would be delayed for that very reason.
Of course, this isn’t the only time the stand has made headlines this year. There was the further delays, the week-long wait to find out whether it could finally open, and the assorted power shortages, floodlight failures and fire-alarms which have occurred since.
8. Derek McInnes saying no to Rangers (and the “concomitant” statement)
This was almost a “where were you?” moment. It seemed almost inconceivable that McInnes would not join Rangers. He was a ex-Rangers player, boyhood supporter and, having just suffered two defeats in successive games to the Ibrox side, he’d been given a frank reminder of just how difficult it would be to burst through the glass ceiling with Aberdeen. Even the Dons fans had accepted he’d be going. And then he wasn’t.
Having chased the most obvious candidate for six weeks, only to be turned down, it was a major red face for the Rangers board - or it would have been if they weren’t in permanent beetroot-mode due to the nature of The Banter Years.
To make matters worse, they soon sent out a very ungracious statement when they basically stuck their tongue out at McInnes as said in a mocking tone “didn’t fancy you anyway”. It also included the word “concomitant”, which preceded the biggest mass Googling of an archaic term that Govan will ever see.
7. Cathro’s interview against Raith (and the rest of his tenure)
This was the moment Hearts fans should have understood, to a person, that Cathro was not the right man for the job. Despite numerous new signings featuring against a Raith Rovers side that hadn’t won in months, Hearts still failed to secure victory, and then the manager appeared on live television and bumbled the easiest question he could have been asked.
“How difficult was that to take?”
“Very!” should have been his quick response.
Instead it was: “Oh it’s ok. I mean... it’s the situation which was... eh... how’s it difficult? What’s difficult?”
Unfortunately for the Jambos, this was only the tip of the iceberg. The lack of results on the park was not helped by the lack of clarity from the manager off it. Things culminated in a 2-2 home draw with Dunfermline which saw the club eliminated from the League Cup despite being the only top flight outfit in their group. At the beginning of the very next week Cathro was sacked.
6. Graeme Murty headstand
Managers have known for letting their emotions get the better of them on the sidelines, and yet Murty managed to do something which, in Scottish football terms at least, was completely unique. He fell backwards and, impressively so, maneuvered himself into a headstand before springing to his feet again. This was only for a late equaliser against Dundee as well. Quite how he managed to avoid similar gymnastics when Clint Hill equalised in the dying minutes at Celtic Park a few weeks later is anyone’s guess.
5. Inverness Caledonian Thistle like a tweet from a porn account
This isn’t as bizarre as it sounds in 2017. Club employees with access to Twitter will often use smartphones to tweet from the club account. Through their phone, they’ll also have another account in their name. They’ll also like porn. Without the need to draw you a picture you can see how things can go awry.
However, what made this an absolutely brilliant moment from 2017 was ICT’s reaction to it. Instead of laughing it off or saying they’ll reprimand the employee in question, they decided to release a statement. In it they adopted a very stern tone and said they’d be getting the police involved. Before this happened it was the type of story where a journalist can sit and ponder whether it counts as news and is therefore worth the time. Inverness cut through all of that by giving it legitimacy.
Who would have thought a player getting into a fight with his coach after being substituted in a 3-0 victory wouldn’t be the craziest moment of Inverness Caley Thistle’s year?
4. Wato Kuate’s on-pitch meltdown in the play-off final
Like a shooting star, the Cameroonian passed through Scottish football so quickly but left an indelible impression on all those who were fortunate to witness his greatest moment.
Of course, some, including the man himself, would claim his greatest moment occurred three games prior where he rocketed in a 25-yard bullet to help Dundee United defeat Greenock Morton in the play-off semi-final. But we know his true legacy.
Having already suffered through a shaky 55 minutes in the first leg of the play-off final against Hamilton, a match so incredibly important to the club’s present and future, Kuate jumped for a header in the middle of the park despite already receiving a shout from team-mate Mark Durnan. As Kuate’s attempt skimmed off his head and almost enabled David Templeton to score for Accies, Durnan wasn’t best pleased, and he gave Wato a clip round the ear. The ex-Manchester City starlet, not familiar with old fashioned Scottish corporal punishment, was absolutely livid. He stared down Durnan while Dundee United were trying to set up to defend a corner, and had to be talked down by team-mates.
Immediately substituted, he then walked straight off the park and sarcastically applauded the fans who, for some reason, had a problem with his attitude. A meltdown of epic proportions.
3. Pedro Caixinha in the shrub after Rangers lost to Progres Niederkorn
As if Rangers losing to the fourth best team in Luxembourg didn’t produce enough mirth and schadenfreude around Scottish football, the architect of it all then decided to pour some petrol on the fire.
The best thing for Pedro Caixinha to do after the humiliating Europa League first qualifying round exit would have been to get back on the bus, go to the airport, go home, and do it all as quietly as possible, all the while thinking about how he’s going to salvage his Rangers career.
After he left, the club’s board admitted that Caixinha was often briefed before making public appearances and regularly went off script. Presumably the instruction this time was, “Pedro, don’t climb into that shrub to shout at angry supporters”.
If Rangers: The Banter Years becomes a best-selling book - and it really, really should - then this must appear as its front cover.
2. Mark McGhee’s “get that tae f***”
Wato’s going to be raging when he finds out his meltdown wasn’t even the greatest of 2017.
There’s already been so much said of this so it would be a waste of your time to cover it further. All we can say is Mark McGhee + Pittodrie + one-sided defeat + camera phone = the most iconic Scottish football meme of the past decade.
McGhee’s “get that tae f***” face has truly been immortalised by social media.
1. Rod Stewart’s Scottish Cup draw
It was a close run thing between the top two, it has to be said. They are both funny, memorable and will have a lasting legacy in social media circles north of the border. However, in the end, it’s good ol’ Rod who comes out on top.
The term interloper doesn’t do his appearance for the fourth round Scottish Cup draw justice. Usually these things are dull, stuffy affairs, where men in stiff-fitting suits awkwardly read numbers off a ball. So fair play to Rod for turning up, adding a bit of colour and vibrancy to proceedings with his leopard-print scarf, his unusual technique for plucking the balls out, and the enthusiastic manner in which he read them out. And oh yeah, for being completely and utterly [redacted] while doing so.
For decades to come, Scottish Cup draws, or any draw for that matter, will always provide us with an excuse to say “remember the time Rod Stewart did the Scottish Cup?”
It was a great moment from a truly bizarre and hilarious year. Let’s hope 2018 offers only more of the same.