Some of the Great Old Ones are on the pitch

This was previously published in Flotation Device, a charity anthology to help those struggling due to the effects of Covid-19. As a thank you to those who donated I present below a translation into Proper English by a noted academic of my story for those readers who may have struggled with the language.

Some of the Great Old Ones are on the pitch
Brian M. Milton


A Translation from the Demotic Scots into Proper English, with educational notes and improving embellishments

Octavious P. Thruntwobbler, Emeritus Professor of Made Up Languages, Cambridge


... and thanks for those points Tam. Next up we have a Mary to tell us about one of the wee games from last night. What's on your mind, Marydoll?

… and gracious thanks for those points of interest, Thomas. Next up on our wireless programme we have a young woman by the name of Mary who wishes to elucidate upon one of the less important Association Football matches undertaken in Scotland yestere’en. Pray do tell what is concerning you, young Miss Mary? 

Ho, big man, did ye see thon nonsense at Firhill last night, it wis fuckin terrible.

My dear radio announcer of some local import, did you, perchance, view the terrible situation that occurred at FirhillNote last night, it was quite atrocious, I can assure you.

Now Mary, I'm going to have to ask you to watch your language there. Our beep machine's out of action after the Old Firm match last month.

My dear young Mary, I am quite scandalised at your use of foul language and must request that you curb it so as not to disturb our listeners or jeopardise our licence. The modern technology that we would normally employ to ellide such uncouth phrases from our broadcast is temporary hors de combat due to the excessive use that was required of it during the previous week’s discussion of the last RangersNote versus CelticNote match.

Aye, they sure swear a f... lot.

I fully understand, those ruffians are well known for their poor use of language.

Thanks, Mary. Anyhoo, we don't often get a Partick fan on, so you'll have to fill us in on what happened.

Most kind of you, young Mary. Now, it is rare indeed that we receive a communication from a supporter of Partick Thistle and, as such, we lack the knowledge of what occurred. Would you be so kind as to inform us?

Youse dinnae know? God, sometimes things happen at ither clubs you know. You wonder whit has to happen fur youse to notice somethin that's no Rangers or Celtic. Anyhow, it wis aw going  well for the Jags until a nutter fae the Dundee end ran oan and starts chantin. He's doing all that jumpin around and screamin like they All Blacks at the rugby and it's aw a bit o a laugh and then suddenly he pints his fingers at the baw and it explodes.

You fine gentlemen are unaware? By the Almighty, your ignorance of occurrences at minor Scottish sporting events is tremendously upsetting. I find myself wondering what, indeed, would need to pass for you, a noted sports journalist, to pay attention to something happening beyond the purview of RangersNote and CelticNote.

That aside, the association football match was proceeding well for Partick ThistleNote until a person of unsound mental state issued forth from the section of the stadium reserved for the opposition supportersNote and began to chant. He was performing some form of ritualistic dance and song, not unlike the Haka that the All Blacks New Zealand Rugby Football team are known to perform before their matches. We were finding this most diverting and not a little amusing until this gentlemen points a digit at the soccer ball and it exploded. 

It explodes? Did you have too much on Byres Road before you went to the game?

It exploded? May I contend that you consumed an excess of alcoholic beverages in the hostelries of Byres Road before attending this sporting event?

No ah did no. Jist a couple in Tennants afore hand, they've got a belter of a Porter oan. But ah wis there and ah'll tell ye, it went jist like that, pop. Ah blame they stewards masel. They should huv been oan him as soon as he jumped up. But there he wis, in the middle and the baw goes pop. Then he jumps around a bit more and pulls oot this mental big knife and waves it in the air, dancin aroon like he's oan the X Factor or summit. Then, right there, he cuts his ain throat and faws doon deid. It put me right aff ma pie, ah tell ye.

How dare you insinuate such things! Naturally I had consumed a few beverages in the public house known as Tennants before attending, they currently have a most agreeable Porter on one of their many handpumps. But, I stress, I was in attendance and can say with utmost confidence that this is what occurred. The ball did explode in a manner similar to a soap bubble losing cohesion. I lay the blame for this mishap at the feet of the ground stewards. They are employed precisely to prevent supporters from making their way onto the pitch and they completely failed in this regard. That aside, this individual was now in the centre of the greensward and the football did pop like a balloon. Following this, the person then continued to perform their ritualistic dance, including producing a large blade and incorporating it into his movements. It reminded me of the girations seen on the sort of televisual talent show popular on non-BBC channels.

He then ended this heathen display by slicing at his own throat with the blade and collapsing upon the grass to bleed out and die. I was so disgusted I found myself unable to continue eating a traditional Scottish meat pie that I had purchased.

Well it would, wouldn't it. Do you know why he did it?

I can fully understand why such an occurrence would reduce your appetite. Do you have any information as to why this person did this?

Oh, ahm comin tae that bit. So he's deid oan the grass, like, and aw they numpties fae baith teams ur staunin aroond wi out a clue. Then there's this awmighty roar, like, ah dinna know, like if Godzilla and Nessie wis havin a fight in the Clyde, and the grass aw rips up aroon his boadie and aww these tentacles come oot.

I assure you, my good man, that I intend to explain why. To recap, the strange dancing man is lying flat on the grass, deceased and this has led to the members of both soccer teams acting in a most distraught and baffled manner. At this juncture there is a tremendous roar as if two mythical dinosaur-like creatures, GodzillaNote and NessieNote were to engage in battle in the River Clyde and then the turf is ripped apart around the deceased’s corpse and a number of large tentacles emerge.

Tentacles?

Tentacles?

Aye, tentacles. Like oan an octopus or summit. They're aw coming oot the grun and wavin aboot and they Jessies doon the Dundee end are aw wailing and their players are aw running about and goin mad. No the Jags, o'course, made o better stuff, they wis pushing fur the equaliser, but then a tentacle grabs wee Davie McClintock, oor winger and gies him such a dunt aff the grass his heid comes right aff. Ah mean, after the nutter done his throat ah hud tae put my pie doon but noo ah had the fair boke. A guy two over lost it totally, like, and spewed aw over a wee lad fae Drumchapel. It wis no a pretty sight.

Yes, tentacles. Exactly as one would find upon an octopus or similar cephalopod. They issued forth from the ground and gyrated in the air causing those of lesser moral fibre in the area dedicated to the travelling support to wail in terror while their players ran around, distraught and losing their minds. Due to their superior character the Partick Thistle team were not so affected and attempted to continue playing the match however a tentacle reached out and took hold of David McClintock, our Partick Thistle outside forward, and dashed him against the playing surface with sufficient force to rip his head clean from his body. Now, when the dancing individual had slit his own throat I had been forced to put down my Scotch pie but now I found myself quite unwell, with the gorge rising in my throat. A fellow supporter in the next but one seat lost control of his digestion and was unwell over a a young boy from the Drumchapel area in the North West of Glasgow. This was not a pleasant sight to look upon.

But, how did you get away? Did you think it was all over?

Do tell how you escaped from this? Did you consider that this was the end of everything?

Och, nae need fur that. You see, we've a wee section doon the front, beside that family section fur they Syrian refugees. Wan o theim is a right laugh in the pub after. He used tae work in one o their historical ruin places, cannae remember the name, and he's read a lot o auld books. Keeps tellin us daft stories oh Babylon and they Persians and that. They're aw like that 300 film but even more mental. So he suddenly jumps up fae his seat, walks on tae the pitch aw calm like and does his oan wee song and dance. He's a right wee mover an aw. He's twirling and swaying and singing in this really weird way, his voice aw wobblin back and forth. The weird hing wis that he wisnae loud, but we could aw hear him. Those mad tentacles aw waving ower his heid and him just dancin awa like he's at a ceilidh. Then, jist like that, they tentacles goes back in tae the grun. An that's it. Aw ower and the ref abandons the game, which was a shame as I'm sure even wi oot oor winger we'd huv got the next goal, and we aw go doon the boozer and buy wee Anas a celebratory ginger.

There was no need for that level of despair. It is important, at this juncture, to understand that Partick Thistle Association Football Club have a small section at the front, just beside the family section, that they have reserved for a group of Syrian refugees who Glasgow have been sheltering. One of these poor unfortunates is, nonetheless, a most welcome sight in the hostelry after the matches have concluded. This gentleman used to work in an archaeological ruin in Syria and is a most educated individual. He will often regale the post-match reveleers with tales of Babylon and Persia which remind me of the filmic entertainment entitled 300. (A most unfortunate lapse in our narrators knowledge of antiquity here) This gentleman gets up out of his seat, climbs onto the pitch in a calm manner and begins his own movements and chants. His motion is impressive, involving twirling, swaying and singing in an ululating pattern. A point of note was that he did not sing with any particular volume but yet the entire stadium could hear him. Despite the bedlam noise of screaming, terrified people and the roaring of the monstrous tentacles over  his head he was audible as he danced, not unlike an enthusiast at a traditional Scottish Country Dance. Then, most abruptly, the tentacles slid back into the ground and the incident was over. The referee proceeds to declare the match abandoned, an unfortunate decision as I feel certain that, despite the lack of a player, Partick Thistle were in a good position to win against a demoralised Dundee team and the home support decant to their normal post-match hostelries where we buy Anas, the Syrian academic, a light, non-alcoholic, beverage by way of celebration.

Well, Mary, that's quite the story. Are you alright after it?

Well Mary may I say that this is certainly a most diverting tale. Do you, yourself, feel healthy after this unpleasantness?

Och aye, but what ah want to know is, is the SFA going to make Dundee compensate us fur wee Davie McClintock. He wis dead good so he wis.

Of course, but what is uppermost in my mind at this moment is what are the the SFA intending to do to force Dundee Football Club to recompense Partick Thistle for the loss of David McClintock. He was a most effective player of association football. 

Well, who can say Mary the ways of the Scottish Football Association are not for us mere mortals to understand. And now to a more important question on Rangers new signing from Jim …

That is a most difficult question to answer as the Scottish Football AssociationNote is beyond the ken of mortal man to understand. And now to a more important question on RangersNote new player acquisition from Jim ...


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