Much of life has become very unusual in the past two years but Scottish football still managed to produce plenty of unpredictable and bizarre events in 2021.
From headless managers to the Taliban having their say on Celtic’s recruitment plans, here are 10 weird and wonderful stories from the past 12 months.
An unlikely analyst
𝑻𝒉𝒆 𝑯𝒊𝒃𝒆𝒆 𝑩𝒖𝒛𝒛: Livingston preview! 🐝— Hibernian Football Club (@HibernianFC) August 27, 2021
For some reason that never quite became clear, Ruud Gullit appeared in Hibernian’s in-house preview show talking about “my first Hibs game” as he looked back on their recent 2-2 draw with Dundee. Speaking from a golf course, the former AC Milan and Holland midfielder described Jamie Murphy’s successful attempt to earn a penalty as “very clever, almost Italian”, and also gave his opinion on a set-piece goal from Ryan Porteous. “I think they studied this on the training ground because that was an excellent goal,” he said.
Too much information for online viewers
A contractor used by the club on summarising / co-commentary duties overstepped the mark this evening with a very poor attempt at humour. The club didn’t find this funny, and the person will not be used again. Our apologies for this.— Hamilton Accies FC (@acciesfc) February 3, 2021
Some clubs had to quickly turn to streaming matches from scratch after the pandemic hit and there were some, mostly technical, challenges along the way. Hamilton had a more unusual situation to deal with after co-commentator Bobby Bulloch told viewers he had been “away for a jobby” – a Scottish slang term for a poo – before adding some extra details of his trip to the toilet, after returning late for the second half of their game against Ross County. Accies acted swiftly after full-time by stating their co-commentator had “overstepped the mark with a very poor attempt at humour”. The statement added: “The club didn’t find this funny, and the person will not be used again.”
Manager sacked after abandoned game
The club can confirm that Tommy Wright has been relieved of his duties.— Kilmarnock FC (@KilmarnockFC) December 18, 2021
The Kilmarnock board were clearly poised to pull the trigger if Tommy Wright did not get his side back to winning ways after a hat-trick of cinch Championship defeats. They barely hesitated after their match against Dunfermline was abandoned with the score at 1-1 amid heavy fog just after the hour mark. The club announced Wright had been sacked inside an hour of the premature full-time whistle.
Player sent off after being assaulted by fan
The club is bitterly disappointed it has not been given a right to appeal after Funso Ojo was mistakenly sent off at the Dundee United game last Saturday.— Aberdeen FC (@AberdeenFC) November 26, 2021
Aberdeen midfielder Funso Ojo was pushed in the chest by a Dundee United fan – who later admitted assault – after his momentum took him towards the home fans at Tannadice. A bemused Ojo was then shown a second yellow card by Bobby Madden following an erroneous observation by one of the referee’s assistants. Under FIFA rules there was no recourse for the yellow card to be rescinded and Ojo had to serve a one-match ban. To make matters worse, the Dons lost 1-0 and Ojo was charged in connection with an alleged assault following a separate incident with a fan after the game.
A debut to forget
Dumbarton's Ryan McGeever was the unfortunate scorer of an own goal that gave Forfar Athletic a 1-0 win in in Saturday's Scottish League One match🤦♂️ pic.twitter.com/KFimFQAKmU— BBC Sport Scotland (@BBCSportScot) March 23, 2021
Ryan McGeever was the scorer of an unfortunate own goal that handed Forfar a 1-0 victory over Dumbarton but it was a personal nightmare for goalkeeper Sam Ramsbottom, who was making his debut. Ramsbottom tried to clear the ball as he was being pressed and only succeeded in hitting it off McGeever and unsuccessfully chasing it towards his own goal.
Jim Goodwin was known to lose the head once or twice as a player and the mild-mannered manager inadvertently did so again while previewing St Mirren’s Scottish Cup tie with Hamilton. The Zoom media conference has been another feature of the pandemic and the need to get the Scottish Cup logos as a backdrop produced an unusual technical consequence as, unbeknown to the Irishman, an apparently headless Goodwin chatted away to journalists.
A wild horse emerges as a managerial contender
A few Aberdeen fans have created a fake Wikipedia profile under their friend's name – Ross Nicholson – and managed to get him sitting at 10/1 on SkyBet for next manager odds 😂 pic.twitter.com/mFL33bqp1k— Andrew Maclean (@AndrewMaclean_) March 9, 2021
Aberdeen fans were perplexed when a leading bookmaker listed Ross Nicholson as a 10/1 shot to replace Derek McInnes. Dons fan Nicholson’s friends had somehow propelled his name into the running with the help of a fictional Wikipedia page which listed his current club as Diznei Exzest. Nicholson was tied with Gothenburg Great Alex McLeish in the running at one stage.
Taliban underwhelmed by Celtic manager favourite
Emmy Award-winning film-maker Jamie Doran got some unexpected small talk from Taliban guards while shooting a documentary in Afghanistan. Noticing his Celtic top, they described then skipper Scott Brown as a “very strong leader” and gave their opinion on the club’s search for a new manager. “They’d heard of Eddie Howe but wondered why we weren’t going for someone more famous. I wasn’t about to disagree with them,” Doran told belfastmedia.com.
Brechin unveil Mel Gibson statue
This coming Sunday (5th September) the Club are delighted to host the unveiling of the Braveheart statue which has found a new home at Glebe Park. The unveiling will commence at 2pm with the public invited to attend free of charge.— Brechin City FC (@BrechinCityFC) August 30, 2021
The Highland League club decided to use their ground as the platform for local sculptor Tommy Church’s depiction of Mel Gibson as William Wallace in the 1995 film Braveheart. The club said: “When Tommy came up with the idea, we were delighted to accept his offer which will not only be appreciated by our own supporters but also visiting supporters to the ground.” Suddenly the famous Glebe Park hedge was not the only Brechin City landmark.
League match continues without assistant referee
Madness at The Reigart Stadium.— Albion Rovers FC (@albionrovers) July 31, 2021
The second half of Albion Rovers’ League Two clash with Edinburgh City was held up for half an hour after the referee withdrew through injury. With no stand-in official present, Rovers player Max Wright was handed a flag, leaving visiting boss Gary Naysmith “raging”, according to the home side’s Twitter account. The following update from Rovers was “no-one has a clue what’s happening” but both teams eventually agreed to continue playing with only one assistant referee.
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