AS HOOPS legend Paul McStay once said: “Celtic Football Club is the fans, without them there is no club.”
And one supporters’ club which continues to embody the sentiments of McStay is the Hawick Shamrock, whose annual dinner last Friday night saw the town hall brimming with trademark passion for, and unstinting loyalty to, the Glasgow giants.
A well established and not-to-be-missed fixture on the social calendar of Cetic fans in Hawick and around the Borders, the dinner kicked off with a mouth-watering meal by Brydon’s Bakery Restaurant.
Club president Martin Chandler was in great form and paid warm tribute to supporters for attending in such large numbers, before introducing special guest Tosh McKinlay, the hugely popular former Celtic full-back, whose side-splitting repertoire of football-related gags went down a storm.
Tosh, who notched 108 appearances at Parkhead from 1994-1999, admitted to more than a few nerves before addressing diners, but they certainly didn’t show during a perfectly-honed stint at the mic, and among those who were the butt of his hilarious jokes were Archie Knox, his manager at Dundee, with whom he had a fractious relationship; and Terry Hurlock, the ex-Rangers star, with whom Tosh had clashed with on the pitch.
Tosh’s banter was brilliant, but he also had some heart-felt words to share over his move to Celtic, the club he had supported all his life. “It was all my birthdays and Christmases wrapped into one when I was asked to sign by Tommy Burns for the famous Glasgow Celtic,” he said. “But my biggest regret in football is not winning the championship under Tommy. Especially during the 1995-96 season, when we only lost one game but didn’t win the league. But when I look back on my time at Celtic I was very fortunate to have played with a lot of great players.”
As always, the £5 raffle attracted a bumper entry, and Hawick United footballer Kevin Strathdee scooped the top prize of a signed Jimmy Johnstone shirt.
Entertainment was provided by the Irish Rovers with a rousing mix of Irish anthems and ballads, while diners were kept well watered by Hawick YM.
President Martin concluded: “I thought the night went brilliantly and I’ve had great feedback from supporters who were there. I also thought our guest speaker Tosh Mckinlay was different class.”
AN APPEAL has been made by Nicola Borthwick, who lost her purple Samsung camera at last Friday’s dinner. She has offered a reward for its return, and can be contacted on 07522 610786.