SATURDAY 26th MAY 2007; An early train from Dalgety Bay through to that beacon of Fife Cardenden. We're talking 8:30/9ish. Still half-jaked from the night before - lets just say the night before involved an array of drunken incidents involving several stellas, a shitload of shots and a pair of bowling shoes - I arrive at the 'Railway Tavern' possible the finest example of a top-quality establishment in the western world. Some of the troops are already there, the pints are being sunk and the pool shots are being missed. I do my usual for the first twenty minutes/half-an-hour or so and linger near the pool table - not playing mind you - whilst sinking my first couple of pints. They go down nicely and I feel myself starting to sober up somehow. Two or three pints later and that starts to gradually change mind you. It's the back of ten now, the pints are starting to flow and the killer's finally on the go on the pool table. The usual happens of course...my shot comes after the jammiest, luckiest bastard alive and I'm left with fuck all on…needless to say three shots later my name is wiped off the board and its back to my pint as the others all try their utmost to stop yet another Stevenson victory. Stevenson takes the pot. Time's bashing on the bus arrives at 11ish with every fucker still stuck in the queue at the shop across the road buying our cairry-oots. Suitably stocked - with an 8 pack of tennants and the customary bottle of buckie - we make our way onto the 24-seater bus and get the show on the road for Hampden. As soon as the driver hits the accelerator the sound of tins cracking open and songs starting up can be heard. We get the full repertoire; 'The FRL Anthem', 'We are the Pars', 'DA are the NO.1', 'Like a Virgin' - especially dedicated to an unluckier one or two members of the contingent who shall remain nameless - 'A-thle-tic', and of course 'Come on ye Pars' led by The Major, arms raised in V! We finally hit Glasgow amid a sea of black and white. The bus, almost to a man, is either pished or on the way to being pished. We've still got an hour or two before kick-off, plenty of time for a few more bevvys! A nearby Tescos comes to the rescue and we stock up on lager, vodka and some pishy cherry poofjuice. We fire round to a secluded area for a wee drink…I drink the cherry poofjuice. A few of us then make our way up to, what is now undoubtedly know as, the 'FRL tree' on the grassy verge just at the back of the North Stand. The boy Cammy spins on some tunes on his phone - bit of Roses/Oasis - and we destroy the rest of our bevvy, topping up our already pished bodies and preparing ourselves nicely for 10 or 15 trips to the pisher when inside the ground. We eventually stagger down to Hampden and make our way into the Pars second home. I go for a pish. The game starts and the Pars get stuck in to Strachan's side, more than matching them in every area of the park. Neither side comes close and the half-time whistle goes. I go for a pish. Ja Rule buys the last of his five pies for the day and arrives back late for kick-off. The Pars again get stuck in, start to create more and generally look the better side. Adam Hamill takes the piss out of Neil Lennon once to often for Strachan's liking and the ol' ginger is taken off in his last appearance in the green 'n' white hoops. The clock ticks down and extra-time looks a real possibility. I go for another pish. With extra-time now looking a formality Tims right-back Perrier-Doumbe manages, for the first time in his Celtic career, to do what so many Celtic heroes have in the past and score a late flukey as fuck goal. The final whistle blows and we've done it again, lost another final when a win looked on the cards. The Pars players are rightly applauded by the massive Pars support and we all leave, gutted but proud of the effort put in by the lads. A sombre bus journey home follows and we all arrive back in Cardenden, gutted and ready to fire straight back on the lash. Suffice to say we all end up as fucked as we've ever been. The Major did his best to paint the Tavern floor in a new shade of boak and a certain tubby member of our group got off with an even tubbier lassie. The less said about my antics the better! The night ends in the early hours of the morning and we all regress back to our own living quarters. Proud as fuck and pished as fuck. All in all a tremendous day!!
Now, I'm sure this Saturday's match at Partick will be nothing like that day in May - in fact our group of 24 looks to have dwindled down to 2 for this coming Saturday! - but I know for a fact that I, and every other Pars fan, wants that feeling again. Aye, it'll probably not happen again for a long time but look at last year; we were on an appalling run, couldn't buy a win and suddenly we find ourselves stepping out at Hampden against the league champions. Forget the pish that has come before us this season. We're picking up points and starting to play with a confidence now. Imagine how much confidence and motivation a packed away end this Saturday will inspire within the side. A large, vocal Pars support 110% behind the Pars can be as good for the team as any one player this week and help - if not put us on the road to the final etc - put us on the road to more big-stage matches like last year, more monumental days out and more legendary drunken stories for years to come. You saw what the cup run did for us last season, it kicked us on and almost made us avoid relegation after a late rally. The league looks out of our grasp now but who knows!? If we were to continue this run and boost our morale with another great cup run then whose to say we won't be in with at least at shout in the final weeks of the season.
I'll be there on Saturday, raking out my old student card and forking out my tenner to get in. The pressure's off and we might actually see the Pars play with a bit of freedom this Saturday, not uptight and constrained by the pressures of a piss-poor league campaign. If we win then we'll have another shot of confidence going into a crunch home match against St.Johnstone. If we lose…who gives a fuck, I'll still be getting pished anyway!! COME ON YE PARS!!!