Jimmy ‘Jinky’ Johnstone and the Lost World of Football

Players today don’t have names like Jimmy or Bobby or Nobby. And they don’t have nicknames like ‘Jinky’.

Football grounds today don’t have floodlights, so you can’t home in on them when you’re going to an away match, and devil-may-care youths with scarves tied round their wrists can’t climb up them when there’s a capacity crowd and flick the Vs down at coppers. And I haven’t got a GPS thingy, on principle.

Players today don’t wear goalie tops with quilted fronts and elbows. Not even the goalies, let alone wingers.

There’s no such thing as wingers.

Players today don’t take cheese and tomato sandwiches for their packed lunch. They’re force-fed pasta by the club dietician and muscle-building powder by the club doctor and positive-thinking motivational mantras by the club performance coach.

Players today don’t stand five foot two, and they don’t get their teeth kicked out in reserve matches because there’s no such thing as reserve matches.

“There they were, all six-footers wi’ Ambre Solaire suntans, Colgate smiles and slick-backed hair,” Jinky recalled Celtic’s victory over Inter in the 1967 European Cup Final. “And there’s us lot – midgets. Ah’ve got nae teeth, Bobby Lennox hasnae any, and old Ronnie Simpson’s got the full monty, nae teeth top an’ bottom. The Italians are staring doon at us an’ we’re grinnin’ back up at ‘em wi’ oor great gumsy grins. We must’ve looked like somethin’ oot o’ the circus.”

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