I woke the morning after the win in Madrid feeling really pleased with myself and decided to go down for an early breakfast. Tam was flat out on the adjacent bed and never moved as I shaved, showered and got dressed.
Quietly, I opened the door and just as carefully closed it behind me too, then made my way along the corridor to the lifts. Suddenly, a door opened right in front of me and two cases were pushed out, to be followed by Jimmy Johnstone and his wife Agnes.
Agnes had missed the final in Lisbon as she was giving birth to one of her daughters but she had come over the previous day to see the match against Real Madrid and I remembered that she and Jimmy were going to leave for a short holiday that morning. So, I was ideally placed in the corridor to help them down with the cases and take them over to the door, where the concierge called a taxi.
I helped put the cases in the boot of the taxi, gave Agnes a kiss and wished her all the best for the holiday, then gave Jinky a cuddle before he got into the back seat alongside Agnes.
“Have a good holiday yourself, Cairney” he said “and I’ll see you at pre-season training”.
“Thanks, wee man” I replied “have a great trip”.
And with that, he turned to the driver, who had his hand on the gear lever and was obviously a-waiting instructions and said “Benidorm!” The look on that man’s face has stayed with me to this day. He was obviously expecting to receive a command like “the airport” or “the railway station” not a place some 250 miles away form where his car was sitting!
Anyway, there was a sort of stand-off for a minute or two, where nobody moved and nobody said anything, then the concierge, recognising that there was a problem, came back out of the hotel and sorted the matter out. I think Jimmy had to make some sort of payment up front before the driver would continue. It was a wonderfully idiosyncratic conclusion to what had been a memorable season……and I thoroughly enjoyed it!