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Scottish football greats dish the dirt in Tales from the Dugout

Scottish football greats dish the dirt in Tales from the Dugout

It has never been a place for the faint-hearted.

So, as you might expect, Richard Gordon's new book Tales from the Dugout has plenty of industrial language.

When the action heats up on the pitch, emotions regularly boil over and grown men lose control. Minor tiffs become full-scale kerfuffles, normally Spock-like individuals are transformed into raging Hulks and pressure merely fans the flames.

In this light, and given some of the visceral, vitriol-spewing customers who have managed Scottish clubs in the past, you might anticipate plenty of good anecdotes in this latest work from Richard, who previously highlighted his beloved Aberdeen's European success in Glory in Gothenburg and his country's World Cup fortunes in Scotland 74.

And you certainly won't be disappointed.

Here are just a few of the best stories from some of the major protagonists.

Craig Brown

  (© snspix)
via STV via STV

"I had signed Joe Filippi from Celtic, the biggest fee I ever paid as Clyde manager [£5000], and we were playing against Ayr, one of his former clubs, and he whacked their winger.

"The referee was Davie Syme and I knew Joe was in trouble.

"He's a lovely big guy, a gentleman off the park but an animal on it, so I shouted over to him to be courteous to the referee, in the hope of leniency.

"So Davie asked his name and Joe, in the full knowledge that he had an unusual surname, said: "Joseph Filippi, Mr Syme, that's Filippi with two Ps.

"Without even looking up from writing in his notebook, Davie replied: "Mr Filippi with two Ps, for you it's off with two Fs."

Willie Miller

  (SNS Group)
via STV via STV

"We were playing a pre-season friendly against one of the Highland League clubs, and we had two or three games on that day, so we were short of a physio.

"Alex Ferguson decided that his assistant Archie Knox could be the physio for the day - it was just a friendly, nothing serious would happen....

"Just coming up to half time, I took a head knock, it didn't seem anything major, so I got up and got on with it. But very quickly, there was blood streaming down my face and into my eyes, and I had to call for the match to be stopped.

"So, across from the dugout ran the bold bagman, Archie, who, as it turned out, couldn't stand the sight of blood.

"He took one look at me and shouted, 'My God. Oh My God!' And he ran off the pitch again screaming.

"It doesn't quite live up to Archie's hard man reputation, does it? He was like a scared wee boy that day."

Gordon Strachan (after Celtic were thrashed by the unheralded Artmedia Bratislava).

  (SNS Group)
via STV via STV

"Oh, that was the worst, touch wood, and hopefully I'll never experience anything like that again, because the whole thing was a farce.

"Bobo Balde missed training because he had a gap in his contract, Chris Sutton smashed his cheekbone early on, Aiden McGeady missed one from under the bar....

"Everything you could possibly think of went wrong and it was a long night in the dugout.

"I mean, you end up thinking, 'What am I doing here?' Life was good - I was doing Match of the Day 2, I could go and play golf, it was lovely.

"But instead, I'm doing this and I must be mad, I must be absolutely bonkers.

"In fact, I'll have inscribed on my gravestone: 'At least this is better than Bratislava.'

Billy Dodds

  (©SNS Group)
via STV via STV

"We [Dundee United] had just signed the Spanish striker David Fernandez from Celtic and we put him on the bench for the game against Celtic.

"We got off to a terrible start, they were 2-0 up early on and [United manager] Gordon Chisholm was getting more and more frustrated in the dugout. We missed a good chance and he flipped.

"Before the game, I'd been slaughtering him because he had bought a new pair of shiny slip-on shoes and, as he lost the plot, he kicked out at a water bottle.

"He connected, but his new shoe came flying off and smashed David right in the face. Here's our new signing, he hasn't even kicked a ball for the club, and the manager's just split his chin open and leaving him needing stitches.

"David was really funny about it afterwards. He was asked by reporters what had happened and said, 'I'm really scared of my new manager. I hadn't even been on the pitch and he does this to me....just imagine what he'll do if I play badly for him.'"

Jim Leighton

  (SNS Group)
via STV via STV

"Our [Aberdeen] management duo, Craig Brown and Archie Knox could be quite an entertainment in the dugout with Archie likely to go off at any moment.

"We had been going through a pretty tough time, results hadn't been great and, on this particular afternoon, the team had been really struggling.

"Archie was getting more and more het-up and eventually he said, 'That's it, I'm making a sub, I'm making a f***ing sub.'

"He called over the kitman, Jim Warrender, who started to get the board ready, and Jim asked which number was coming off.

"Archie said, 'Any f***ing one you want. I don't care, it's up to you, just get one of them off.'

Tales from the Dugout by Richard Gordon is published by Black and White, priced £9.99.

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