Sport switch as South Yorks angling journalist Bob Roberts tries Old Firm dugouts

Bob Roberts in the dugout at Ibrox and, below, at Parkhead
Bob Roberts in the dugout at Ibrox and, below, at Parkhead
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I only usually write about angling page but this week I’d like to make an exception.

Last weekend I was in Scotland fishing for pike on Loch Ken. On Sunday afternoon, with an hour to kill, I mentioned to my hosts that I had never been to either of the two giant Glasgow football stadiums that are home to Rangers and Celtic.

Next thing we’re driving over the Clyde, destination Ibrox. Wow, from the outside it looks pretty magnificent but madness took over when we stood in front of the main entrance. “Do you reckon we might have a peek inside?” I asked.

Well the Scots have an old saying, ‘Shy bairns get no sweeties’. So I pushed open the glass doors and spent a few minutes chatting with a security guard. Now I was ever so polite and just a little bit cheeky when I told how incredible it would be to see inside the stadium.

He paused, thought about it and then thought a little bit more. “Hang on,” he said, and walked round to the front doors and locked them behind us. “Come with me!”

Before I could get my bearings we’re only walking out of the players’ tunnel! Here I am sat on the bench. Talk about a jaw dropper. Honestly I was pinching myself.

We duly thanked him and returned to our car. “You know what?” I said. “Let’s go to Parkhead and do the double!”

Twenty minutes later we park up outside Celtic’s ground and run through the same procedure, “I don’t suppose in a million years you might let us have a peep inside (getting out my phone), because look here, they let us in at Rangers. Surely Celtic would want to be outdone by the auld enemy...”

Blow me we were told to wait until the ladies’ boss returned. A bit of muttering went on and then she says, “Right, follow me! But don’t set foot on a blade of grass.”

And that was it. In the space of one hour on my first ever visit to Glasgow I emerged from the tunnels at both Celtic and Rangers, plus I got to sit in the dugouts. Can you believe that? I’m struggling to and genuinely still reeling from the shock.

What an afternoon.