'A thousand martyrs were being persecuted. Their howls of anguish mingled in one enormous snarl of lamentation that fluttered even the hardened sparrows on roofs around and made the women shoppers in the adjacent main street pause a smiling moment in their gossip. Drumsagart Thistle Junior Football Club was again being defeated at home, for the ninth time in succession; and its devotees were on the rack.'
I wrote to Robin Jenkins in 2004, just a few months before his death, to ask about his inspiration for the novel and he kindly responded in an old man's spidery handwriting:
'I can still remember as a boy of 12 or so being lifted over the turnstile by some obliging man. This was at Somerville Park, home of Cambuslang Rangers. I remember too the joy of winning over the anguish of defeat. There was magic then, both on and off the park.'
Pictured above is the (now very rare) first edition, but it is still in print. If you haven't read the book yet, I strongly recommend it. And don't just take my word for it: click here to read this appraisal by David McVey of its worth.