John Gibson: A ghostly parade from the troops

The Rifles in city
The Rifles in city
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I’m not a militarist, believe me. I’ve brandished a Bren gun, yes. But that was for show, overseas at RAF Dyce, where nobody could see me.

My posture gave me away and the troops trundling – marching, don’t be cheeky – down the Canongate last weekend doubtless would have noticed me on the kerb. They were the 3rd battalion The Rifles and they’d be glad to see me swell the crowd. Sparse at ten in the morning, I must say.

They’re based at Redford since 2003, and they were back hot from six months in Afghanistan.

This was their homecoming parade and they deserved it after tangling with the pesky Taliban. The first English battalion to be granted the freedom of Edinburgh, it must be stressed.

What took the shine off it was there was no clatter on the Canongate cobbles (what’s left of them). They were marching in their desert boots. Tackety boots on cobbles or Tarmac would have made a world of difference. I’m sure the soldier boys would agree. This was ghostly.

TV’s a big draw

Was it written in the wind? I had to look and look again at the Scottish Cup draw. Purely coincidence. Nothing else to it. So we have Edinburgh’s big two drawn together in a derby, Rangers at home, Celtic at home, Ross County and Inverness in another derby, Livingston versus Dundee.

C’mon, I say to the Scottish Football Association’s hierarchy, do you think we sailed up the Forth in a banana boat? I much preferred it when we witnessed the draw being made on television, don’t you?