Mullets, eating Co-op’s grapes, Gardner’s jokes & more
FRESH from heading home his maiden goal of the season against Newcastle on Monday, the skipper was the perfect man to face the questions for our weekly feature this time around.
Have a flick through some of the Scotland international’s answers below. Enjoy!
So, Fletch, what was your first…
Memory of football?
I remember Celtic losing a cup final on penalties to Aberdeen in the late 1980s. I don’t know why I remember, perhaps it was because it went all the way to penalties. It was one of those that finished something like 10-9 in the shoot-out.
Goal you remember scoring?
That was for my local team Langlaw. I don’t think it was my first game for them but it was one of the first games that I played for them. It was such a great feeling to score a goal for the first time.
Time you realised you had a talent in the sport?
I didn’t really realise I had a talent in the sport because I just loved playing. It wasn’t until I got a lot older that I was better than other people. When I was young I had a really competitive nature and I was more of a team player. As long as the team was winning I was happy. I got asked to go for trials at Hearts when I was about 10 and I wondered why nobody else had been asked. I always played two years above, so maybe that meant I didn’t stand out until I started getting older.
Friend in football?
My neighbour, Alec. His family were Polish. It was off the back of him that I started playing football. He was a few years older than me. We went to football training just down the road together and we used to play outside on the road after school.
Pair of boots?
My Granny bought me a pair from a school boot sale when I was really young, maybe about four. They were black and yellow Gola’s with the rubber studs. I loved them. The fact they made noise on concrete was great too.
Holiday with friends?
It wasn’t until I was a lot older, I went to watch the Euro’s in Portugal in 2004. I took a group of my mates away and we went and watched five or six games in the tournament. I was about 19 at the time, I was too dedicated to be going away any time before then. We managed to pick up tickets outside the grounds. We had a great time. It was strange because I had already played for United and for Scotland, and we had been knocked out by Holland in the play-offs. We ended up going to watch Holland play Germany, so that was strange.
Well I didn’t start driving until I was 23 so it was actually a Range Rover. It’s a bit of a strange one to have as a first car, but I was 23.
Time you got in trouble?
I remember eating a couple of grapes in the local Co-op when I was younger and my mom went ballistic at me. I think that left an impression.
Thing you do when leave training?
I make sure I have Jonny and Anders in the car because I am normally the chauffeur.
Person to take the mick out of you when something goes wrong?
It’s one of my pet hates actually. The amount of people that text you when you do something wrong in a game compared to when you do something good is unbelievable. My genuine good friends will text me when I have done something well like scoring a goal or if we win.
Player to get the jokes flying in the dressing room?
Easy, Craig Gardner. It’s just constant with him. He is brilliant to have around the place. He is a fantastic professional and he is great for team spirit. He keeps everyone going especially when the lads are feeling down, he is there to pick us all up.
Person out on the training pitch?
We all have to go out together, but it would probably be Craig Dawson. He is such a great professional who is always doing extra and someone who religiously looks after his body. I have great respect for him for wanting to push on and be as good as he can be by putting in so much effort.
Thing you think you will do when you retire?
I’ll probably go and play five-a-side with my mates somewhere. It’s not something I like thinking about but you do have to have your mind on it. I think there will be plenty of golf and things like that. I’ll still play football and hopefully I’ll get into coaching, but maybe I’ll have a little break first to see if I would miss it.
I remember asking for a bowl cut once, but I have always been a pretty standard short back and sides kind of guy. I had the mullet when I first started playing which a lot of the lads here have managed to pick up on and mention fairly often.
New Year party?
We used to always have family parties in the house. It was a constant theme when I was growing up. My mom had a few old traditions such as the first person in the house had to be a man. I come from a very big family, my mom has eight brothers and sisters and my dad has 13 so there was plenty of family and plenty of parties.