Ruud Gullit Sitting On A Shed breaks new ground all over the place, and that’s just a fact, mister! With this in mind, we are thrilled to bring you a minute-by-minute report of tonight’s Old Firm derby between Celtic and Rangers via a series of despatches from the match ball…
1 min – I am kicked lightly and vaguely by Gary Hooper to begin the match. I was selected as the match ball from a variety of twelve, as I am the best.
2 mins – The unpredictable wind puts an unpredictable amount of spin on my dimensions, spherical as they are. Predictably, I bounce out tamely for a goal- kick.
6 mins – Lee Wallace heads me against a Celtic post, and my perfectly round shape is momentarily dented, only to be restored in the fullness of time (ie, one second later, when I am cleared by a Celtic defender).
16 mins – Everyone cheers me loudly as I cross the Rangers goal-line from a George Samaras toe-poke, which exerts a sudden dynamic force, though entirely consistent with Newton’s theory of relativity. The goal is ruled off-side, and so I am robustly kicked away by Allan McGregor as a form of punishment.
20 mins – Nikica Jelavic blazes me over the bar. ‘Blaze’ is the official adjective for wayward shots that go over the bar (and ONLY over the bar), as agreed upon in a union meeting with various ball manufacturers and member representatives. I am thrown back onto the pitch by a churlish ball-boy, who is celebrating his 13th birthday. Happy Birthday, Jamie!
23 mins – It is extremely wet, making me slippery and a potential menace for goalkeepers. Players are trying to dry me for throw-ins, despite having wet-shirts. Ah, futility! Thy name is a Mitre regulation size 5, which adheres to Law 2 of Association Football’s Laws of the Game.
26 mins – I bounce unconvincingly from the head of Thomas Rogne from a corner, and go out somewhere that the hard camera probably won’t even pick up.
35 mins – James Forrest brings me down well, thanks to my aerodynamic surface, which gives the player increased control, but again I am blazed over the bar, blazishly.
36 mins – A wall of Celtic players appear nervous as they line up in front of a Rangers free-kick. I hit one of the players anti-climactically and squarely in the midriff, forcing a noise of discomfort from their mouth.
45 mins – The referee blows the whistle just as I am approaching the Rangers goal, and Celtic fans boo. I am literally full of air.
Half-time – Feel self-conscious when I hear that the Sky Sports pundits were discussing me during the half-time break, regarding Wallace’s sixth-minute header. Apparently I crossed the line. No-one ever thinks to ask the ball though, owing to the fact that I am an insensate, inanimate object.
46 mins – Rangers players tap me into touch with a sense of mild ennui to begin the second half. I was stitched by the withered hands of a poor orphan for a pittance somewhere dreadful.
51 mins – GOAL! I AM A GOAL!!! Joe Ledley heads me into the Rangers goal from a corner. Allan McGregor kicks me in a rage, which I find unnecessary and unpleasant.
59 mins – Carlos Bocanegra tries to kick me and misses, booting Gary Hooper instead, for which I am grateful. He gets a yellow card. I am manufactured by Mitre as part of the ‘Tensile’ range, of which each SPL club has their own ball in custom team colours.
65 mins – I skitter excitingly across some wind-blown foil that dances across the sodden Parkhead pitch. I find it enjoyable, but sense the annoyance of Kyle Lafferty, whose very sharp face conveys immense frustration.
71 mins – An authoritative defensive boot thrusts me promptly skyward, giving me a precious few moments of quiet reflection. I muse on Kierkegaard‘s theory of the ‘single individual’, exchewing as it does any notion of abstract thinking, and wonder how this relates to footballs. I land near George Samaras, who appears to show no interest in controlling me.
76 mins – Sasa Papac idly practises kick-ups with me while Celtic’s Beram Kayal lays injured after stepping on me by mistake, the silly sausage. He is stretchered off, to be replaced by Ki Sung-Yeung. Buy me in the club shop or online as a belated Christmas gift.
85 mins – I am kicked extremely hard for a distance of 62 yards by Charlie Mulgrew, whose mauve boots leave an unsightly smear on my stitched leather upper, which is made using Mitre’s advanced Clarino micro fibre material.
90 mins – Fraser Forster catches me after a dangerous through-ball, to the relief of Celtic’s supporters. There will be five minutes of injury time. The tension here is very much akin to the pressure of a freshly inflated football.
95 mins – The final whistle is blown, and judging by the reaction of the home support, everyone is very pleased with my performance today. I will now most likely be relegated to training ball status, or will be given away as a prize in a local newspaper.