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View from the End Line: Scotland, Here I Come

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Another business trip, another chance to see footy abroad.

Kilmarnock v St Mirren - Betfred Scottish League Cup Photo by Jan Kruger/Getty Images

Some of you may know this, but for those who don’t, let me give you a brief view into the life of the Bearded Guy. I am a laser engineer by trade, and a graduate of the University of Central Florida — twice. Currently, I find myself, as I have for the past 15 years, working in the defense industry. I wish I could explain more, and not because of some cliché thing like, “I could tell you, but then I would have to kill you,” but because it is honestly a little complicated and I am not sure I could explain well in this article.

That being said, every once in a while, I get to travel. In fact, my current position has opportunities to travel a good bit, and to some very interesting places like New Jersey, Dallas, Baltimore, Washington, D.C., and about twice a year or so, Scotland.

When I started in my current position at the beginning of the year, I had to make my first trip across the pond to learn about some technologies being produced in Glasgow. It was a whirlwind trip, flying out on Sunday evening, arriving in Edinburgh on Monday morning, taking a car to the company factory in Glasgow, and getting right to work. It was an amazing trip for me, meeting everyone on the U.K. team, seeing the wonderful facility, and of course, having my insane first adventure to a football match in Scotland. I wont rehash the entire trip, but it was full of pints, Killie pies, more pints (mostly Tennent’s, if you are curious), and a very cold, very wet, very mind-blowing Scottish Cup match between Kilmarnock FC and Aberdeen. I met some amazing people at the match, and I am about to meet some more.

I just booked tickets to head back to Glasgow in about a month. Of course, the football schedule could not be held as a reason to go at certain times, I needed to leverage the schedules and availability of the individuals that I need to meet with and hope for the best. I am already planning on visiting the Celtic and Rangers grounds at some point, just to see them. I mean, how can you go to Glasgow and not at least visit those pitches?

Just to give you an idea of scale, it is a 15-minute ride from my hotel, the Red Arrow, to either Ibrox Stadium (home of Rangers) or Celtic Park (home of Celtic). My goal is to get a scarf up photo in front of each, just for the scarves on tour hashtag.

Now that dates are set, I could look at the fixtures and see which matches might be distinct options.

Well, well, well, what do my eyes see? Is that a Kilmarnock home match? Sure, I could try to go see Celtic face Aberdeen at Celtic Park, Aberdeen being who Kilmarnock faced in the Scottish Cup match I was witness to, but I have another chance to possibly take the train, grab a pint or two, walk to the Park Hotel, grab a pint or two and some Killie pies, and stand and cheer for the team that introduced me to Scottish football. For me, that choice is pretty simple.

I can be watching a match on a football grounds that was opened in 1899. Watching the oldest profession football club in Scotland, founded in 1869. (They are the oldest professional club, not the oldest club. That title belongs to Queen’s Park FC, founded in 1867.) And, I can be eating way too many Killie pies, the best pies in Scottish football.

I can’t help but think of all of the people I met along the way, leading to meeting more friends and being able to help them enjoy an Orlando City match.

This is going to be another great trip across the pond, and I am really looking forward to everything it has to offer. The work aspect comes first, but there will be a little bit of time to enjoy Glasgow, the fish and chips, the pints, the whisky, the curry houses, and the conversations with everyone along the way. The Orlando City schedule has been kind to this travel as well, as I will not miss a match or have to stay up really late to watch one while I am across the Atlantic. Another great adventure awaits, and I will make sure to take more pictures and bring as much of the story as I can back with me. The only questions remaining are: which jersey do I bring? Black, or old-school USL? And which scarf?