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It definitely wasn’t pretty. I raged and bellowed and struggled for suitable words to express my anger. I booed and joined in the chants of “Cheat!”. Then I waited after full time to ensure I got my chance to jeer him off the pitch. There really are few things more fun at the football than haranguing the referee over the perceived injustices he has meted out to your team.
I would still, of course, rate a ding-dong 4-3 victory a more satisfactory affair. But in the absence of an epic scoreline, a controversial decision or two is a decent second best. We got our share of those at Palmerston Park on Saturday. It had even normally douce Doonhamers baying for blood.
A match with Stenhousemuir does not sound the most glamorous of fixtures and, generally, it lives up to its lowly billing. Even their name, for me anyway, conjures up images of all that is dour and dismal about Scottish football. Only their nickname, the Warriors, hints at a more bellicose and aggressive edge to their play.
It was game number five on my son’s season ticket and, after the drama of reaching the Ramsden’s Cup Final, expectations were not high. Queens are still flying at the top of the league. Stenny - as seems to me to have been their lifelong tradition - are midtable.
And the game started off as if it might be a mid-October stroll. We took a very early lead and had countless chances to extend it. My father, a great harbinger of doom, said we might live to regret those misses and great saves from the visiting goalkeeper.
As always, he was annoyingly correct.
A man sent off for a lunging tackle spiced up the tie, but even with 10 players we kept our shape well and extended our lead early in the second half. We looked composed and concentrated but that, of course, could not last. A scrambled goal started the nerves jittering, a penalty kick had them positively jangling.
Yet even at 2-2 there were chances to win the game, at least until a second Queens player saw red. At nine versus 11 it seemed best to settle for a draw. It was only in those closing stages, however, that all hell broke lose. A home defender was sent to the sidelines for treatment and then we had to wait for what seemed like an eternity for him to return to the play.
That had Queens playing eight against 11 and set manager Allan Johnston into a frenzy. He, too, was sent off and it seemed - to our minds at least - that the match officials were intent on making us play three men short until the visitors got a winner. Cue bedlam around the ground.
I was among those raging, so was my father and most of the people around us. My son, however, sat bemused and watched the whole thing. Apparently he made eye-contact with another little boy of similar age and they both looked heavenward in incredulity at what was going on.
He decided, quite wisely, not to indulge in the howling and wailing going on around him. Instead, at full-time, he told me the referee should become a Super Villain and should be called “Nut Man”. It wish I could have been so measured in my response.
Yet, even in the midst of my angry outbursts, I did have some pause for lucid reflection. What kind of message was I sending to my son? That it was alright to bawl yourself hoarse at someone if you don’t agree with what they are doing? That the safety of a crowd allows you to act in a way you would never do when alone?
I hope that wasn’t what he took away from the game. Yes, I’d be embarrassed to watch him emulate my behaviour but I will try to cling to its redeeming features. Although my anger was intense, it had some element of restraint. There was no violence attached, at least, and it fizzled out as if it had almost been therapeutic.
And what else do we go to football for if not to have the emotions stirred a bit? It can’t always be the joy of a goal, after all. Sometimes it will be anger at an error, frustration at a miss or the downright misery of relegation or cup final defeat.
So maybe I’ll kid myself that I wasn’t such a bad father after all. Once the whistle blew and we headed for the exit, my anger - which had seemed so venomous in the heat of the moment - was quick to subside. There’s nothing wrong with passion, surely, as long as it is not taken too far.
Of course, you might well argue about where to draw the line. Does firing foul language across a football ground really constitute the kind of example to be setting for a child? I know, deep down, it does not - but still I feel the need to try to justify it. Do we really want football to be such a dry, soulless and antiseptic occasion that all we are allowed to muster is a gentle round of applause for our own team and a mild tut of disapproval in the direction of the opposition? It would certainly cease to be the game I care so much about.
So I say go ahead and shout son. And bawl and cheer and cry and curse. Vent your spleen, raise the roof, weep like a baby and any other emotional cliche you can think of. Just don’t hurt anyone in the process. And let it ebb away once a match is over.
Each individual incident at the weekend, on reflection, was not so bad but it was their cumulative effect that riled us up so much. But if we couldn’t have a late winner, we at least got to release some pent-up anger. And maybe the referee deserves some credit for that. He was simply acting as therapist for us all.