In among the wealth of material for The Banter Years Andy Halliday, Graeme Murty and Hampden has a prominent place in the Roll of Honour.
As the media never tire of telling us Halliday, freed by Bradford City in the summer of 2015, is a True Blue, an Ibrox die-hard. Brought up in the shadow of Ibrox Stadium his dream was to pull on the iconic blue jersey but not to be part of a side that presented trophy after trophy to Celtic.
In the spring of 2018 a new revolution was brewing under Graeme Murty. When the Scottish Cup semi-final draw paired the two Glasgow sides together the celebrations in the Loudon Tavern were legendary.
Between the draw being made and the teams lining up at Hampden Celtic, down to 10 men had won 3-2 at Ibrox.
Halliday was in from the start of the cup semi-final, the winner would return to face Motherwell in the final.
Celtic hit top form, they toyed with their city rivals. Goals from Callum McGregor and Tom Rogic midway through the first half turned the match into a training exercise.
One of the many highlights arrived four minutes from half-time. True Blue Halliday was substituted for Josh Windass. Murty, whose Dad is a Celtic fan, decided that Halliday was the worst player in his side.
As Halliday shouted and swore at his manager the Celtic fans lapped it up. Halliday name was chanted on repeat, the kid from Copeland Road heard his name bounce around Hampden Park, but not in the way that he was hoped for.
— Tam Sellics son (@TamsellicsonIII) June 23, 2020
I have always been my biggest critic. That Celtic game going into the semis, that was the first time I had started a game in about six or seven weeks.
There’s nothing worse, but at the same time I was buzzing that it was an Old Firm. At the same time it is a cauldron to be thrown into, again I wasn’t playing well but none of us were playing well.
Listen, the fact of the matter is that I felt, and I’m sure everybody would agree, was that if he felt he had to make a sub you could have waited four minutes and done it at half-time.
Being the local boy, being the Rangers fan you know how it is going to be with the press and the reaction it is going to get from the Celtic fans.
So again raging, but if we could have made eight subs that day we would have probably made eight because Celtic battered us and we were poor.
I felt as if I was made a scapegoat a wee bit on that occasion because I was just back in the team but if you were going to make the sub you could have waited four minutes. He never [explained why he did it].
I have always been one to talk to managers after things and that was one where I just couldn’t. To be honest I don’t think I will ever forgive him for doing that, but at the same time it is what it is.
I have still had a relationship with him since, he was still with the youth players at Rangers and I tried to help the youth players and I’ve spoken to him on a couple of occasions.
The aftermath was as much fun as the 90 minutes that Celtic had enjoyed at Hampden.
Halliday was one issue but the fall-out saw Kenny Miller and Lee Wallace suspended by their club. Miller, a sub on the day never played again for the Tribute Act while Waldo, injured for most of the season, made three cameo appearances the following season before being reunited with Mark Warburton at Queens Park Rangers.
Looking at their clash with Murty, Halliday admitted:
That day was hard for myself, hard because we lost the game against Celtic, but genuinely from the bottom of my heart the biggest thing I took away from that game was, I lost two of my best teammates and two of my good mates in football.
That was effectively the end of Kenny [Miller] and Waldo’s [Lee Wallace] Rangers career. That was the way it ended and that hurt me just as much as my own personal agenda.
It was stuff you see every single day in football, every week in football, emotions are running high after you’ve lost to your rivals and that is it.
There were words said, there were no fights, no punches were thrown and I would never have thought that was going to lead to the two of them losing their Rangers career. And that hurt me the most because it was two good players, two brilliant teammates and two brilliant guys
Halliday was back in the starting XI two weeks later as Celtic clinched the title with a 5-0 hammering. He’d love to be thought of as a hate figure by Celtic fans, instead he recalled fondly, with a smile any time he wishes to relive the joy of ‘living the dream’.
Since being released from his Ibrox deal there has been no offers for the 28-year-old utility man although Hearts and Fleetwood Town are both believed to be keeping tabs on the situation.