According to legend the last wolf in Britain was slain in a remote region of the Scottish highlands in 1743.
The beast had supposedly killed a woman and her two children walking across a barren hill and the local Laird decided to raise a tainchel (a posse made up of hunters and clansmen) to track and kill the animal.
The tainchel could not leave without the Laird’s head stalker and tracker, one MacQueen of Pall a’ Chrocain, but when the appointed time came, and with dozens of heavily armed men with dogs waiting, MacQueen was nowhere to be seen.
After nearly an hour the Laird was furious with his chief stalker and resolved to set about the hunt without him. At that moment MacQueen came striding over the hill.
“Where hae ye been?” yelled the Laird. In reply MacQueen simply threw back his plaid cloak to reveal the severed head of the wolf, then explained what had happened: “As I came through the slochd (ravine) by east the hill there, I foregathered wi’ the beast. My long dog there turned him. I bucked wi’ him, and dirkit him, and syne whuttled his craig (cut his throat), and brought awa’ his countenance for fear he might come alive again, for they are very precarious creatures.”
Well, it seems there are still wolves in Britain in this day and age, they are still highly dangerous and today we go to ‘buck and dirk’ with them in their lair.
Who will be our MacQueen?
You have to give credit to Wolves. They have had a good season under a manager who seems to have both passion and a plan. They will be a tough challenge.
But enough about them. We are entering this fray with some green shoots of renewal finally growing under our feet after our disappointing post-lockdown start.
I happen to feel that the enforced separation of the squad during the lockdown affected us more than most teams in the Premier League. Mikel Arteta, let’s be honest, inherited a complete sh*t show when he took the helm at Arsenal.
Before the pandemic hit you got the sense he was beginning to get more out of the players and that they were starting to buy into his vision.
The enforced break allowed all that good work to dissipate and when we tried to hit the reset button against Manchester City and then Brighton the wheels fell off.
Somehow or other Arteta got us functioning again and three wins on the trot are grounds for optimisim. Meanwhile the mood music around the club has become much sweeter this week with the news that Saka and Martinelli – our brightest young prospects – have signed new long term deals. There are even strong rumours that Aubameyang is ready to commit his future to N5.
To cap things off, the Spuds crashed and burned in midweek and now sit behind us in the table after an equal number of games.
My glass is usually half full so I expect nothing less then a win today.
Here’s my projected starting 11:
Bellerin – Mustafi – Luiz – Kolasinac – Tierney
Xhaka – Ceballos
Saka – Nketieh – Aubameyang
Who will be our MacQueen? After their heroics in midweek I’m tempted to say either Ceballos or Aubameyang, but I think today could be Saka’s day if he starts.
Time to slay some Wolves.