Amid all the talk of the big vote in Scotland today, another moment of Scottish import might have gotten lost: Glasgow soccer team Celtic F.C. faced off against Austria’s FC Red Bull Salzburg this afternoon in the Europa League.
But D.C.’s biggest Celtic fans didn’t forget about the game.
Six of them, all paying members of the Washington DC Celtic Supporters Club, gathered today at Flanagan’s Harp & Fiddle, an Irish pub in Bethesda and one of the closest things the D.C. area has to an actual Scottish bar. The 20-plus members of the club have all chipped in so that the bar can get the satellite channel that plays Celtic matches.
The few members who showed up in the middle of the workday today didn’t let Scotland’s independence vote distract them. The topic came up just once.
“Do you think Scotland will vote for independence?” asked a man from Northern Ireland and a staunch supporter of independence.
“If it goes yes, Celtic never goes into the English league,” lamented Ross Gray, a 34-year-old Scot who moved to D.C. nine years ago. (Celtic F.C. play in the Scottish Premiership, not the bigger and more prominent—and lucrative—English Premiere League. He says it’s unlikely that Celtic will ever switch, but if the country votes for independence, it definitely won’t happen.)
After the game—it- was a 2-2 tie—Gray told me he’s actually in favor of Scotland’s independence, and most of his family members back home will be voting for it. “I hope it happens, we can make our own choices,” he said.
But Al Wigmore III, 79, who moved from Scotland in 1957, didn’t think it made economic sense for Scotland to be independent. “It’s a sentimental wish to be independent, but economically it’ll be tough,” he said.
Jed, who didn’t want to give his last name but was is from Scotland, was still undecided. “It’s complicated,” he said.
If this nonvoting sample is any indication, tonight’s vote—in which the polls closed less than an hour ago—could be close.
Photo by Perry Stein