Last week, Mrs Williamson – a medical professional – educated me on the “Glasgow Coma Scale”.  This is used by doctors worldwide to assess the level of consciousness of a patient and is named because of its invention in the University of Glasgow.  Surprised that Glasgow has expertise in head trauma?  No, me neither.

Related to the GCS is the “Blantyre Coma Scale”.  While the GCS is used to measure adult trauma, the Blantyre variant is used to assess malarial coma in children.  In case you’re from Blantyre and wondering about the prevalence of malaria in your town, it originates in the Malawian town of Blantyre (Did you…?  No, me neither).

The Blantyre Coma Scale is perfect for measuring the level of consciousness of a spectator of a game of Scottish Premier League football.  There are three scores added together: eye movement, motor response, and verbal response, resulting in a score of 0-5.

Eye Movement
1 – Watches or follows
0 – Fails to watch or follow

Motor Response
2 – Localizes painful stimulus
1 – Withdraws limb from painful stimulus
0 – No response or inappropriate response

Verbal response
2 – Cries appropriately with pain, or, if verbal, speaks
1 – Moan or abnormal cry with pain
0 – No vocal response to pain

Anything under 5 is considered abnormal in an African child; I posit that anything above 0 should be considered abnormal at the end of a game of Scottish football.

To test this theory, and as a special treat at the weekend, I allowed Mrs Williamson to join me in watching the Kilmarnock vs. Rangers game – so she could measure me on the Blantyre Coma Scale through the match.  As a control factor, I was “aff the bevvy” for the duration.  The game ended 0-0; these are her notes.

5. Eyes watching the screen, subject talking usual levels of pish.
20 mins
4. Senses are dulled.  Conversation ceases other than the occasional wince and moan, highly correlated with stray pass from Rangers midfield or failure of Kris Boyd to do anything.
35 mins
3. Eyes failing to follow play on screen.  Patient in drowsy state but still responsive to nudges to “get your round in” from fellow Bears.
5. Recovery.  Stimulus of Mendes’ sending off seems to increase patient response to normal, indeed animated, levels.
60 mins
3. Absence of action in early period of second half causes further withdrawal towards state of catatonia.
80 mins
1. No movement of eyes; no movement of limbs even in response to ‘Jimmy Five Belllies’ stimulus technique (holding cigarette lighter under patient’s hand).  Occasional cries of pain continue as only sign of consciousness (high correlation with Kenny Miller’s attempts to trap a ball).
0. Patient is catatonic.

Recovery was initiated by gentle exposure to a YouTube video of Scotch and Wry’s Reverend IM Jolly ( and a return to normal state accomplished with a satire on 1970s Rangers ( at the beginning of which, patient jolted into consciousness and marched around room.


The next day at breakfast, Mrs Williamson gave me a serious look across our caviar and said, “You know, I think I might be bad luck.  Every time I watch a Rangers game with you, it’s really boring.”

Not at all, I assured her; you’re not bad luck; it’s like that every week.  And I love it, because watching Scottish football makes the rest of my life seem wonderful in comparison.



Photo Credit: Flickr