THAI TIMS...Brilliant tribute to Tom Rogic
IT'S the YouTube sensation that hailed Aussie Celt Tom Rogic before he had even kicked a ball for his new club - but the happy smiling tribute by the Thai Tims is tinged with tragedy.
Socceroo Tom Rogic put in a man of the match debut for Celtic in their 3-1 win over Terry Butcher's Inverness Caledonian Thistle at the weekend.
But Rogic was cheered into action by the phenomenal video from a classroom of Celtic-daft kids in rural Thailand who gave the “Bhoy from down under” his own song – and a ready-made goal celebration.
Do The Kangaroo Hop, Tom - to the tune of Tie Me Kangaroo Down - instantly became a hit with fans in Scotland and Australia as the grinning youngsters belted it out, decked out in hoops in front of a giant pic of Rogic.
"We’ve been singing songs for Celtic players for several years,” revealed Thai-based English ex pat hoops fan Paul Lennon. “And we don’t sing for every player - just the ones that we think are going to be really good.
“The kids have been watching videos of his goals when he played for Central Coast Mariners. He’s going to be a big hit at Celtic and we wanted to quickly get him a song before his debut.”
But Paul also revealed the sadness that sparked the Celtic devotion in remote Triamsuksa School in Chanthaburi.
“It might look all fun on the videos but there’s a really serious story behind it all,” said Lennon.
Paul and his wife Pun got involved when their first child Berni was born with Down syndrome and they volunteered as teachers at the school to help out their son and his classmates.
They used their love of Celtic and music to inspire English classes, raise funds and pave the way for more children like Berni to attend school.
“If we were allowed by the (school) founder to teach Celtic songs, I knew in my heart that the Celtic family would come to our aid,” said Lennon.
Now, years later, the Thai Tims' Celtic songs have helped local kids learn English as well as raise funds and awareness for children with Down syndrome through the Good Child Foundation.
The bond with Scotland strengthened when 18-year-old former Celtic youth player Reamonn Gormley volunteered to teach the Thai Tims for three months.
But on his return to the UK, the university student was tragically murdered by muggers in his Scottish hometown of Blantyre in 2011.
Now a hall - painted in green and white hoops - bears his name in Thailand and is home for the Thai Tims...a little piece of Paradise in the jungle.
Since then, funds and volunteers have continued to arrive, and Lennon has never doubted that hoops fans would embrace the youngsters.
“It doesn’t surprise me at all because of course I’m a Celtic fan since I was a boy, my father’s a Celtic fan,” he said. “Nothing surprises me with Celtic fans.”
Last year, 42 youngsters travelled to Scotland and sang on the pitch at Celtic Park. They have sung for the Thai national football squad and the Olympic and Paralympic teams.
Now they are hoping Rogic will take their song to heart - and give them a kangaroo hop if he scores.
“Rogic has been added to a long list of player tributes that includes the likes of Joe Ledley and Beram Kayal as well as the usual Celtic standards," added Lennon.
“What we’re hoping for is that when Tom scores for Celtic that he does the kangaroo hop on the pitch.
“We hope that 60,000 fans start singing it in the stadium and the kangaroo hop will rock Glasgow. That’s the aim.”