Muriqi scored twice for Kosovo. | LAURA HASANI


After a week when I watched “Secret Life of the Kangaroo” which said thousands of the marsupials are killed on outback roads every year – I wasn’t surprised because their little arms couldn’t reach the steering wheel! – Real Mallorca fly out today to the north west of Spain, Galicia, where they’ll play Celta Vigo tomorrow (Saturday) at 6.30pm. In the corresponding fixture last April we won 0-1 with a stunning volleyed goal by Amath. Celta are now coached by Rafa Benitez (his 19th club) and have started with two losses, a draw and a 2-3 win at Almeria. Benitez was Everton boss two years ago when some “Toffees” fans wanted him out, singing derogatory chants of “You’re a fat Spanish waiter.”

Real Mallorca welcomed back their three international absentees on Thursday. Rajkovic and Valient didn’t play but Muriqi did turn out for Kosovo in two games with quite different storylines. In the game against Switzerland in Pristina he scored twice and showed he’s got his confidence back after a recent lean spell. The other game however was a different kettle of boquerones. The match in Bucharest was suspended for 50 minutes after Romanian Ultras unfurled a banner saying “Kosovo is Serbia” then sang xenophobic chants. Eventually the game restarted in a hostile atmosphere in a game Romania won 2-0. Muriqi unfortunately got his marching orders just before half time and Romania can expect a stiff punishment for allowing a prohibited political statement at a game.

September is a tough month for Real Mallorca as we face the most demanding sections of the La Liga calendar. After Celta we play away at an in-form Girona (A) on Saturday 23rd at 2pm, then Barcelona come to Palma on Tuesday 26th at 9.30pm, before finishing the month in Madrid against Rayo Vallecano (Saturday 30th, 4.15pm).

Despite these being hard fixtures on paper, we actually added six points in these same games last year. I’m sure our poor start (two points from a possible 12) will be turned into better performance after all our new signings come to grips with coach Aguirre’s defensive tactics.

One of these new signings, Sergi Darder, gave a lengthy interview during the week. He’s had an indifferent start this season. When he arrived questions were asked. How will he perform in a better team and just how good is he? The problem is Darder’s not a like for like replacement for the much-missed Kang In Lee. Darder’s an orthodox central midfielder who moves up the pitch with the team as opposed to the South Korean who often played in front with Muriqi and had the dynamism to generate attacks individually.

Now we have a two pronged attack of Muriqi and Larin, there’s more necessity to generate clear and diverse links between midfield and strikers. Darder is a leader on the pitch and will be very close to getting into the Spanish national side over the next few months. Talking about our start he said “I think we deserve more points than we have, things will turn around. Against Bilbao we kept a clean sheet against a side who put four past Betis, that should be an important starting point.”

We’re missing our “Captain Marvel” Antonio Raillo at the heart of our defence bit I do like the cut of Belgian international centre back Siebe van der Heyden’s jib. He didn’t put a foot wrong against Bilbao and looks a bargain at 3.5 million euros. He played instead of Copete who’s made a couple of mistakes recently. In the words of coach Aguirre on Copete “He can’t relax, he must wake up, he who falls asleep goes to the side!”

Tickets are on sale for the much-anticipated Barça game. Non season ticket holders will have to dig deep to watch the game as prices stretch from 120 to 200 euros. There are also more expensive seats in the new North End VIP area. With 18,633 season tickets already sold, tickets for the game will be few and far between. These prices are cheaper than last season because it’s a midweek game, and the late kick off time is arranged to get the highest TV audience possible. Barcelona and Real Madrid games are marked in red on the calendar. These games are the main reason fans buy a season ticket. The cost of buying a match ticket for the Barça game is nearly half of what I paid for an “old codgers” season ticket.

One fan who will have difficulty watching the game is long time “socio” Andreu Garau. He sits in the new bottom part of the main stand. Trouble is there’s a wall blocking his view. Andreu said “The only way I can see the game is if I lift myself up from my seat. I’m not tall so I can only see parts of the ground. My grandson who’s even smaller only sees the wall.” Andreu has informed the club of his predicament. “I’ve either to try and find another free seat or spend the game standing up!!”

AND FINALLY, a man, a sheep and a dog were survivors of a terrible shipwreck and were stranded on a desert island. After being there for a while, they got into the habit of watching the sun go down. One night the sunset was particularly impressive and a warm breeze made it a perfect night for romance. As they sat there, the sheep looked better and better to the man. He leaned over and put his arm around it. The dog got jealous, growling fiercely, so the man quickly took his arm away from around the sheep. After that the three enjoyed many sunsets but there was no more canoodling. A few weeks later here was another shipwreck and the only survivor was a beautiful young woman. She was badly injured but the man nursed her back to health. When she was better, they introduced her to their evening beach ritual. It was another perfect evening, made for romance. Pretty soon the man had “those feelings” again. He fought them as long as he could but he could take it no more. He leaned over to the young woman and whispered in her ear “Would you mind taking the dog for a walk?!”