Another goal for Stubbs, ten years after his biggest challenge
has already allowed himself to r e - i m a g i n e wh a t t h e f u t u r e might bring.
He has thought of who his backroom staff could be, of how he will present himself in a job interview, of how he will seek to use all that he has seen, all that he has heard, and all that he has felt of this game.
“The days are gone of ranting and raving, leading by fear,” he s ays i n t h at g l i n t i n g S c o u s e drawl, rich with a kind of dry optimism.
“I’d like to think I know how players work, what makes them tick. I know the pressures, all the things you have to juggle. But I feel I can be good at that, and understanding.”
Of course, what he knows so clearly, what he understands, is the way that everything can change with such suddenness, that all that remains is a new set of priorities.
It is 10 years since a routine drugs test after an Old Firm Scottish Cup Final revealed that S t u b b s wa s s u f f e r i n g f r o m testicular cancer.
The call came from the Celtic doctor, Jack Mulhearn, who told the defender that the test had shown elevated levels of a hormone normally only found in pregnant women. “When it’s in men,” the doctor added, “it’s linked to cancer.”
Stubbs, as though reduced to a kind of absolute disbelief, finished his round of golf before speaking to the doctor again.
The following day, Celtic sent a car to his home on the south side of Glasgow to take him to hospital, where specialists carried out ultrasound scans and told him he needed to have one of his testicles removed.
“It’s made me more able to accept things,” Stubbs says. “It’s made me a stronger person, and i t ma ke s yo u f e e l a l o t mo r e humble.
“As a fo o t b a l l e r, yo u t h i n k you’re untouchable. We [his wife i s M a n dy ] we r e a s ke d i f we wanted more children, but we had two, luckily, and we were happy. Because of the euphoria