“Smeato”, a cult figure because of his role in the Glasgow terror attacks and his very Scottish utterances in TV interviews, was rushed into intensive care and spent the weekend in a very serious condition.
The 32-year-old former baggage handler is now said to be stable and improving slowly.
His father, Iain, 67, said he is making progress: “We’ve been told John is now making baby steps in the right direction. He’s not out of the woods yet but any news is better than being told your son is dying”.
John’s admittance to hospital came as the trial against Bilal Abdulla, 29, and Mohammed Asha, 28, began at Woolwich Crown Court in London. They are charged with conspiracy to cause explosions and murder.
It’s the second severe asthma attack Smeaton has had in his life. He was 19 when he spent three days unconscious in intensive care with a torn long.
Messages of support have been flooding in the for the man who famously stood up to the terrorists who tried to bomb Glasgow Airport in July last year. Gordon Brown is one of the many people who have inundated the Smeaton family with messages wishing John a speedy recovery.
The support given to John Smeaton indicate the feelings of a nation that took him to their hearts after his actions in the Glasgow Airport terror attacks.
When Glasgow Airport was attacked, he was standing outside on a cigarette break and he quickly got involved. He fought with the men who were trying to blow up their car, and dragged a victim to safety away from the fracas. Michael Kerr said: “I landed next to the burning Jeep and thought it was going to explode. That was when John Smeaton dragged me to safety. He’s a hero”.
It was only after the events, where he was being interviewed for Sky News, that he found fame for his defiant stance against the terror threat. In a highly quotable interview, he came up with such gems as: “This is Glasgow, you know – we’ll set about ye!” and: “You’re no hitting the Polis mate, there’s nae chance”.
The infamous interview led to life changing events for John. He was thanked personally by Gordon Brown for his efforts and even made an appearance at the Labour Party Conference. He received the Queen’s Gallantry Medal for his actions, has been on speaking tours in America, has a weekly column in the Scottish Sun and even has a website where you can buy him a pint at the Holiday Inn bar at Glasgow Airport.
It does seem, however, that the public are split on their opinions to Smeaton. Iain Mackay, a lecturer from Napier University, believes Smeaton is hyped up: “I feel his status was inflated by the public and media, because he became an acceptable face of Glasgow.” Oliver Hughes, a student from Fife, disagreed, saying: “John Smeaton should be respected for standing up for the common man. Long live the Smeatonater!”