IT’S July 30, 1966 and a solitary shout rings out in a Gorbals pub. “F***king yes!” roars Archie Small, unable to contain himself. Cue tumbleweed.

Archie, reckoning on how he could feel OK even if England beat West Germany that afternoon, decided to place a bet on that very outcome. So began a love affair with gambling, and lifelong distrust among some of his peers for such a questionable act. Never mind about the national rivalry – the goal by Geoff Hurst remained controversial until just this year.

“There are at least fifty kinds of silence,” Gary McNair says in this one-man show, “and a special one reserved for the silence of that Gorbals pub.”

McNair knows this story very well. It’s not just that this tautly written story-show is being given a welcome revival and a UK tour after sell-out runs at last year’s Edinburgh Fringe and festivals in Australia and the US; the narrator he plays here – Archie’s grandson – has been told it so many times he’ll continue to recount it even after time takes its originator.

Archie is loosely based on McNair’s own grandfather who, like the greatest grandads, helped impart a sense of the world’s magic to the youngster. They hung out of a Saturday, working the garden, telling stories and trying to predict match scores. Like almost all habitual gamblers, the older man is convinced there’s a system to crack rather than reasonless randomness. Every near-miss is another reason to believe a win is around the corner but so too is every loss; as if gambling was a game of skill or had sense of egalitarian morality.

McNair’s show is deceptively simple: at just over an hour long it’s an enjoyable and at times affecting romp through time and memory, and how the latter quickly distorts and can be spun to particular – not necessarily mendacious – ends. But it’s the parallels it evokes that are fascinating. Gambling, like storytelling, comes from the same hard-wiring. From early infancy, we learn to make sense of the world through perceiving patterns: patterns of light become colour, patterns of vibration become sound. An ability to perceive patterns helps us survive both physically and emotionally; more often than not we learn which particular berries are poisonous and how we may be significant or special – at least to ourselves and those we share our lives with. McNair’s protagonist, his irreverent schoolboy brain recently introduced to chilly Newtonian physics, is his grandfather’s pessimistic foil.

“It’s not that you ‘survived being stabbed’ grandad,” he says, exasperated. “It’s that you got stabbed.”

In death, as in life, Archie’s stories sometimes chimed with reality, sometimes not. This show, which McNair admits will be tested when it tours England, asks us how much that always matters.

Now touring England. See dates at garymcnair.