Sunday, 3 April 2016



Walking up Janefield Street to Celtic Park yesterday in the bracing early spring weather, I detected a sense of excitement and optimism among the fans. As the flag sellers wares fluttered brightly in the breeze there was a buzz about the place that is sometimes lacking as we trudge through the dark, cold days of the Scottish winter to cheer on the Bhoys. Perhaps it was the fact that we are entering the decisive period of the season or the fact we were playing a decent Hearts side which brought the buzz back but either way it was a hugely enjoyable day at Celtic Park.  The game was packed with incident, goals, near misses, a near brawl among the players and that competitive edge all good matches need. Hearts started brightly and deservedly took the lead but Celtic showed some fighting spirit and driven on by a raucous home support won well in the end.

The reason so many left Celtic Park buoyed up by that vital victory was the fact that it was achieved against a decent team in a genuinely competitive game. I asked an old Celt beside me at half time if he was looking forward to the Ibrox club, however you perceive them, playing in the top league next season. He shrugged and replied, ‘I suppose you want all the bigger clubs in the top league but I haven’t missed them at all. They bring a lot of baggage to football.’ That ‘baggage’ he referred to wasn’t just the poisonous songbook many of them still seem to air with impunity at games but the whole fabricated sense of persecution they have built up as the narrative about what actually happened to the old club in 2012 has been twisted beyond any sense of rational truth. The death of their club was a psychological blow of such magnitude that it was too much for some to accept. Aided by a press which has flip-flopped on the issue to the point of openly contradicting themselves and footballing authorities who have proven themselves to be unfit for purpose, the myth of survival was born.

Those of you who study these things know the facts and some fine Celtic bloggers have exposed the agenda led narrative for the worthless invention it is. The fact is though that barring a major catastrophe the new club will come calling next season and they will be received with mixed emotions. Talking to followers of the blue side one is struck by the prevailing ‘revenge’ agenda they spout. They were ‘kicked when they were down’ they were ‘relegated’ to the third division because others were jealous and hated them. Now it seems they are ‘coming for us’ and I for one think the fact that they are turning their considerable negative energies onto other Scottish clubs and supporters is troubling. Few of them stop to consider the people who actually destroyed their club with a tsunami of hubris and greed.  Few of them consider the damage Rangers have done to Scottish football with their side letters, tax evasion and financial doping. I’m not given to hyperbole or unthinking prejudice about the Ibrox club but as I often say to their followers; ‘think about what you would be saying if Celtic were guilty of those things?’ Usually they go quiet and shrug because deep down they know the truth about just how disgracefully their club has behaved in recent decades. 

The damage they did to our game goes beyond the liquidation of the club, it infected the Governing bodies of the game who bent and broke the rules to try to accommodate the new entity in the top league. They passed them fit to play in European football despite them not meeting the criteria laid down by UEFA. They passed as ‘fit and proper’ Directors who were involved in the board room shenanigans which killed the old club and allowed them to sit on the Board of the new one.  They attempted to bully smaller clubs into allowing Rangers into the First Division and it took the courageous intervention of the late Turnbull Hutton to out their hypocrisy and halt the injustice of a new club jumping the queue simply because they wore the shirt of the old Rangers. Add to this toxic brew some of the so called ‘Journalists’ of our discredited Scottish sporting press warning us that 5 clubs would be dead within weeks if The Rangers weren’t in the top league. Anyone who pointed out the absurdity of these views was of course labelled as ‘obsessed’ but the majority of decent supporters from Annan to Aberdeen know the truth.

The whole thing stinks and played right into the hands of the fantasists who created the persecution myth which is current among many Rangers supporters. So they will roll up to grounds in the top league next season with their agenda of revenge and cringe worthy songs and the saddest part of it is that they will have learned nothing from the past 5 years. The same old mentality will still be there, honed by their humiliations in the lower leagues and the fantasies of the ‘Journey’ back to their rightful place in Scottish football; a journey in which the second highest paid players in the country often struggled to defeat the joiners and plumbers of our lower leagues.

Some at Celtic Park may look forward to a full stadium when they arrive there next season and there is no doubt those who manage Celtic’s finances will not be too unhappy about the new club being in the league. I’m ambiguous about the whole thing. I haven’t missed them one bit but the reality is they will be showing up in the future like a boorish guest at a party. In most countries the arrival of a club with a big supporter base into the top league is a welcome thing but this particular club brings with it some unique baggage and a propensity for discord. I genuinely want a competitive league in Scotland which will hopefully drive standards up and perhaps in the longer term the new club will help achieve this. It will come at a price though as old attitudes reassert themselves. For some though it is too high a price and they’d echo the words of Ian Archer who said a long time ago…

"This has to be said about Rangers, as a Scottish Football club they are a permanent embarrassment and an occasional disgrace. This country would be a better place if Rangers did not exist."

In a very real sense the old Rangers don’t exist anymore and Charles Green missed an opportunity to bring to birth a new club with a new ethos in 2012 and dispense with the poison of the past. Instead, in the name of mammon, he pandered to the ‘No Surrender’ mentality and fostered the victim narrative. He did Scottish football and Scottish society no favours.


  1. Good article, the last paragraph sums up perfectly why so many people despise them.

  2. Totally agree. Toltal lack of leadership from the people that run and report on our game. They are now turning themselves inside out trying to keep up with the lies they are peddling and it will only get worse.