As we head, at breakneck speed, towards the League Cup semi final, on 1 February, I’ve penned a long piece for On Fields of Green (which you can read at the link below), in which I suggest that the Celtic fans turn that game into a celebration of who we are. I want to emphasis that point here.
If you live here, on Planet Scotland, you’ll know this game is coming up. Many people are worried about it, and the potential it holds for serious trouble.
I would love to think we could all just keep our heads down and that wouldn’t happen.
Unfortunately, it’s not like that. Some of us have trouble doing that anyway!
Outside the ground, anything can happen. Parts of the city will be no-go areas for those wearing the wrong colours.
That’s depressing, as it’s depressing that there are people out there who are actually looking forward to the game for that reason. They undoubtedly exist.
Inside the ground, we have a chance to make the atmosphere better than that. The Celtic fans can turn the game into a celebration of our own diversity and inclusiveness. We can, in short, make it about who we are rather than have the experience defined by other people at another club, or in the media.
God knows that, at the moment, Celtic fans have much to be thankful about.
Our position in the SPL has been strengthened by Aberdeen’s dropping points. We have just secured the services of a fine young player for next season. We are in the League Cup semi-final, against a lower league team who are experiencing turblent times on and off the field … we have a strong, and healthy, and largely united, football club that is secure for our children and grandchildren.
Everyone will have seen Wee Jay scoring the penalty kick yesterday at Hamilton, and then running to the crowd. He is a special kid, as we are a special club, and as we rallied around wee Oscar and did our best to help the Thai Tims along, so too we have embraced this brilliant wee lad and his people. That’s who we are; we are not defined by a horrible, bloody, insular rivalry that died on the day Rangers went to the grave.
Those who would raise the dead so this country could go back to that … no thank you. You are speaking for yourselves.
Naturally, I want us to win that game by a distance, and put in their place the pretendy-gers and their delusions of granduer … but I am under no illusssions that this is “an Old Firm game.”
It isn’t. There will never be an “Old Firm” game again, and as I loathe the phrase and what it means anyway, I shed no tears for that.
Neither should anybody else.
On 1 February our fans should remember who we are … not worry about who they think they are. We’re welcoming a new club to Hampden, for its first time against us.
That’s an occasion for giving them a warm welcome. I suggest beach balls and floppy hats, and celebration songs.
Maybe even give them a wee chorus of Always Look On The Bright Side Of Life.
They could use that, don’t you think?
What we ought to avoid is getting sucked in to a hate-fest. That’s not what we’re about.
The media, and some sections of the Sevco support, will try to make this a poisonous fixture. Within that stadium, we can make it anything we want it to be.
Let’s celebrate Celtic. Let’s celebrate our values and ethos and uniqueness. Let’s celebrate our history – our unbroken history – and let Scottish football and the world see that we want no part of the poison or the hate.
That’s who we are, after all.
To read my longer piece on this match, check out the below link.