Scotland Shamed Again By Sectarian Singing & The Silence That Follows

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Today many in press and many of the Sevco online commentators are congratulating each other on yesterday’s result against Hibs.

I used my promotion code and half watched game and didn’t find either side to be particularly impressive; indeed, if Celtic was even remotely competent on the day, as poor as we are right now, I’d expect us to beat either one of them with measured ease and room to spare.

I don’t want to talk about game.

It’s not what some of them are talking about either.

I want to talk, as their official website did, as a couple of their players did and as some of press have, about the “amazing atmosphere.”

Right there, friends and neighbours, is a sterling example of Scotland’s Shame.

First, let me do something unusual; I’m going to praise Daily Record for being willing to discuss what I’m about to.

For once they’ve stuck their necks out.

Fair play to them, and to Graham Spiers and others, who put this front and centre before full time whistle had even gone.

That’s all Scotland expects of you … that you remember what job is.

Because yesterday was marred by kind of gutter behaviour a section of the Sevco support simply can’t shake and which certain sections of our society – including some in the media – can’t bring itself to condemn.

Scotland’s Shame used to be a secretive kind of thing.

It wasn’t explicitly acknowledged by any official body, far less discussed openly.

That was before the SFA used it to defend Rangers in a sectarian singing case that was opened by UEFA.

They told the European governing body that it was a “cultural phenomenon” and one that was peculiar to Scotland.

They slandered this whole country, in effect, to explain the behaviour of a handful of Neanderthals and to spare their favourite club from embarrasment.

At around the same time, Gordon Smith was on national radio defending those songs to an incredulous panel on Radio Scotland.

He later became CEO of the SFA, of course.

The governing bodies curious defence made headlines.

It got the politicians interested. Jack McConnell called the first “sectarianism summit” but although it produced a lot of hot air and dragged the subject into the light there was no actual action taken … which might have prevented what came.

We all know what that was.

It was The Offensive Behaviour At Football Act, proposed in the aftermath of a single football match and the ugly scenes sparked by the indiscipline of the Rangers team and its manager, an event which haunts football in this country to this day, and for which Neil Lennon somehow got the lion’s share of the blame, including the only sporting sanction handed down by the SFA.

It was that remarkable, scandalous, corrupt decision that led the late Paul McBride QC to go on national television and brand our governing body “the laughing stock of world football”.

Of course, the repercussions went much deeper than just the victimisation of the Celtic manager, which certain sections of Scottish society seemed to take a nearly perverse pleasure in.

You only have to look at the two judicial decisions which involved him – the Not Proven verdict in his assault case and the decision to charge the men who sent him bombs with “conspiracy to commit assault” – to realise that.

As already noted, the so-called Old Firm Shame Game – which was, in point of fact, simply the Rangers Shame Game – resulted in the passing of a scandalous law which did nothing whatsoever to prevent the spectacle, yesterday, of huge numbers of people engaging in the kind of backwards, 16th century behaviour the law was supposed to prevent.

Those responsible for writing that law are frauds.

Those responsible for its application are gutless in that they don’t apply it evenly.

Picking on a bunch of kids in the street and threatening to “ruin lives” is one thing; wading into spectators at a game and arresting them by the dozen is, apparently, too much like hard work.

The law isn’t the issue here anyway, or it’s only a small part of it.

The issue here, the problem, is the way our society still tolerates these people, the way their football club refuses to engage with the issue and root them out, the way our media ignores it when it’s not eulogising the “atmosphere” itself.

I’m hearing about people being up to their knees in my blood. I am sick of hearing retrograde scum talking about they “hate Celtic” before throwing a sectarian term in for good measure. When do we say “enough of this” and deal with the problem?

I am opposed to restrictions on free speech.

I am opposed to the Offensive Behaviour at Football Act, and want to see it put in the bin.

It was an un-necessary law, because the statute books already contain legislation on hate speech, which is exactly what many of yesterday’s morons were engaged in.

Even those laws leave me disquieted, so I am not going to advocate that everyone in the stands be detained and questioned and some of them charged. The best way to deal with hate speech is not to pass laws against it; it’s to publicise it based on what it is.

The irony here is that some of the very same people who were belting out hate yesterday were, this time last week, trying to get a South Lanarkshire primary school teacher the sack for stuff she put up on Twitter.

If we applied similar logic to them we’d be sending video footage of all that sectarian singing to their bosses and trying to whip up the storm.

The media, which door-stopped her and harassed her family (and still is) have, by and large, not condemned yesterday’s display in any way, shape or form, of course.

It too is populated mainly by cowards, with no interest in confronting the issue and whose praise for the fans for creating “a sense of occasion” is lamentable and only compounds their shame.

But once again, a disgusting display of sectarian abuse that belongs at Ibrox has been allowed to stain a whole country, by the absolute refusal in some quarters to acknowledge that it happened at all.

The club itself couldn’t wait to put an article up that heaped praise on the fans, although many of them behaved disgracefully and that tells you everything you need to know about the people in charge over there.

They could have done this whole country a huge favour last night, but they chose, instead, to embrace and hold tight the worst elements in it.

I would normally never have chosen to end a year on such a horrible note, but I received an email in the aftermath of yesterday’s match from a Scottish football fan living in Shanghai, China, who wanted to know what we can do to end this scourge once and for all.

Most of all, he wanted to know how to explain to his daughter, who he thinks of as Scottish but who’s never set foot in this land, why these people sing about hating her.

I don’t know how we end this, but I do know the first step towards that goal is to confront the issue and acknowledge that it exists.

Much of our media doesn’t want to, but that’s not to say the rest of us can’t force the matter into the public domain, which is why I’m doing this.

As to the more general point about the haters … I told him simply that it’s all some people know how to do and that if it wasn’t us they were singing about it would be Jews or Muslims or some other “out” group, because that’s what puts the oxygen in their veins.

I told him to tell his girl that these people don’t represent Scotland or even their own club, because in the end, they use Ibrox, and the club itself, as a totem pole to dance around, but that’s only possible because the club itself has never, decisively, moved away from them.

Yet even it will, in time, because the vast, vast majority of Sevco fans are as of them as we are.

Because this isn’t about the whole Sevco support, of course, but a group of yahoos within it.

I believe that.

I believe they don’t represent Scotland.

But certain parts of this country still tolerate them and even encourage their hate.

It’s almost 2016 for God’s sakes.

This stuff has dragged our country down for too long.

When do we finally put an end to it?

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  • William Trimble says:

    Here’s a shock for yous a Rangers fan commenting on a Celtic blog but I really need to hear. First of all I totally agree with getting sectarianism out of our game I love my team through the good, the bad and even the ugly times that every team goes through. Secondly its not just the Rangers side of the old firm who are bigots or just the ones who shout hate speech there are a right good hand full of Celtic fan who are just as bad and I would like to see anyone try to prove me wrong.

  • MAGNUM says:


  • MAGNUM says:


  • jamesy o'd says:

    Same old same old. These people that run are game are the same people that would blame a rape victim for being a woman , the SFA are a bigoted sectarian closed shop has allways been and allways will be , ther will be no punishment for these bigots that were singing these vile songs and chants , as the same people that should punish these rangers fans , believe what they sing ,its as simple as that , ther the same entities , this needs outside interference ,if not it will ALLWAYS be the same simple as that

  • Bert says:


  • Bren says:

    I totally agree with the article, however, can we please talk to our lads regarding singing the Irish National Anthem being sung at games, and before anyone goes off on a tangent, I am second generation Scottish, of proud Irish grandparents, two of whom had to identify themselves by an X on birth certificates. How many of those actually singing it have set foot in Ireland? There are ways we can remember where we came from, but it is almost 2016, please look at the make up of Sundays team for example!

  • joego says:

    James you’re much better at the political stuff like this than the football analysis but, anyway, as a Glaswegian who for more than half his 50+ years has lived in England but still regularly visits…you can t have the Scots as bravehearts (a historical myth) whilst ignoring the reality of the bigotry, the small minded mean spirited outlook which pervades and seeps into the bones and crushes any pride I have in celebrating a beautiful country when I have to consistently witness such an ugly, hate filled underbelly which is generally championed rather than condemned!

    Keep telling it as you see it. Without your voice and the few others, there is only despair!


  • Stevie McG says:

    My thoughts on this. They can sing what they want when they want. I would even defend their right to do so. Their hatred is obvious, their intolerance blatant, their supremacist belief is unbelievable but, and here’s the rub. We can justify our songs / chants as political and non sectarian (justified), but we know that they offend others. Roll Of Honour offends many but should we be punished for singing it, should we hell. Democracy is what it it is. I despise what they chant about, but I defend their right to do so.

  • Paul Morgan says:

    Indeed again the sevco have let themselves down again with all there antics and sectarian singing.again scum of.Scotland. Also I.had to laugh at one of the sevco fans shouting on bt channel you cheating b and you know want I mean what a hypricate for saying that when his. Old club cheated for years the Glasgow rangers.

  • ballybough says:

    What do we expect the reaction of the establishment to be when the first minister of Scotland defended the M P Mhairi Black when it was reported she had stated on social media that she hated Celtic and Celtic supporters were scum .Nicola Sturgeon said she was a university student at the time and as such was an immature young girl at the time.This was the leader of the political party who gave sixteen year olds the vote in the most important political decision made for three hundred years.They didn’t think they were immature then.

    • Eric says:

      Yes she was well out of order , so age is now an excuse , being from Paisley my self she keep it closed ,was there any apology coming?

  • frankiebhoy58 says:

    Very good article James. The new club playing out of Ibrox had the ideal opportunity in 2012 to rid themselves of the MAJORITY, not minority, of racists who indulge in their bile from the terraces. But Chuckles, knowing full well he needed their likes to fund his Chateau purchase, played them like a fiddle. We all know the SMSM, Police Scotland, SFA and SPFL won’t do the slightest thing to end the disgraceful antics of these morons. IMO it now lies with the decent supporters who attend Ibrox, I know there are some, to out these reptiles. They can report these issues to stewards or police at games and note their name/numbers when they do it. And for our part if, when they do return to the premiership there needs to be ac concerted effort from every Celtic fan and the club to end this ‘old firm’ tag the SMSM and ex player pundits continually try to associate us with.

  • Iniquitous says:


    Good article. Really wish it had wider circulation.
    One question. Where and when was the accompanying photograph displaying fascist regalia taken?
    Thank you.

  • Ray says:

    I wonder, what would happen if some Celtic poet would rewrite the words of the Billy’s boys, you know, hullo hullo we are the fenian men and so on and about being up to our knees in proddy blood etc. I wonder what occur, the police couldn’t do anything, was it the SFA who condoned the knuckle draggers singing it under the premise that it was in their culture.

  • joe mccormack says:

    Whenever this subject raises it’s ugly head we hear the nonsense that it’s a faith school problem….well according to Gordon Smith anyway.
    It’s just nonsense, one of those phrases that if you repeat it often enough it becomes true.
    As a product of faith schools I was never taught or encouraged to hate anyone, in religious or any other walk of life…………the opposite was true, we were taught to respect the beliefs of others who were different from our own.
    The bigotry and sectarianism espoused on the Ibrox terraces is passed down from father to son, end of.
    However when you have institutionalised bigotry written into the constitution of the country how can you expect these morons to change their ways. If the constitution specifically targeted Jews, Muslims, Sikhs or any other religion, then there would be a public outcry, and quite rightly.
    Ah but Catholicism……..that’s fair game. Try putting this point to your MSP or MP and you won’t hear a peep from them, it’s a rather British matter that no one wants to speak about!

  • Annie says:

    I can’t believe that there are people on here staying that ‘there are fewer bigots at my club than yours’! My god take a look at yourselves these bigots are everywhere so instead of patting yourselves on the back start being honest! I’m a jambo and believe me we have our fair share. We’ve just ejected a shower of idiots who were intent on bringing shame on our club and yet they were being defended by some of our fans who passed it off as banter! Start being honest and realise that WE ALL have a problem and forget about the tinted glasses you’re looking are this through.

    • William says:

      Good on you at the hearts and Celtic game the other day did I here go home British soldiers talk about Hippocrates there every ground stop butting ya head in the sand.

  • Anthony says:

    I am an avid reader of sites and blogs concerning Sevco and all their self-inflicted troubles. However, I came to the conclusion a while back that in order to ultimately rid this country of its sectarian shame, the current incarnation of the Ibrox club should be liquidated NEVER to return. This way the undesirable elements of this club/company would have no outlet. If ‘social unrest’ is the result, then let Police Scotland deal with it. I’m sick and tired of the football authorities, politicians and the media justifying and condoning this behaviour and paying lip service to condemnation.

    • dougie says:

      If we honestly want to get rid of sectarian singing deduct 3 points off club and heavy fine; they wont sing a second time; it would be a positive step forward

  • John Smith says:

    Do you know what, i do not want this lot back at Paradise again, But unfortunately with the help of those that wear colors and sashes of a group that go out of their way to make sure that they shall be coming back to The SPL, God help us all, The waving of butchers aprons, The evil, vile, bigoted, sectarian and sick abuse that they spill out, They sing no one likes us and we dont care, That is the reason no one likes you, Infact you scum are hated worldwide, We Glasgow Celtic FC & Celtic Supporters are loved the world over, We not only have the biggest family in the world we have the best family in the world, We do not need to cheat, Our great club have an Unbroken Cheating History and you lot tried everything un-legal to try and get your Paws on The European Cup, Thats why you died trying, You have been hurting ever since 25th May 1967, When our great club lifted The European and then became Lisbon Lion Legends, God Bless Each And Everyone Of Them, You lot had frozen to death in the Shadow Of Our Great Boss Mr Jock Stein & The Big Man and our great club were the first team in Scotland to win 9 In A Row, Also just to rub it in we dont forget 7-1 League Cup drubbing in the League Cup Final, Oh Hampden in the sun, And there is more 1967 We won every domestic trophy, Then we went to Real Madrid Di Stefanos Testamonial Game and we won 1-0 and Wee Jimmy Johnstone was amazing and every man, Woman and boy, Stood up and applauded Our Lord Of The Wing and Di Stefano had to get a photo of him and wee jinky, If you want more you can always look up [OUR HISTORY] Thats Why Were Champions Hail Hail.

  • ireland.... says:

    is rangers still a football club ?

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