Desperate Hacks Still Trying To Turn Sevco Semi Final Into Something More

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Today, David McCarthy at The Record is gushing, like a fanboy, over the coming semi-final between Celtic and Sevco.

The article has all the usual nonsense in it; a re-tread of the Survival Myth, suggestions as to why Sevco will win, attempts to put pressure on Celtic and an attempt to answer Neil Lennon’s claim about Warburton (what did I tell you about that? Questioning him is the one thing that simply won’t be allowed) …

It’s all the stuff you would expect from a Record hack.

It’s a typical puff piece, the sort a first year journalism student could turn out in his sleep, and one which wouldn’t get him many marks from a tutor. It’s an opinion piece that doesn’t even try to build an argument or support the central assertion, and it’s that which simply cannot be left to go unchallenged, the claim that forms the headline, one that is absolutely unsupportable and even dangerous to the game here.

“Build up to semi-final proves Scottish football needs Celtic and Rangers games” that headline says.

At no time does he make any effort to explain why, except that he and his hack mates have written a lot of stuff about it.

It clearly matters to them. That’s beyond doubt.

But does it matter to a lot of others?

Does it matter to the game as a whole?

The Record caters to a small audience, that’s a well-known fact. That audience is shrinking every single day. Their sales figures have been in free-fall for years, and have now reached the point where they’ve settled around a group towards whom all coverage is tailored. Celtic fans do not read the paper, but even when they did the core demographic has always been those who follow the Ibrox teams. They’re now all the Record has left.

That audience definitely cares about this game.

They all see it as an “Old Firm” match, a term we didn’t even like or use when the two clubs which made that rivalry actually existed. When theirs died the last vestiges of it died too. Their indecent effort to build a simple match between our side and their Newco, in a cup semi final, into something approaching it … it’s unwelcome.

It is most definitely not something we “need” in our lives.

Nor do I think Scottish football “needs it.”

There are two semi-finals here, after all, and the amount of media attention one of them is getting is pretty ridiculous and demeaning to the other. I’ll bet half the hacks couldn’t even tell you who the teams in that other game are – that’s how little they give a damn about our national sport outside their own little bubble.

Hibs and Dundee Utd (there you go, hacks, go and write it down somewhere) have as much to play for as either Celtic or Sevco. Both clubs have suffered severe disappointment this season and need to win. That encounter will be every bit as thrilling as the game in which Celtic are involved in, and perhaps more so; there’s no glaring disparity between those two sides in terms of quality, for a start. It will be a balanced, evenly contested match.

What does the media’s effort to restore a rivalry that’s dead, and which one half doesn’t want and never did, actually accomplish?

That’s a simple one too; it’s a brick in the wall of “Brand Rangers”, another attempt to connect the NewCo with the dead club, a way of plugging them into something important. The “Old Firm” game was, if you believe the hype, “the biggest derby match in the world” and whatever you think of that (I think it’s cobblers, myself) it’s always been seen as some kind of reference point for Scottish football.

I think that was dangerous because it reduced our game to just two clubs, but I understand why a down on its luck, skint, Sevco and its media supporters would want to build this game into that one.

Let’s not sugar coat it; it’s clutching onto the legs of Celtic, an effort to rise on our backs, it’s clinging to our coat-tails like a beggar.

Sevco needs Celtic. Celtic doesn’t need them. It’s as simple as that. This game is vital to Sevco because it allows them to look as if they’re still important, still relevant, still connected to something bigger than themselves. Because without this rival what is Sevco, really?

A Scottish second tier Newco, friendless and skint.

(They’re those things anyway.)

Unique selling point?

A large body of supporters who’ve lost touch with reality and some of whom still live in the 17th Century.

Not exactly the kind of club one would want to “invest in.”

There are people in Scottish football who “need” this game, but most of them have some allegiance to Ibrox and all of them are definitely stuck in the past and don’t want to move on from it. But the rest of the game has moved on.

It’s just another cup semi-final, and one I expect Celtic to win.

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