Why The Majority Of Scotland Wants Nothing To Do With Sunday’s Game

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If you are a hack writer for a Scottish tabloid, or one of a number of “radio personalities” who exists leeching off Scottish football, without ever contributing a penny or making a constructive point or fighting the corner of sporting integrity or standing up for the fans, you are, doubtless, looking forward to the game on Sunday.

The same applies to you if you are a Sevco fan, desperate for your club to retain some meaning in the wider world outside these shores.

If you are a Celtic fan, perhaps you’re looking forward to putting the upstart Newco in its place, seeing this as just another match albeit a cup semi-final.

The difference between the last group and the others is that the Celtic fans don’t see this as an “Old Firm game.”

There are two reasons for this, and one is more important than the other although a lot of Sevco fans refuse to believe that and always has.

The first reason – the least important of the two – is that one of the clubs that made that rivalry up, the one called Rangers, is dead and gone.

You know, people have often asked me if I would support some kind of Truth and Reconciliation effort, aimed at squeezing the puss out of Scottish football’s running sore of hate. I like the idea, and I always have. But before the reconciliation part of it comes the truth part, and that’s where we run into a roadblock and it’s what will always hold us back.

Scottish football won’t move past the events of 2012 until the media and the Sevco fans embrace, fully, the truth of what happened and nowhere in that narrative did the club survive liquidation to be “relegated” from the top flight. At no point were Rangers and its supporters “the victims” in all this, except of their own ego-fuelled stupidity.

Craig Whyte was the owner, and the fate, this club richly deserved for a decade or more of cheating and the ignorance of their support who would not accept who he was when every Celtic blog was turning out story after story on his background and modus operandi.

The real victims were the hundreds of creditors, great and small, who suffered when the club collapsed. There has never been a real acknowledgement of their fate nor that what happened was plainly and simply wrong. The Survival Myth is so abhorrent to us because it allows the supporters of the OldCo and the assorted trash in their boardroom to write those people and that money off completely, to get away, as some see it, free and clear.

(I disagree but that’s another story.)

Yet the death of Rangers is not the over-riding factor in Celtic fans not wishing to acknowledge this as an “Old Firm” game.

We hated that term long before Rangers circled the drain and swirled down the plughole.

The fixture is built on hate, nothing more, and we wanted absolutely damn all to do with it or those who used it as a totem pole to dance around.

It’s for this very reason that the media’s hoopla of the last couple of weeks has been so offensive to a lot of us, and dangerous to Scotland.

Today there’s a story in the papers which just about sums up how the vast majority of this country feels about this game. It says that domestic abusers will be removed from their homes for the duration of the match.

What a thing in which to take pride, eah?

What a thing to credit with “saving Scottish football”, an occasion so toxic that the police are worried about the safety of wives and girlfriends.

What a scandalous media we have that would embrace this instead of us helping those of us who wish only to bury it and never see it resurrected again.

Let me tell you, civic Scotland can see this one far enough.

The police and the ambulance services are not looking forward to it one bit. People who otherwise would spend Sunday in town, shopping or socialising, will spend it in their homes instead, because they can’t bear to be around drunken nutjobs spoiling for a fight.

Innocent people will be assaulted, some for wearing the wrong colours, others just for being in the wrong place at the wrong time.

Someone may well wind up seriously hurt or even dead; it is not unknown in the events surrounding the fixture our media cannot wait to have restored and shoved down the throats of the rest of the country.

All this hype and the assertion that this is healthy and something we should take some kind of twisted pride in is damaging to Scotland and to our reputation. I am the last person who you’ll ever get defending the Offensive Behaviour at Football Act but it’s weeks like this which have resulted in the overwhelming support it has in the vast majority of the population here. Most people are sick to death of all of it, and they do not welcome the “return” of this fixture in any way, shape or form and it doesn’t matter whether they reject the Survival Myth or buy into it without question; they’d rather the whole ugly spectacle went away.

Those of us in the Celtic Family who feel the same way and who, for one reason or another, are caught up in it will have to grit our teeth and simply get through it.

I want it over with, and in the past, until the media starts hyping the next instalment, and when it’s over I want to take a long shower and wash the stench of it off me.

I suspect many others feel exactly the same way.

You just don’t read our opinions in the newspapers, and on the radio they call us liars for daring to say we haven’t missed it.

If they don’t understand how we feel, we can’t explain it to them.

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