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One Painful Lesson Hasn’t Been Enough For Ibrox Fans. That’s Why Another Is On Its Way.

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There’s an old aphorism about the utility of pain as a learning tool; the burned hand teaches best.

Don’t try that at home, folks, and I’d council especially against adopting it as an educational standard for your kids, for obvious reasons.

If there was a Scottish version, it would probably be concerned more with ruptured testicles than burned hands. You know the type of person who would doubtless benefit from such a learning experience. But as much fun as it’d be to watch, its effectiveness wouldn’t be guaranteed.

There are some doubts over whether this stuff actually works.

There are certain people who do stupid things over and over and over again. I’ll give you one example, without naming names. A girl I was once friends with used to mourn the number of men in her life who’d used her and taken advantage. One evening she asked me what I’d assumed was a rhetorical question about whether or not we’re all scumbags. When I realised she genuinely did want a response I thought it was time to give her a little brutal truth.

I told her that throughout everything I’d heard her say about the opposite sex there was one common denominator; her.

“Your problem,” I said, “is that you have lousy taste.”

She didn’t appreciate that.

We’ve not properly spoken since.

But the point stands; some folk just never learn, and no matter how much they hurt they still grab the pot handle time after time. They still stick their fingers in the fire or get them caught where they don’t belong. A pattern of destructive behaviour is what defines them.

Now, I don’t know if an inordinate number of those people follow Sevco or supported Rangers before it – I’d read a social science study on the phenomenon with great interest – but there’s little doubt that the Peepil are on the bottom of the curve when it comes to drawing appropriate lessons from historical catastrophes.

It’s pretty clear to those of us who’re looking that a new catastrophe is coming and they aren’t even close to being mentally prepared for that.

Now, I am a Celtic fan, of course, and this is a Celtic blog.

The question I’m asked over and over again is why I spend so much time and effort on them.

I could say, as I have before, that my own club is boring by comparison, or that Celtic is in such a good position that we have the luxury of indulging in a little schadenfreude, or that Ibrox is the home of the freak show and the freak show has always drawn a crowd.

I’ve used those arguments umpteen times over the years, but the actual truth is a hybrid of all those reasons and others.

The obvious answer is that they fascinate me, as someone who’s got a sociology qualification and a media degree. They are like a giant puzzle I can never quite figure out and at the root of it is their ability to live in a wee world of their own, unencumbered by facts or logic.

In some ways they’re like the Republican voters you see on these days, trying to defend their absurd support for their party nominee when the rest of the world can see, clearly, that he’s dangerously, even wilfully, ignorant, paranoid, misogynist, unsophisticated, arrogant, a pathological liar and a sociopath. God forbid we ever have to pay the price for their own lack of an education grounded in pain. There will definitely be enough to go around.

But to get back to the point at hand; Sevco are content to live outside of reality.

There is something comforting in make-believe.

The lunatic asylums are filled to the rafters with people who sit and smile all day long, lost in the fog of fantasy, where they really are sitting on the Iron Throne or presiding over an empire that constantly requires the re-drawing of the map. Nothing is quite so satisfying as the idea you’re superior to everybody else.

In that regard, I understand where they’re coming from even if I find it absurd. Sevco have retreated into the comfort zone of imaginary things, of chocolate rivers and Oopma Loompas. That’s their business, of course, and most of the time we’d be happy to leave them there but this club’s fans have a tendency to explode at the slightest provocation or setback and we all realise that they’ll not simply accept the crash of reality in good grace.

The problems they face are enormous; I’ll be covering them over on Fields, in some detail, later this week and you’ll be astonished when you realise the size of this. Their fans will deny it all, of course, as they denied predictions about Rangers falling into the same trouble, but denial won’t change one fact or circumstance and that’s the problem for them.

I already know, and so do you, how they’ll chose to respond when the next crisis sweeps over them.

They’ll do what they always do; blame someone else.

If I wasn’t amused by their conduct it would still be worthwhile to write about them, because when things go wrong over there the urge is always to lash out, to look for scapegoats, to say it’s because the rest of the world hates them. That affects us, one way or another.

Outside of the small country where we live, of course, the rest of the world barely knows they exist but this hasn’t stopped State Aid and others from imagining vast conspiracies involving all manner of social, political and business organisations, as though a football club from Scotland with delusions of grandeur really merited such Machiavellian intrigue.

In truth, they have been run by a collection of stupid people, those whose negligence was profound and yes, even a few dodgy geezers who saw only money. But the awful truth for them is that we told them all that at the time and we’re telling them now that King is the possibly the worst of the lot of them, that he has no clear idea what happens next or what to do and that he’s walking them off the cliff. They’re just not getting it. They’ve burned their hand already trusting in Whyte Knights and Blue Heaven.

When do they start to think things through?

Their club has posted losses year on year. They have no credit line from a bank, no overdraft facilities and season tickets as their only reliable source of income, and that money was bagged months ago and they are eating through it like termites.

It is going to run out, and when it does the generosity of its current board members – or the gullibility of their fan organisations – are all that will between them and the shame of a new Ibrox administration event.

We aren’t making this up.

It’s simple mathematics, like that which governs the sinking of a ship or the tipping point on a set of scales.

It is certain.

They’ve learned nothing, in spite of a lot of historical pain.

The next lesson is coming and it might well leave them with no more left to learn.

It could very well wipe them out, forever.

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