When did Hampden become the place we most commonly associate with the enemies of Scottish football? That used to be Ibrox, didn’t it? But now that ground is a place that induces mirth and derision. There’s no longer anything to fear there, and their rabid board seems determined to make life hard for itself, instead of for the rest of us.
No, as the fans of all clubs now know, but as Celtic fans are most acutely aware, the real problem resides in the bowels of the National Stadium.
The problem lies with the SFA.
We know this because Celtic fans have been locking horns with them for a while now, over Resolution 12, the reform agenda and other things. We know this because when refs went on strike a few years ago – for more money; don’t let anyone kid you – the SFA was content to allow lies to gain credence that it was because of intimidation from our club. We know this because they kowtow to the Ibrox operation, and bend the game for it, at every turn in the road.
Celtic fans will go to Hampden today because they have to, because this is history, this is a cup final where the 100th trophy is on the line and Brendan is on the cusp of a treble. But it’s getting increasingly difficult to convince our fans that going to that ground is something they should commit to doing on any other basis. The Sevco semi’s have hidden a truth the SFA would rather not face; our supporters consider giving money to the organisation as some sort of tacit show of support, and they would rather not even give off the appearance of that.
By and large, Celtic fans will no longer go to watch Scotland because we don’t want to give an organisation we consider to be corrupt even the slightest financial benefit. Hampden itself is a perfectly decent stadium – although a fully repaired Ibrox would make it only the third best ground in this city – but those who inhabit it are not trusted at all.
To see Brendan win his first trophy as boss, Celtic fans will grin and bear it. But there’s a real feeling here that before long we’re going to be back at this ground with many thousands of others in a bid to see the SFA hierarchy swept away. The next time the clubs meet there for an AGM there ought to be a mass protest on the doorstep, to show them exactly how deep the anger is at what they’ve allowed to happen to our national sport.
That day will come, as surely as I sit here.
The next time Celtic fans go to Hampden it won’t be for a cup game.