Yesterday, I posted an article on how Matthew Knox, the young Livingston player, had sought to offer career advice to Kieran Tierney. Knox is 17, two years younger than our left back and with much less experience in the game.
Last night, I heard from someone pretty trustworthy that he did no such thing. That the entire article was a typical piece of Daily Record spinning, a lot of force feeding quotes which the paper then attributed to him and some leading questions to get where the interviewer wanted to go.
And I wasn’t surprised. I wasn’t outraged. This is what that paper does.
Young Matthew is a Celtic supporter, from a family of them. He’s a good kid, but certainly one who knows what he wants from life. If all the reports are to be believed he’s going to move, soon, probably to England where he’ll face a hard slog to establish himself at a big club. He’s not the first young player from this fair land to try that; it’ll be hard. That’s the nice way of putting it. But he deserves credit and respect for being willing to risk it.
The Daily Record could have written that sort of article about him yesterday, but that clearly wasn’t their real purpose in talking to him.
His own situation got less than one third of the article in which he was supposed to be the main feature.
The interviewer couldn’t have cared less about that.
He wanted something else. He wanted something on Kieran Tierney.
In short, he wanted to do two things. First was to hurt young Matthew amongst his fellow Celtic fans.
That didn’t work and it was never going to, because as I said in the piece this had the air of the fit-up about it. Naively, young Matthew said maybe more than he should have (if he actually said it at all; there’s some serious doubt about that) and allowed words to be put into his mouth. The rest was The Record at its finest, taking comments out of context, jiggling them around so that they fit the narrative the paper wanted. It was a reeking con job.
Secondly, The Record wanted to paint a sunny picture of life at a top English club to our young left back. As if he’s never seen the inside of a multi-million pound training complext before. As if he’s never played in front of 60,000 fans. It’s a pitiful effort, I’m afraid.
The Record will do anything to mess with us.
Matthew Knox is still a kid for God’s sake, and the paper knew exactly how easy it would be to do. And there’s ample proof that there’s been a backlash against them for doing it; the article itself has now been amended in ways that change the tone significantly, possibly as a result of complaints by the player or those close to him.
But it’s typical of The Record to force its own editorial line into the mouth of someone else.
The Record has a piece today naming the “Six Talents Scottish Football Can’t Do Without” and Tierney is in there along with Dembele. But so too is Barry MacKay, who not one word has been written about urging him to leave Scotland. The paper has also included Kilmarnock striker Souleymane Coulibaly, who looks a certainty to be gone before the window shuts.
The Record is being especially slippery with this piece; it’s their way of trying to deny that they are actively in the business of trying to unsettle two of our best players. “Oh Scottish football needs them!” they’ll say, and point to today’s piece.
But I can point to other articles in the last few weeks about how Celtic are “too strong” and that for the good of the game they should be brought low. About how our players need to leave in order to “fulfil their potential” … you get the drift.
This is daily now, and absolutely relentless.
Today the paper is spinning conspiracy theories about Peter Lawwell. (I’ll be covering that later today.)
Yesterday it was putting words in the mouth of a 17 year old, urging one of our best players – and Scotland’s best assets – to leave the league and move south.
And on and on this goes, and until our club bans this publication from the ground it will continue to.