Yesterday, Sevco fans plumbed the gutter in that way they have which is unique to them.
They sang songs about child abuse.
They cheered an injury to a Celtic player.
And then they fell silent.
Silence has never sounded sweeter, because their songbook is more abhorrent than ever. This is what cup semi-final day means to them; a chance to revel in hate. A chance to embarrass themselves off the park as their two-bob team was embarrassed on it.
I am frankly sick of writing about these disgusting specimens, but they give me reason time and time again. A section of that club’s support crawled out of a sewer and they seem determined to make all of us swim in it. They have no shame. They have no decency whatsoever. Some of the pictures on their sites of the banners they put out – such as one about Martin McGuiness and various others about Jock Stein – make you shake your head in wonderment at just how vile they are.
The picture that accompanies this piece wasn’t there yesterday, but it’s a fair approximation of what we’re dealing with.
Do these people have no concept of how it makes the outside world view them?
They heap disgrace on top of disgrace.
They cannot lift themselves above this stuff.
In case they haven’t noticed yet, their club is in a world of trouble right now. They are staring disaster in the face on any number of fronts. If they think things are bad, wait awhile. They are about to get a Hell of a lot worse. I’ll be writing about that in more detail later, but what continues to amaze me is that amidst this mounting crisis they are pouring bile at the whole world. Their club is in dire straits, and they are part of the problem. A big part.
People inside that club need to find a way of selling it to the wider world, or they are going to stagnate and die. Do they not understand that? They call themselves Rangers, and even if they still were that’s nothing in the grand scheme of things.
Five years out of European football, a brand that no longer has juice, they are literally shrinking.
They are wholly dependent on a core support which isn’t getting younger. Will the next generation follow the club with the same fervour as this one? At their present level, of living in our shadow, I doubt it. Some of the folk in their boardroom know this, but the club has wrapped itself in this shady “culture” whose adherents are few in number and seen by the rest of the world as entirely backward and ridiculous. They cannot sell this.
Celtic is a cosmopolitan football club. We have reached out to the wider world. We have built friendships and connections and alliances. We have embraced diversity. A lot of people decry some of the politics in the stands, but that has widened our networks far beyond Scotland; Celtic is a name recognised across the world for supporting causes and peoples from the Americas to Asia. It’s not a coincidence that we’ve grown and continue to thrive. Even accounting for the grip the EPL has on the consciousness of football fans across the world our name is known and we are admired and respected, and yes, even loved.
They cannot say the same. Virtually unknown outside of the UK, their troubles of the last five years, and Rangers before them, have revealed that there’s no-one outside of their own support who would go out of their way to help if they ran into difficulties. Their club will die unless someone is willing to help save it … and there’s no chance of that right now, whilst large sections of the support embrace the sickness that briefly wafted out of the stands yesterday.
And it was just briefly, because before long the sullen silence fell over them as they realised that the fantasies they’d harboured of being superior to us evaporated. They watched as they were outplayed by a Celtic team that had plenty left in the tank at full-time and continues to motor towards an incredible, once in a million years accomplishment.
That silence is the story of their future; it is mirrored by that which comes out of the boardroom when asked what the long-term plan, that which ought to be enforced on some of their stupider players. It will fall over the whole of their club one day, the silence of death.
Right now not a single person outside of Ibrox would mourn them.
The gutter-rat section of their supporter is seeing to that very well.