Yes Leigh, You Ought To Have Respected The Tender Sensibilities Of Bottle Throwing Sectarian Scum.

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Leigh Griffiths is being disciplined by UEFA for “provocation” at Linfield. Is it a reference to his 5-1 salute? His tying the scarf to the post? Or simply being in a Celtic shirt, as part of an Invincible team which was edging towards the Champions League Groups?

Because wearing those colours is all the provocation a lot of people require.

Look, essentially I have no argument with what UEFA is doing here.

Those actions were daft, especially in the context of where the player was.

But really, what a society it is that we live in where anyone has to “respect” the emotional delicacy of psychopaths, and the rights not to be offended of bottle throwing sectarian song singing scum.

I agree with those who think a certain breed of football fan has no right to the respect afforded to the rest of us.

There are some of them who think having a match ticket entitles them to spend 90 minutes venting the most atrocious, hate-filled sentiments at anyone on the opposing team (and not a few of their own players).

It’s why I never had a problem with what Eric Cantona did at Palace; if that guy had met him on a night out I’m betting he wouldn’t have dared give him that kind of verbal. As with the internet, the safety of the mob gives a lot of cardboard hard-men big ideas about how tough they actually are, and they can give it out all day long … but they don’t handle it nearly so well when somebody gives it right back to them.

UEFA’s concern is with behaviour that could spark crowd trouble, but when do we get into the mentality of the crowd itself? Griffiths and the rest of our team spent the entire match running a gauntlet of vicious insults and thrown objects. And yes, what he did at the end tipped a couple of people over the edge. But those are the kind of people who ought not to be in a football ground in the first place. They ought not to be walking the streets.

Celtic will also face sanction for the five bookings we got in the game; this is a ridiculous rule that is used across Europe now. It’s supposed to be to curtail the trend some managers have towards sending out a team of assassins. The trouble is, it punishes teams for innocuous incidents and moments of refereeing half-wittery. One of our five bookings was for Leigh himself. For “wasting time” complaining about being targeted from the stands … with numerous objects, any one of which could have caused serious injury.

Celtic have solid grounds for telling the UEFA delegate to wipe his backside with that particular charge-sheet.

It’s a joke to indict us on that one.

As I said, I have no problem with UEFA charging Leigh. He should have shown more common sense, although this is a ritual he has repeated at several grounds in Scotland. The nastiness of the occasion should have brought him to some sense. He’ll probably get a ban for it, which will impact on the team and I hope Brendan and the club take appropriate action as a result … but the feeling will persist long after the event that he’s actually being done because the rules themselves are a little ridiculous, that we pander too much to nutjobs and eejits instead of focussing on what makes them such hateful people in the first place.

It’s a daft rule, but we can’t pick and choose those we follow I’m afraid.

Others in Scottish football do enough of that as it is.

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