Scottish Football’s Circle Of Shame Just Loves To Insult Celtic And Our Supporters.

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Earlier this week, because Scotland managed a narrow win over a third tier team, Graham Speirs joined the chorus of media hacks slamming those of us who think the appointment of Alex McLeish is a scandal and one that will end in disaster.

His snipe about McLeish having achievements in football which some of his detractors don’t is typical of some of the defences offered in mitigation of this disgraceful decision in that ignores the central point many of us are trying to make.

This is deliberate, of course, but it betrays a certain contempt.

God forbid we should actually have a serious national conversation about why Scottish football is one of the few sporting environments where people involved in an historic cheating scandal are allowed to assume high office in the association where it took place. What would the world be coming to if we had a debate like that?

A better one, I think. And that’s why this attitude is so infuriating.

Several years ago, I had a long-term relationship break up over one argument. The argument itself took place about a year before I called it quits with the girl in question, but I realise now that we never got past that argument and all the subsequent tension and frustration which built towards the end were directly related to that fact.

See, the argument itself which I won’t bore you with the details of, was one of those where both parties feel aggrieved and believe the other person is being wholly unreasonable, and I use the word wholly very deliberately. In those sort of arguments, the very worst thing you can do is become entrenched in that view. So I tried to see things from her perspective and when I did I realised I was able to apologise for my own part in it.

Which is what adults are supposed to do, right?

But what I got instead of a meeting of minds was a complete blank refusal to even consider things from where I stood. It wasn’t that she disagreed with my point of view, it was that she would not even acknowledge that I was right to have a different one from her in the first place. And I can deal with many things in a relationship but that’s not one of them.

Equally, I am sick fed up reading opinion pieces spitting venom at “Celtic fans” for the views that we hold, as if putting on the green and white scarf of this club was an act that negated any right we have to take a position on what went on in Scottish football in the decade up to and six years since 2012. They hurl back our identity at us as if it were a term of abuse, as if we have no right to express our views on the way we were cheated for more than ten years.

It is the first time, anywhere, that I’ve heard the victims of an act of deplorable cheating being told to sit down and shut up about it.

Where do these people get off saying that to us? Who do they think they are?

They accuse us of partisanship here, of having an agenda; to that I say “You’re goddamned right we have an agenda.” It’s easy to say “move on” when it wasn’t your club that was robbed, when it wasn’t your support which endured years of bragging from a guy who was basically running a scam, and one we all ended up paying for.

It’s easy to say all that when you are one of the people who has taken money out of the game – players, managers, journalists – instead of putting it in. It’s easy to hold those opinions when you are part of “the club”, the clique, the social circle where everyone knows everyone else and people like Speirs are more interested in seeing that their mates are alright than with whether or not the game itself is healthy.

I never like to talk about the size of Celtic when I’m writing one of these articles, but we’re the biggest club in this country. We have the most committed fan-base (yes, yes we do, Sevconuts, like it or not) and we bring more wealth to the game than any other side. If journalists and administrators want to ignore us – worse, if they want to insult us – they better know that it will come with consequences. We are not going to be pushed into a corner as if we were no more than naughty children.

In no other country would the biggest club be routinely ignored like this, marginalised, treated as if it were less than the rest.

That attitude will just lead to further trouble.

Speirs is just the latest to try to dismiss us and our opinions, as if there is not the slightest validity to them, as if our anger was some kind of artificial construct.

This is like an argument we’re just never going to get past, because until someone acknowledges that we have a legitimate grievance and until a fully independent inquiry takes a good look at the way football in this country is run, and has been run, the anger will fester, the frustration will mount and eventually an entire generation of fans is going to be lost to it, because it is tone deaf to any opinion it doesn’t like.

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