Leigh Griffiths is all the rage today, in the media and on the blogs.
Nutty assertions that he has given Gerrard his team-talk aside, there is actually a serious side to these stories today and it is Leigh pointing out that his celebrations at Ibrox have a history that goes back to Rangers players celebrating with a huddle at Celtic Park in 1999.
Leigh is saying what all of us knows already, that the so-called “police memo” of last month was a nonsense and the idea that our players should not celebrate in front of their own fans, after big results, is a joke. This is part and parcel of football. It’s been around as long as the game, and that some in Scotland now want to make it an issue suggests that the problem is more with the club doing the celebrating than the celebrating itself.
But Leigh got to the heart of another unspoken truth at the same time; that everyone at Celtic, whether that’s in the stands or inside the boardroom or boot-room, is well aware that we’d be eating a mountain of dirt if the shoe was on the other foot.
Christ, we had to endure three whole days of non-stop, incessant, gloating last week when a certain other club was temporarily top of the league. We also had to endure a cycle of taunts about how they were coming for us and how we’d crack under the pressure.
Can you even imagine what it would be like if they actually won something?
People need to step outside of the fantasy that our club is somehow arrogant.
I think, in fact, that we are remarkably restrained for a team with our record. Our players, our management team, I can’t remember the last time one of them ran off at the mouth when there was business to be done on the pitch. These days the focus is unbelievable.
Oh yes, we certainly make sure that we are heard after the fact, but then there’s usually a good reason for that, such as when a certain club’s players cheered when they drew us in the cup last season because they believed their own hype and the media stories about how we were in decline. Our players were fully entitled to rub their noses in that a wee bit, but we kept it in moderation. Still, they squealed like pigs anyway.
Now, today, the accusation is that Griffiths’ comments could have “consequences” for public order at the end of the month. Again, this is a more telling insinuation than some of those making it are aware, and especially with last night’s story about how officials at Ibrox and the police are talking about netting Celtic fans in for their own safety.
If a guy making a joke in a newspaper can spark people into wanting to hurt him then I’d suggest those people should be in jail already and the media should cease pandering to them and stand up for the sport and drive them out of the stands forever.
Celtic players and fans know all this sniping comes down to envy.
The bitterness of certain people simply cannot be contained. They are going to take shots at us, whatever we do, as long as we keep on winning. And for all their protestations, for all their wailing about wanting people to act responsibly, we know how they will act should they ever have the upper hand.
We’ll never hear the end of it.
And we know that because we’ve been there before.
They might have short memories, but we don’t.
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