Yesterday, Police Scotland put the onus for security at tomorrow’s game on the behaviour of fans. This is a cop-out, and a typical one. Calls for self-policing are all well and good coming from the blogs. That’s just supporters trying to make sure that their fellow fans know what’s at stake, the reputation of the club included.
But I don’t want to hear self-policing talk from the actual police. That’s tantamount to saying that any outbreak of serious disorder on the day isn’t their fault.
Worse than that, by putting the onus on fans they’ve let the Ibrox club itself off the hook and it’s high time something changed on that front.
Am I starting to drift in the direction of Strict Liability?
Let me tell you, I could be sold on it. I really could. Depending on how tomorrow goes, I might be further down the line than I’ve ever been.
Because I am still seriously concerned about the security arrangements and the safety of our fans at that game, and leaving them in the “capable” hands of the organisers – the people who cut the allocation in the first place, with their piece of dangerous pandering to their own – is not something that fills me with any enthusiasm or confidence at all.
I have no idea what the security arrangements are for the game … but that the Ibrox club were in advanced discussions with the police over “netting” is a fact, and that it was being considered at all tells you that they know, that everyone involved in this game knows, that there’s a serious risk to our fans.
If Police Scotland wanted to ensure the safety of our fans at tomorrow’s game they should be telling it to the club that’s hosting the event, not threatening our supporters.
Ibrox was a high-risk venue even before King’s stunt at the start of the season.
During previous visits to to play the NewCo, a fan has attacked one of our players on the pitch, Scott Sinclair has been subjected to racist abuse, objects including golf balls have been flung onto the park … during the match in which Brown had to deal with the idiot who squared up to him the stewarding was focussed almost entirely on penning in the away supporters … our fans, who did nothing wrong.
A mate sent me a picture of the action, taken after the Brown incident.
There’s a yellow line in front of our fans … and hardly a sign of anybody trying to keep the Ibrox horde under control. I am not remotely convinced that our supporters will be safe tomorrow. I am even less convinced that our players will be.
This situation has been entirely caused by the Ibrox club; I will never stop repeating that, because it’s a fact and everyone knows it. They created the conditions under which a handful of our fans will travel to a fixture they’ve deliberately amped into a high-risk one.
The responsibility for ensuring that our supporters are safe falls on them.
In Italy, a dreadful incidence of racist abuse at the weekend has resulted in the closure of Inter Milan’s ground for two matches. That is the kind of robust action the SFA should be willing to take, under existing guidlines which they instead use as an excuse to do nothing.
Celtic players and our fans will suffer a lot more than some abuse tomorrow.
I see no sign of Police Scotland or the SFA taking this as seriously as they should.
You can discuss this and and all the other stories by signing up at the Celtic Noise forum at the above link. This site is one of the three that has pushed for the forum and we urge all this blog’s readers to join it. Show your support for real change in Scottish football, by adding your voice to the debate.