One of the stories that tickled me this week was Scott Arfield’s mouthy media interview where he talked in an endless loop about the game two weeks ago, the one that seems like it happened a hundred years back. He’s not the only one who’s been doing this on a constant cycle and it’s for that reason more than any that I just want to get back to football again, because the big-talk from over there is every bit as tiresome and boring as I expected it to be.
But Arfield’s comments made me laugh.
To read the press you’d think that this was a player re-invented as a superstar. Forget that it’s based on one game.
Whenever he’s played in this campaign the Ibrox fan sites have been generally underwhelmed by his performances. But he knows the way to the NewCo hearts; one good game against Celtic, and a series of gum-bumping interviews and he can devolve back to his duff performances, knowing he’s bought himself some leeway.
He’s a limited footballer, and won’t ever be anything else.
Like many others on the periphery of Ibrox, Arfield has learned the only thing worth knowing over there.
He’s learned how to play the Peepul like a fiddle.
They are never happier than when “one of their own” is tearing a strip off a Celtic player, and there is no bigger and better target in their eyes than our captain Scott Brown, who Arfield was so dismissive of in the interview.
This whole confected story tickles me for so many reasons.
First is that Arfield’s Crowning Moment Of Awesome in the eyes of their fans was his alleged “doing of the Broony.”
But read the actual interview.
Before he shamelessly claims the credit for it you get one blinding flash of insight and honesty when he admits that he didn’t even realise he’d done it until somebody drew his attention to it after the game, at which time the pictures “went viral.”
Not that viral, since I wasn’t even aware of the story until Arfield mentioned it himself. I presume he means on the websites of the Ibrox fan-base, where over and over again they demonstrate the truth at the heart of the saying “simple pleasures for simple minds.”
Here’s what it comes down to; he didn’t even do it intentionally. They say that imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, but this guy didn’t even have the wit and imagination to do Brown the honour of the impersonation. He was simply standing with his arms out and he happened to get caught on camera.
He admits this himself.
It was only afterwards that he grabbed hold of the connotation from other people, and tried to pretend that it was what he had intended all along.
Even more embarrassing is that he has deluded himself that Brown actually cares. Look at the now famous picture; Brown is walking away from him, his back turned to the gesture. It’s doubtful he even saw it until it was likewise brought to his attention.
The mentality behind this intrigues me.
The Broony was eight years ago next month, so long ago that he did it against a club that was actually called Rangers, and not one simply masquerading under that name.
It’s incredible to me that it still needles the Peepul so much after that length of time.
For God’s sake, no other fans in world football obsess so much over every perceived slight, every perceived wrong, every perceived snub and barb. Even accounting for the stupidity of the Survival Lie, this really is desperate stuff. The days of “dignity” are long gone.
Arfield says he “couldn’t care” what Brown thinks of it.
Which is almost certainly all that stops Arfield from crying himself to sleep at night at the futility of the gesture because Brown himself clearly hasn’t a care in the world, and has probably not given it the slightest thought.
He and the rest of our squad are focussed on their downtime and their preparations for the second part of this campaign, doing so from the top of the pile with a trophy already secured.
Had we won at Ibrox, our players would have put the game in the rear-view mirror the following day.
That’s how we handle every result, victory, draw or defeat because the only game that really matters is the next one, something the Ibrox squad has yet to properly learn.
It’s why so many of their alleged “turned the corner” moments end with a head-on collision with the wall of reality.
None of them appears to realise that the game is finished, that it’s a one-day story, that in this case glory wasn’t just fleeting but lasted about as long as the stink of a particularly noxious fart at a party. For a brief moment it makes you want to gag, but then it passes and everyone orders another drink and it’s forgotten about until someone brings it up the following year.
“Oh God, remember that?” someone says. Everyone’s nose’s wrinkle. Somebody comes round with a bowl of nuts. Everyone grabs a handful. Beer bottles clink together. Everyone starts drinking again. Nobody brings it up. Because it’s not even a footnote in history.
Celtic has already moved past this game.
So has Scott Brown.
We are getting ready for what comes next, not basking in the glow of the triumph of still being second.
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