Allegations of Xenophobia In The Treatment Of Alfredo Morelos Are Nothing But A Smokescreen.

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A growing trend seems to be gaining momentum within the ranks of the Sevco support, and it has been highlighted by media pundits. Is has been brought up each time a certain Columbian receives punishment from a referee or the compliance panel.

It is this; Scottish football is indulging its inherent racism in the treatment of the player. James covered this in a previous piece, but I feel the need to pick up on it further.

In these heated times, with such a toxic political undercurrent, it seems quite popular to throw around terms like “racist” or “Nazi” at the drop of a hat, all the better to steer away from any actual political discussion. It is not surprising to see this tactic appropriated by the Ibrox support.

The reasons they would want to avoid a deeper discussion of racism and bigotry within the game are obvious; a club who’s fans happily sings about being up to their knees in blood of certain Irish people isn’t on great, or safe, ground when it does that.

But since the events at Celtic Park last week, this tune has been sung ever more loudly, and more recently I have been hearing it on a popular sports shows like Clyde 1, with some callers claiming Morelos is being bullied, or picked on simply due to him coming from a different country and then making excuses for his lack of discipline in matches because he is in a foreign land and has yet to become accustomed to Scotland or the Scottish league style of football.

One caller even made the comparison of “if a foreign worker was being picked on in their workplace to a point where they lash out it would be all over the press.”

Believe it or not, that is not even the maddest the Sevco support have to offer; we have seen them plummet to some depths in the past, but I think this is a dangerous line to try and take.

What they seem to be overlooking is that there are a number of foreign players in Scotland; that might come as a surprise to you. Compare Morelos’ behaviour to that of Celtics own foreign striker Odsonne Edouard, a French player, who had never been in Scotland before until he signed for Celtic on loan.

He too gets wee kicks, and noised up in games.

But not because of his colour, not because he is French and not because of any other personal vendetta. It is a simple reason really. He is a striker, and a damned good one, and it is the way the game is played in Scotland.

The real glaring difference between the two players isn’t to be found in the goals they’ve scored, although minute for minute Odsonne has the best record. It’s in the discipline file, of course, where the Frenchman has no reds and only four yellow cards.

Morelos has five red cards and seventeen yellows, which is an incredible statistic.

That is a card count many players don’t even reach in their whole career.

And on the flip side of Morelos’ claims of being bullied, you only need to watch him to laugh it off when you can see him snarl and elbow and kick, many times fairly, but just as often not. On top of the crime count he has racked up, there are a good few he has got away with too.

This does not show a player who is struggling to cope with the Scottish game, that shows a player who simply has a severe lack of discipline, and these cries of xenophobia are simply attempts by those in the Sevco ranks to look for any way to deflect away from the stuff that is wrong inside their own walls.

Ross McAtasney is a Celtic fan and blogger. He is also an admin on The CelticBlog Facebook group.

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