Amidst the fury emanating from the Ibrox support over UEFA’s decision today to close part of their ground for the match against Legia Warsaw is the usual whatabouttery and one rather fine, fantastic, conspiracy theory.
Let’s handle the whatabouttery first; there is a section of the Celtic support whose behaviour in recent years has been stupid beyond compare. They openly courted UEFA fines for bringing flares and smoke bombs into the ground and letting them off during European games.
How much of that have you seen happen in the last 12 months? Virtually none.
UEFA has its eyes on us, and our supporters and our directors are well aware of this.
We’ve got to stay vigilant.
We have to keep ourselves on the right side of their rules, or we will suffer a similar fate as has befallen them today, and everyone at Parkhead knows this.
Our fans have shown their willingness to take responsibility and sort out problematic behaviour.
There will always be a few idiots in any support, but at Celtic they are in a very small minority.
Whilst we have to be on our toes, I don’t foresee significant trouble for us with UEFA in the future. We’re not as daft as certain other club’s supporters are.
This site and others have been vocal in the condemnation of our tiny band of clowns.
Our support as a whole has made its views on them crystal clear; even the group some of them have tried to attach themselves to – The Green Brigade, who’s banner last night was just superb – have made it clear that they are not welcome. Celtic fans get this.
So to me, the whatabouttery is just pathetic.
It is ridiculous that there is a multi-page thread on Rangersmedia today which does little more than ask when Celtic are going to be sanctioned for a variety of imagined offences. This has nothing whatsoever to do with our club, and they would be better off if they focussed on the real problem, the one in their own house.
Of course, I’m sure you can imagine some of the responses on that thread … they pretty much make UEFA’s next case against them a mere formality; indeed, there are people who openly admit that the fans who were at Ibrox for the Progres and Copenhagen games sang the very same songs which appear to have gotten them into trouble this time.
They won’t change, and because they won’t change the total closure of that ground – which UEFA is threatening to do next – is only a matter of time.
They will blame us for that, as some of their more demented elements are doing today with this.
The “smoking gun” as some of them see it is Peter Lawwell’s appointment to a new UEFA committee, which the media flagged up last week.
This committee has exactly nothing to do with the Discipline and Control board; indeed, it’s a talking shop based around Champions League reforms. It’s a million miles away from having any input into the findings of the investigatory and disciplinary process.
But based on this most tenuous of links, a whole new conspiracy theory has been born.
That we now run UEFA as well as the SFA, with a little help from “our friends” at FARE, of course, who were being blamed for this before a prominent Ibrox blogger informed the rest that, in fact, it was the Norwegian match delegate who filed the report and not the quasi autonomous organisation which has long been a bogeyman for a section of the Ibrox support.
This focus on us, and their tendency to see the hand of Celtic in every self-inflicted wound they give themselves over there, is manifestly unhealthy.
I knew within minutes of hearing that UEFA had taken this action that we would be blamed for it.
It’s as if they can’t help themselves.
But a little self-reflection and the taking of some personal responsibility –as a section of our fan base was willing and able to do – would be far more beneficial to them than this howling at the moon.