The honey being poured in the ears of the Ibrox supporters by their own club and by some sections of the press was summed up for me yesterday in a single image; it was above a particularly gilded paragraph of purple prose in congratulating them for behaving for a couple of games.
The picture was of the despicable banner they unveiled at the Celtic game, one of the games when their behaviour was, allegedly, beyond reproach.
This is the staggering, and startling, disconnect between the way the media wants the world to perceive the Ibrox support and how the world actually does see them. The paedo chants replaced the ones about being up to their knees in fenian blood on 1 September, and that ugly flag with all its ghastly connotations was shamefully displayed.
Forgive me if I do not join the cacophony of applause.
Nobody should be trying to kid on that the Ibrox support has been “reformed.”
As a teaching tool, it is a good trick to be able to instil fear of dire consequences in your subjects to make them toe the line but it’s no substitute for people possessed of the simply knowledge that some behaviours are just pure and simply wrong. That message hasn’t got through.
To be brutally honest, I think it’s way too late for that.
The last time The Billy Boys was banished from the Ibrox stands it was replaced – let’s not forget – by an even more toxic ditty, the Famine Song. God knows what will rise out of the sewers to replace it this time, but we can make a pretty good guess and if you heard it sung at a party you were at things would end up outside on the pavement.
I think that all that mutual back-slapping from earlier in the week – because they got through a couple of matches without singing one particular song – was not only nauseating but grossly misplaced. It’s the same when their team wins a couple of matches on the bounce; once again everything in the garden is rosy and they “have momentum.”
And it always hits the wall, just as it will here eventually.
It might not come tonight, but it will happen because it’s in that club’s DNA and it’s been there since, at least, the moment Charles Green stood on a pitch and in the most ironic statement in the history of the game accused the rest of Scottish football of behaving in a sectarian manner towards the club.
Any chance they had for a new beginning went by the boards that day; the whole bigoted karaoke was belted out and it’s been getting belted out ever since. There is a section of that support that cannot help itself. They will continue to place their club in peril.
That’s why I was amazed at all the euphoria and self-congratulation. It is majorly premature. Nothing has changed except that they realise UEFA is watching, but they’ve known that for a while and it didn’t stop them from getting here. It’s only a matter of time.
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