Date: 14th October 2019 at 12:16pm
Written by:

20,000 people turned out to see that last night. In teeming rain. Amidst the ruination of another qualifying campaign.

I don’t know whether that’s a credit to the Tartan Army or something that should see the issuing of committal papers for a whole lot of people.

Many of them paid £30 a time as well. Which is why the SFA so brazenly charged it.

When you can bring 20,000 people out of their homes, get them to pay over the odds and all for a match with nothing at stake which they could have watched for free on the telly, then you know you’re on a winner and you’re under no pressure to change.

I didn’t even watch it on the telly. I found a halfway decent box-set to watch and stuck that on instead. I took some down time. Scotland games feel like work, there’s no joy involved in them at all. That was a mid-season friendly last night, of no consequence.

Except it could have had the direst consequences.

We had four players involved in the squad for that nothing encounter and three of them started. One of them, Callum McGregor, needs a time-out more than any other player in football. The one area where Scotland does have decent players to select from is in midfield. I have to admit, when I heard Clarke’s team-selection last night it seriously irked me.

It irked me in the way it will irk me if Lennon plays McGregor in the first Scottish Cup tie, which will doubtless be against a lower league team.

There’s no value to having that boy in a game like that, it’s an utter waste.

We risked three of our most important players last night for absolutely no benefit whatsoever.

A “test” against San Marino?

An SPL select of non-internationals should have been able to handle that with ease.

There was a time when a lot of supported the national team in their endeavours.

It seems like a long time and a lot of managers ago.

A lot of Celtic fans switched off after 2012 when they decided – rightly – that we owed the SFA no loyalty or backing in any way, shape or form. Some of us hung grimly in there, choosing to support manager and players even if we detested those sitting above them in the structure.

The hiring of McLeish was a breaking point for a lot of us.

At that point I realised that we were on a fool’s errand, that those who had said we should do nothing to back any SFA scheme were correct. Whilst I was glad to see Clarke get the gig I don’t have any wish to support what he’s trying to do if it inconveniences Celtic one bit.

As far as I’m concerned, the McLeish appointment forfeited any legitimacy the SFA had left. No wonder the mood has shifted so decisively. The disgraceful decision to hire an EBT recipient was the last insult that many of us were willing to endure from the national association

Instead we tolerate Clarke, because he’s a good man in an impossible job. But even then I don’t feel any hesitation in slamming him for his team selection, especially that of McGregor, when there was nothing at stake except a little bit of pride.

That they reckon pride has been restored by beating San Marino tells you how far its fallen. The same people were patting themselves on the back after we beat Albania last year … the nightmare in Kazakhstan was just around the corner.

I am just glad all our players made it back without injury.

For the rest, I couldn’t care less.

There are two more games in this farcical campaign left to go – slap bang in the middle of a November when we have massive games in three competitions.

I wouldn’t be surprised if a “flu bug” swept the Celtic camp and ruled our guys out of them both.

In fact, I’ll be pretty appalled if one doesn’t.

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