Date: 20th January 2020 at 7:33pm
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It was interesting to read The Sun’s “Exclusive” on Celtic’s EPL plan over the weekend.

Interesting not for the content but for the way in which it all seemed terribly familiar.

The hack who wrote it may have claimed that it was “all his own work” but I’d read the story some time ago; in fact, it was Phil who broke that story, earlier this month.

How can it be that a journalist who lives on the other side of the Irish Sea can beat our hacks to this stuff time and time again?

Those who slag this guy and claim he has no sources should really take a look back over his body of work and think again.

He has his critics – which of us doesn’t? – but he has proved himself one of the best in the business and he keeps on doing so in spite of them.

Ultimately, this was his story … even if he’s not given the credit for it.

The story itself is one of the saddest I’ve read in many a year.

It reveals Peter Lawwell to be a charlatan of the worst kind, privately proposing the continuation of the “Old Firm” brand that he publicly said the club renounced. How many other brazen falsehoods has he pushed in the course of the last few years?

Our club’s so called “independence” from the Ibrox club has been revealed as nothing more than a barefaced lie.

Fans were not to be involved. We probably wouldn’t even have been consulted until the all the background stuff was already in hand and the offer to England already made.

The contempt it all shows for us, and the wider game in this country, is diabolical.

For all that, the proposal was barely serious, and not even remotely credible.

That somehow makes it worse. It was based on ridiculous assertions about Celtic and Rangers’ attractiveness to the EPL. Does it look, from here, as if that league needs us? What would we bring to it which it doesn’t already have? The setup down there is awash in money; what could we add to it?

There appeared to be no plan for getting us there, so this entreaty was nothing but desperate fishing. There are two ways into that league, and I would not support either.

The first is to be invited, and that would only happen if we were willing to start somewhere lower on England’s football rung.

There is no guarantee that it would be an easy climb.

The second is to pursue the franchise route, by buying an English club and rebranding it. That means giving up the history of our club and assimilating theirs.

It would be a degradation of everything we are supposed to represent, and a dark day for the institution we swallowed and erased.

It would make us nothing but mercenaries pursuing money.

The English league setup does not want us, and they never have, so we would have been whoring our reputation for nothing anyway. It’s not even that aspect of it that bothers me, it’s that people like Topping and Doncaster were ready to get involved in an effort to help sell this lunacy to the English and to other clubs in Scotland.

Think on what that means; the very people who were telling us just months later that the removal of Rangers would sink our game like a stone were ready to meet with our CEO and theirs to discuss both clubs departing Scottish football … and they were all for it.

The whole debate in 2012 was a despicable fraud.

What role did Celtic play in it? We’ll never know.

The people on our board will never openly admit that they wanted a club playing out of Ibrox, and in any event they were scared to support that publicly by the reaction of the fans. But it’s clear that their scheme depended on the survival of some version of the “Old Firm” and so I find it hard to believe that they would not have been happy with the Ibrox NewCo not only keeping the name and the titles but with them perhaps even being in the top flight.

Lawwell’s dream died the moment Rangers fell, and I am glad for it. I am glad that he saw the end of that particular dream, a shabby ambition born of greed. The Old Firm died with it, although Celtic fans have long loathed the term.

The way most Celtic fans feel about the new entity at Ibrox is as near to detestation as you will get.

We could have gone once, without them, and our club should have been striving for that if we had been of a mind to actually do it. That our board did not feel able to sell our own brand without an attachment to their grubby one shows their own lack of vision and their complete failure to utilise the things that make us great.

Their failures keep on piling up … and with eleven days of this window left to go, they are still playing with fire.

It makes stronger the case for major changes at our club … with this revelation, the people running it have forfeited their right to trust.

Think you know our Polish players? Take the quiz below or by clicking on this link to find out … 

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How many Polish footballers have played for Celtic, including our new Bhoy?