Publius Quinctilius Varus is one of those names scorned by history.
He was already a terrible leader and Roman politician before the event for which he’s famous.
He had been praetor in Judea for a while where his efforts to put down a revolt of the Jews only made matters worse. His political career was boosted temporarily by his appointment as proconsul of Germania. That was not to prove the greatest move Augustus ever made.
Varus passed into history as the leader who lost three entire legions in a single day, at the infamous Battle of the Teutoburg Forest, perhaps the most catastrophic military defeat in the days of the early Roman Empire. Following it, the Romans retreated back over the Rhine; centuries of war with the Germanic tribes followed.
Some people are to be pitied by history more than scorned.
Ally McCoist is not one of them though.
He will never shake the world the way Varus did, but in Scottish football his name will be known more for his disastrous management at Ibrox than it will ever be for the goals he scored at that ground.
McCoist was the last manager of Rangers, as Varus was the last proconsul of the Germania the Romans had hoped for.
McCoist was also the first manager of Sevco.
And that, my friends, is important to the historical record like few else is.
McCoist was the architect of the famous European disasters which left the club in financial ruins and saw Craig Whyte desperately staving off creditors using – of all things – the tax man’s money. The club was in free-fall from that moment on, but McCoist would not even entertain the idea of making cuts to his own budget.
He probably couldn’t have saved them but you know what? He didn’t even try.
When Sevco began life in the bottom tier of the game he could conserved, saved, built from the youth team, he could have lowered expectations and avoided delusions of grandeur.
But he paid SPL wages for has-beens and took the team to five star hotels … it was incredible, but this was McCoist’s egotism on the rampage, that and his deluded idea that Rangers and Sevco were one in the same and that they should act like it.
You can trace the club’s precarious position of today back to McCoist and his leadership, and just as Rome would have to contend with the dire effects of Varus’ historic defeat, that club will be living with the McCoist legacy as long as it does exist.
Today he’s in the papers as the latest wailing fool going on and on about how our club should not get the title without the season being played to a full.
The man is a clown, and his comments are risible.
But down deep there is a reason that McCoist is desperate to stop us winning the nine and then the ten, and it’s not just being an Ibrox fan.
McCoist knows that this Celtic’s triumph is the monument to his own failure.
Our nine in a row started with him in the manager’s office; he has long prayed that it would end before this target was reached.
He will damned by their supporters for eternity when we cross the line into ten. As Neil Lennon will be remembered for starting – and completing – the cycle, so McCoist will go down in the books as the Ibrox boss who began their darkest spells.
McCoist is a worried man, and he should be. His comments aren’t just a manifestation of bias, they are a manifestation of fear. The media will not report them in that light; this is why it is important that the blog does.
When Varus was defeated, the Roman military permanently retired the legion numbers XVII and XIX.
Sevco will not be retiring McCoist’s number at Ibrox; it was a nine.
It seems fitting somehow that they will retain it, and the one that comes after it … and the one after that … and the one after that … and the one after that too.
His dark legacy will not be complete even when the next campaign ends; it will only be over when we stop winning leagues.
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