Last week, I read one of the most shocking articles of the last couple of years, an interview with Paul Lambert that was so nonsensical I thought for a while I was reading Kris Boyd or someone equally disengaged from reality.
In the aftermath, every Celtic fan I spoke to seething, spitting with anger at what Lambert had said.
I, myself, had to take a week to consider my response or I might simply have written pages and pages of invective and fury.
The upshot of the interview was that he thought “Rangers” were harshly treated in 2012, and that they should have been hit with a fine instead and not “relegated”. There are so many inaccuracies in that one statement alone that any credible person would have brought the farce to an end and told Lambert to get his facts straight.
Years ago, as regular readers might remember, I read The Secret Footballer books and was pretty impressed by them.
One thing I never forgot; when he talks about the relationship between the players and fans and he dismisses the notion that such a thing even exists.
Players, he tells us, live in their own bubble and although they might occasionally, in a moment of euphoria or desperation, remember the fans are there and acknowledge that, for the most part they do what they do for each other and for themselves.
Lambert is living proof that the part about the bubble, at least, is real. I’ve heard numerous people who are connected to our club talk this same discredited, offensive, claptrap from time to time and it never gets less infuriating and mind-boggling.
Supporters who hear this stuff feel like they are being played for fools by these people. It’s the same with those on the periphery of our club – whether that’s ex-players or whatever – who bang on about “the Old Firm” and presume, as Lambert has done, to tell us what we think.
In his case he seems to think that guys who spent thousands of points following their club during Rangers’ EBT cheating years would have been happy to see that club survive that scandal and all that followed it with the proverbial slap on the wrist.
How removed from reality is this guy?
The Survival Lie is pernicious for precisely this reason.
Once you accept the Survival Lie and the premise at the heart of it – that Rangers and Sevco are not two different clubs but the same one – you are automatically forced to accept the Victim Lie as well, which is that “Rangers” were uniquely treated, punished in a way that the rule book never allowed for.
What the first Ibrox club did was diabolical. Had they survived, they would have deserved the harshest punishment every handed out in the history of Scottish football.
But that would not have involved any form of relegation. It was not on the list of available punishments.
A grubby attempt was made to put Sevco into the top flight. It was rejected by the clubs.
Had they actually been Rangers the issue would never have arisen.
They had to apply for a brand new SFA membership. If they had been Rangers that would not have been required.
Lambert seems to believe that Celtic fans would have rather “Rangers” be in the league all the way through the nine; apart from that being impossible, due to the death of the club, any scenario short of the one which transpired was almost unanimously opposed by our supporters.
What our former player seems to think is that we would have ignored a decade of cheating just as the media did, just as the governing bodies turned the other way from, in order to have greater bragging rights. But what Rangers did was absolutely disgraceful … and Lambert either doesn’t understand, or doesn’t want to acknowledge, that they actually escaped any of the penalties which have should have fallen on them for what they were involved in.
As many of us have written, Rangers suffered consequences not punishment.
As a player who lost titles and trophies as a result of what they were engaged in, Lambert should know better. Instead he spouted the most appalling ignorance … and tarred his reputation with the Celtic supporters.
I don’t know a single one who wasn’t fuming reading his interview.
And no wonder.
It was absolutely shameful.
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