If you’re a Celtic fan who slags this blog and others because you either don’t know, or understand, by now, why some of us spend so much of our time on events across the city then you have to be either colossally ignorant or just utterly stupid.
Or perhaps you just like being the sucker in a rigged game.
Because last night’s publication of the Ibrox accounts, and some of this morning’s media coverage, makes it shocking clear that Scottish football is exactly that, and the only question is how long those around the table will continue to be made mugs of, including – and especially – Celtic.
The Ibrox club has posted losses of £15 million. Their own auditors have put a “going concern” warning in there.
They have estimated that the club will require an additional £20 million plus over the course of this campaign and the next one based on current spending levels; this is the entire budget for a club the size of Aberdeen times two … over and above earnings.
I’m going to write that again; over and above earnings.
Which, to me begs the obvious questions; why do the rest of us bother?
Why do we bother playing by the rules?
Why do we bother observing the tenants of Financial Fair Play?
Where is the virtue in our board’s great love of prudence and probity when another club from Ibrox is spending money as if it grows on a magic tree, and nobody bats an eyelid?
The Daily Record this morning has allowed one of its Ibrox bloggers to boast that they almost have parity with us on wage spending.
It’s easy to do when you are playing with other people’s money and you have no concern whatsoever for the consequences of that.
Why should they care about consequences?
They won’t have to pay them.
As I said in a lengthy piece the other day, if this Ibrox operation collapses like the first there will be no starting again at the bottom for the third entity; the SFA accepts this one as a continuation of Rangers, the media accepts it as one and our own club allows this charade to play out without a word.
There was a time for our club going on the offensive over the torrent of lies this game lives with, but that time was long ago.
It is way too late for that now.
The governing bodies and the media are in such lock-step behind the Survival Lie that all the pieces are on the board for one of the greatest scandals in the history of our sport, and no fan revolution will prevent it this time.
The board over there knows it can run up debts as high as it likes and that there will never be a true reckoning for it.
If you were playing poker and every time you lost someone handed you another pile of chips, and told you that when you won you got to keep everything, what would you do? Would you walk away from the table? Would you stop playing until you had it all?
Since this Ibrox entity crawled out of Rangers grave they have posted combined losses in the region of £80 million. By the time the tenth anniversary of their incorporation comes around they intend to have gone beyond £100 million.
The numbers are vast, their implications so big that they swim before your eyes and begin to blur.
The next few years are entirely predictable on the current trajectory.
I no longer have the slightest doubt that this Ibrox entity will win major trophies and perhaps maybe even a title, because they’ll keep on going like this until they have and then nobody in their ranks will care if the whole house of cards falls down, and neither will we.
Back in 2012, we all took some satisfaction in what happened over there, especially those of us who had been talking about it for years and enduring the same scorn as we get at the current time. There will be no celebrations next time.
I no longer hope for jelly and ice cream when it comes.
Instead I anticipate a bitter battle for the soul of Scottish football which I fully expect us to lose.
Yet even if we ended up with a scenario where Rangers III had, like this iteration, to haul its way up from the bottom tier of the game, the memory of seeing ten in a row ripped away from us will not be healed, nor that victory snatched from the memories of their fans.
It will not rehabilitate those at Celtic Park and Hampden who failed to put in place the kind of regulations which would have made it impossible.
Even our best case scenario will taste like shit.
Imagine how it feels to be an Aberdeen fan today, preparing to watch your team at Ibrox, knowing your board doesn’t give a damn that your opponents have overtaken you as Scotland’s second biggest team by spending what they can’t afford.
Imagine being a Hibs fan knowing that you will have to claw and scrap for a European place whilst a financially doped club defies the regulations and dares the governing bodies to do something about it?
They, by the way, have a local rival in Hearts who will probably be back in the SPL next season; they too are getting very familiar with the concept of Other People’s Money all over again. They survived their last brush with death, but they don’t seem to realise how lucky they were, because if they fall into ruin they ought to know there will be no Survival Lie to prop them up; they’ll go to the grave and they’ll never return from it.
This morning I feel nothing but anger towards the gutless chairmen of the clubs, including our own, who have utterly failed to reform Scottish football.
They have betrayed their supporters and assured that, as before 2012, we’re all waiting on being dealt the next hand from a rigged deck.
The old poker aphorism goes that “if you can’t spot the sucker in your first hour at the card table, then you are the sucker.”
So how does it feel to be taken for a mug?
For this is Scottish football 2020.
We are eight years on from the last Ibrox-inspired crisis, and we’re on the brink of the next one because nobody cleaned up the game.
What an utter disgrace that is, and all involved, but especially at Celtic, should be ashamed of it.