I’m not about to accuse Tom English of something so sensational as actual journalism, but over the last few weeks he hasn’t actually been half bad.
His work on Lennon and the swirling crisis at Celtic is nothing that I might not have written myself.
But today he reverted to type, and how, with an astonishing allegation that Celtic might have breached health protocols with the taking of a team photograph a few weeks ago.
This is about Dundee Utd, or it is on the surface.
But you wonder just how long English has been dying to get this one out there.
Let’s bear in mind that as things stand just one club is guilty of the most serious breach of the regulations that there is; the wilful decision to a play a match without a full set of tests results, showing its players as negative.
That club is the one at Ibrox.
They are also the only club which has not been singled out for criticism, in spite of two members of its squad (at least) being involved in a house party. Celtic, on the other hand, has been the victim of one player’s stupidity and egotism and dreadful bad luck in how many of our players have been afflicted whilst playing for their countries.
English does not have the first clue what precautions are being taken inside Celtic.
What we all know is that, working with the Scottish Government, we were the club who created the framework by which all others have to work. It was our painstaking efforts at the start of this thing, and our desire to create as hospitable an environment for football as was possible that allows any games at all.
People tend to forget that when they are howling at the moon.
English does not know how secure our measures at, what on-sight science or health information we have access to and he did not appear to know that the picture was only taken after every member of the first team squad and backroom team who appeared in it had returned negative tests; at the time of writing this, not one official or player from Celtic has tested positive outside of those who picked up the virus during international games.
Not one. Not one in all these months.
Do I think an outdoor team photo is dangerous? Not providing that other measures are in place and that they work. Is it dangerous for players to embrace on the pitch after they score goals? Because I’ve seen them do it at every club in this campaign … if it’s dangerous to sit for a team picture, in an outdoor setting, surely that has to be problematic too?
Honestly this is all much ado about nothing, and if the Scottish Government or the SPFL or the SFA or anyone else want to get in a flap over this nonsense then so be it; I have no doubt Celtic will fight with every weapon in the arsenal to prevent a bad outcome.
Yes, even now I believe that. We simply wouldn’t stand for it.
English’s rush to judgement was pig ignorant and wrong. Celtic has responded tonight pointing out what was obvious; that we have fulfilled all of our obligations under the regulations and the law and we are relaxed about it if anyone wants to look at the matter.
And that ought to be the end of that.
We don’t think there’s anything to see here and have said so. It is up to others – if they dare – to demonstrate otherwise, and with actual evidence and by pointing to the actual words on the page of the guidelines … not with innuendo and half-truth and assumptions.