“We’re All In This Together, Said Celtic. But Look At What They’ve Done Today …”

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This has been a dreadful week and a half from the perspective of club public relations; today they have compounded it.

To many, it looks like preparing, in advance, for a disaster at the weekend by putting up the barriers and stopping the fans at The Celtic Way.

To others this merely symbolises the wider relationship the board has with the supporters right now.

Either way, it’s a godawful look.

Look, nobody wanted to see an ugly repeat of what happened last weekend, but to many it is going to seem that the club has shown again that it pays only lip service to the idea of listening to the views of the fans; now it treats us as unruly children who have to be kept at a distance.

To a lot of people in our support, and I sympathise with them all the way, it is the image of those barriers – not the soft words and the appeal for unity which we got earlier in the week – which represents the true symbol of how our club perceives us.

The Green Brigade agrees.

We are not seen as being “part of this” … we are outsiders.

The same logic was evident in the decision to ban a fan group from the press conferences last month, after they had dared to ask searching questions.

At the same time, the club allows our foes in the mainstream press within in the walls, even using some of the most despised journalists to carry their message, which for the past week or so had a pronounced anti-fan slant.

As much as anything else, some will view this decision is a measure of just how confident the club really is in the ability of the manager to get us through the December schedule, which has already started with a 4-2 defeat.

The club seems to be bunkering.

The board seems to be retreating behind walls.

They are fully aware that this could all go very badly wrong, and indeed may even expect it to … but as long as they don’t have to pay heed to the supporters, everything is good.

They are making a mistake if they believe that fences and walls are going to keep the pressure at bay.

Sooner or later, the health crisis is going to pass and there will be no more fences to hide behind.

If fans were allowed inside the grounds, I really believe this would already have been brought to a close.

The events of 5 November would have done it if nothing else did.

Doubtless, health protocols are the excuse that the club will come out with this evening – that the police or the government have insisted on this, and it may even be true – but how many others stadiums have put up the fences this way?

Perception is reality, and what people see here is a club putting up the barricades.

In a week of disastrous public relations reversals, I cannot comprehend how anyone thought this was a smart move.

Those barriers are going to become of the iconic images of this campaign; a symbolic buffer between Them And Us, at a time when we’re supposed to believe we’re all in this together.

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