Date: 4th January 2021 at 7:26pm
Written by:

The Deputy First Minister today criticised Celtic for our Jolly Boys junket to Dubai, by contrasting it with the struggles being undertaken by millions of people in the country who are following the rules and making sacrifices for the greater good.

It’s nothing many of us haven’t been saying all weekend, but coming from one of the country’s most eminent politicians shows quite clearly how badly Celtic has misjudged this one.

You sometimes wonder who is running our PR. Jim Traynor?

The Dubai trip is a PR catastrophe for Celtic, and the defensive statement they released tonight on it, justifying it as a decision that was made ages ago, before we knew about a new strain of this bug, isn’t going to change that.

It was a needless and stupid decision, even if the optics weren’t horrendous.

We’ve already got a fixture backlog which accounts for the soul-destroying look of the league table right now.

We could have stayed and played one of those games in hand; instead we’ve opted for this lunacy, during a global pandemic and all the risks that go with it.

The fans are already up in arms.

Political condemnation is the icing on the cake.

At Ibrox, of course, they are milking their own decision to cancel their winters trip. But that has more to do with whatever happened over there last year and the costs which they probably can’t meet. Still, they look professional and serious and focussed whilst we look like arrogant egotists swanning off for some sun whilst the season lies in ruins.

Bad PR is one thing, but when you are losing the public relations war to these Peepul then maybe it’s time to rethink the whole approach and the strategy behind it.

If Swinney had left it at that, I might not even have bothered to write about it, because I covered the issue earlier in the day. But he also spoke about how football itself might be affected by the current swelling crisis, and he offered no guarantees.

This is almost certainly the right move, because really, what guarantees can he offer?

There is a real prospect that this season won’t be played to completion; that’s a fact we have to start getting cosy with all over again. The Kent Variant spreads much more readily than the one which swept the country last year. Football’s bubble system is not stopping it from infecting squads in England. It might be a matter of time before the whole show is stopped again.

Across the city they will squeal conspiracy theories and people will try to slam the door on the idea, even though they would be the beneficiaries. How paralysed by hate do you have to be not even to recognise what’s in your own interests?

They still think that we’re suddenly going to flip the script and call for a null and void, which is a non-starter for all the reasons it was a non-starter last season.

No Celtic fan I know seriously supports it and I don’t have the slightest problem going on the record right now with wholehearted opposition to even the idea of it.

If the season is called early it’ll be decided on the same basis as last time; the precedent has been established, the method has been established and the clubs would have to decide the matter.

It may well be what it comes to.

No-one wants it, but there might not be any choice in the matter. This is a nasty little critter we’re dealing with and it has the ability to overwhelm the health system if we give it half a chance.

Football is small beer next to that.

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