For the first time since he departed Celtic a few weeks ago, today I long to hear what Neil Lennon is thinking right now.
I want to know what he thinks of the way the media is dealing with the guy who was his opposite number. More to the point, I would love to know what he thinks of Gerrard’s conduct.
If Lennon were still in charge at Parkhead, there is no doubt that the question would have been put to him in some form, in some way, and his opinion on the matter sought.
I have little doubt too that he would point to the way our club was hammered over Dubai, which he would never have tired of reminding people was officially sanctioned by the footballing authorities and the government.
The way our whole club was treated over that affair casts a dark shadow over this one, and I can only imagine how angry he’d have been talking about it.
Let’s bear in mind what happened over Dubai.
Our club was given government permission to make the trip. It was all signed off.
We were still getting their co-operation the day before we went.
Now, everyone knows that the Celtic blogs were almost universal in their condemnation of the trip; our club should never have undertaken it. But the concrete mixer full of dirt we had to eat for it was, in hindsight, ridiculous when one considers that all those in government had to say was “no” and we’d never have gone.
What did we learn today from the Scottish Government briefing, and the questions and answers in relation to yesterday’s events?
Well, we learned that the government and Police Scotland have been concerned for over a month about the prospect of civil disorder on the scale we witnessed yesterday. We learned that they tried to engage the board at Ibrox over this matter, and urged them to make an early statement telling the fans to respect the law.
We learned that the club didn’t even respond to those entreaties … something the club itself has now publicly denied, effectively calling John Swinney a liar.
So who do we believe? It’s not actually that hard to answer the question; we only have to look at the way the club has behaved in the last few weeks to understand that they don’t believe the law of the land should apply to their players or fans. It’s also readily apparent that those inside Ibrox don’t give a toss about the wider society in which they exist.
They could have taken a tougher line against the players who were caught out partying. They didn’t. Instead, they handled things “internally”, asked for sympathy and understand for them and then rushed two of them back into the team and the third into the squad.
It was the moment when it became clear – there were signs beforehand, of course – that they weren’t going to be concerned by such trivial things as public opinion or anything else they considered to be an inconvenience. This is what always happens when a club at Ibrox thinks it is on the ascendant; they start to believe in their own superiority complex.
I warned, on this blog, that there would be consequences for that. I warned that the lack of media criticism made other, perhaps far worse, violations much more likely. What I didn’t expect was that Gerrard himself would be at the very head of them.
His conduct this past week has been shocking.
From the moment at Livingston where he let his players go over and pay homage to a group of law-breaking fans, and then praised those same fans for their reckless disregard for public safety afterwards, to his even more egregious violations at the weekend, where he drove through them pumping his fist, to the way he allowed his players to march up to an open security gate to the greet them outside, to whatever in God’s name that was yesterday and which Roofe and others shared on social media, he has behaved disgracefully.
He has not only tolerated the breaches committed by his players but he and the club have actively encouraged and lent their support to even greater violations from their fans.
And in case you think this isn’t a club showing utter contempt for the rest of the country, their “apology” today contained not one word of contrition or remorse, not one serious entreaty to the gutter element of their fan-base not to repeat the same actions.
They haven’t apologised for their role in historic abuse cases, a stain on them which they don’t even pretend to care about.
Can you imagine a Celtic manager – can you imagine Neil Lennon – making a case for players who had violated health regulations, and putting them right back in the team?
Can you imagine him marching his players across a pitch to applaud fans who were breaking the regulations?
Can you imagine him driving through a lawless throng with the window down, joining in a bigoted karaoke?
What do you think the media would have done to him?
The media’s sycophancy towards Gerrard is disgusting.
They’ve always treated him like some sort of rock star, and forgive him anything he does.
In his time in Scotland so far he has pushed conspiracy theories, defending thuggery and even, when it’s suited him, played the old “no-one likes us we don’t care” card with its reek of sectarianism.
But in truth, any Celtic manager would have been treated to condemnation for what Gerrard has gotten away with these past weeks, and any Ibrox manager would have been forgiven for them.
This is the country we live in, for all our sins … and if you have any further doubts look at all those pictures of cops celebrating and having selfies taken in George Square whilst the cenotaph was being desecrated and memorial benches broken.
The problems don’t start at Ibrox, but by God that place amplifies them.