The latest in a long line of Freedom of Information letters has been released today, and this one is a correspondence between our club and the Scottish Government, dated 10 March.
In it, Peter Lawwell, on behalf of the club, expresses his surprise at being invited to a discussion with ministers, police, and council and health officials in relation to the previous weekend’s events … the first Battle of George Square, the lesser riot.
“Whilst, as you know, we have a track record of working closely with the Scottish Government, Police Scotland and Glasgow City Council, I’d be grateful if you would clarify the purpose of the proposed meeting,” Lawwell asks in Celtic’s reply to the invite.
“In your email, you refer to the scenes at the weekend,” he writes. “The scenes at the weekend had nothing to do with Celtic FC or our supporters. I am not clear, therefore, as to why we would be invited to a meeting with the Scottish Government, Police Scotland and Glasgow City Council in connection with the scenes at the weekend.”
That is Lawwell at his best.
This site criticises him a lot but it is important to note that this man is a fierce guardian of our reputation and his actions on that score aren’t always made public.
But for the last few months now, someone has been on the hunt and submitting Freedom of Information requests left right and centre over our club … this is the latest of them.
And this one shows our CEO at his absolute finest, fighting our corner in a private manner but which is no less important for the fact it was done behind closed doors.
Indeed, it’s an example of how Celtic often does its best work away from the public eye.
It worked too, because we got a nice letter back within minutes “clarifying” the situation.
“Happy to clarify – and also happy to acknowledge the strong record you have of working constructively with us on a number of issues, particularly on safety and security issues.
The Scottish Government does not in any way associate the scenes at the weekend with Celtic or your supporters and we don’t intend to use Friday’s meeting to look back,” the response says, before it goes on to say that the issue they wanted to discuss was security for the game against the Ibrox club which then was only 11 days away.
The important thing we learned here is that the club was fighting for us, with no fanfare or trumpets blaring, behind the scenes. It proves that this club will guard its reputation fiercely, aggressively even, when it feels that it has to … even if we don’t always learn about it.
In this case, someone has made sure we do.
We owe that person our thanks, even if that wasn’t the intent behind it.