If Celtic Had Been In This Standoff With The SPFL The Press Reaction Would Be Very Different.

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At some point last night, Hugh Keevins turned in his latest piece of fourth-rate dreck, the sort of piece that would not have come up to snuff on a school paper.

The Sunday Mail published it of course, because it is part apologia for Ibrox and their latest bad behaviour.

The upshot of that article was this; the Ibrox club has “done cinch a favour” in not promoting them as per the contract. The public nature of the dust-up has got them publicity. Therefore, no big deal. Besides, as he puts it, the Ibrox club will win the league and as champions the only people who would get hurt from the deal collapsing is them.

The rest of the clubs get such miniscule amounts; they won’t even miss the cash.

There’s no indication in that piece that he sees this as any sort of big deal, although he has twigged to the blindingly obvious; that this really doesn’t have anything to do with contracts, it’s about revenge as the Ibrox club sees it.

That, to me, isn’t some minor matter, it’s the whole thing. Ibrox is pursuing an action which punishes every other club in the country regardless of what damage that will do to those clubs. Keevins brushes that off, of course, but that damage is real and his pig-ignorant dismissal of it only show that he doesn’t have the first clue what he’s talking about.

Yet even if it were all true, that the money is nothing, that the clubs won’t even feel the sting, this would still be unacceptable because at its heart remains the raw power struggle which is really what this is all about. If that club can throw its weight around like this and perhaps even take down a board member of two, then this game will descend into anarchy.

And through all of the last week, one question has nagged at me; what if this was us? What if we were the club aggressively posturing like this, and threatening the rest of the sport with the consequences of our own rabid behaviour? What if Peter Lawwell was still the CEO, furthermore, and this was his brainstorm, and he was doing it whilst sitting on the SPFL board?

Keevins draws attention to the fact that Robertson is doing all this from that position, but he’s far too gutless to actually come out and say that this should be the first domino to fall. Robertson’s ejection from the SPFL board should be a given. It is astonishing that not one mainstream journalist has said that his position is basically untenable.

Yet the slandering of Lawwell as some dark puppet master at the centre of every decision on the board was routine, for years, although this blog has challenged the people who pushed it to name just one time when we had steered policy in our own interests to the detriment of the game, a challenge that not one person in the Scottish press ever took up.

Lawwell did a tremendous amount of good for the game in Scotland, most of it unheralded.

Yes, we have serious concerns over the stuff he didn’t do, the reforms he never fought for, the changes he never even tried to push through, but he brought gravitas and expertise and professionalism to the table and was one of the only reasons we even had a TV deal in 2012 … and on top of that, under him Celtic sacrificed both influence and money in the reforms we did make.

But that man had to fight through a constant media barrage, a constant chip-chip-chip away at his character by people who had a certain image of him in their heads and never allowed it to be challenged no matter how preposterous it was.

If Lawwell had been behind something like this, he would be getting crucified. The media would be polling every chairman in the country to ask if Celtic had become too big for its boots. There would probably even be talk about expelling us from the league by some of the more hysterical members of the commentariat. Certainly, there would not be this sort of almost casual coverage, this utter failure on the part of the press to treat this issue seriously.

And it is serious, and not just because of the money. Ibrox’s directors are the most vindictive and spiteful people ever to sit atop a Scottish football club. The examples of it are growing too numerous to count, and their conduct raises all kinds of questions.

What’s more is that they brazenly threatened this before the campaign got underway with their “scores to settle” jibe … which the media should have nailed there and then as being dangerous and provocative. But that, too, met with an eerie silence, being reported on briefly but without any proper analysis being done in relation to it.

Imagine Dominic McKay had made such a statement. Do you really believe that the media would have almost completely left it alone? You cannot even imagine how dark and dire the headlines would have been had we decided to risk the futures of other clubs.

It is high time our club got out in front of the pack and set about really changing the way this sport runs. Even if you understand that Ibrox is playing games here because it can, this whole think does have the reek of amateur hour about it.

Neil Doncaster is an appalling administrator and whilst we defended him last year against Ibrox when it sought to remove him from office on a phony prospectus, he should have been cashiered years ago and if the clubs decided to really examine his own role in this and they came to the conclusion that he was hopeless and that his performance was abysmal not one of us would shed tears for him. It would be a long overdue reckoning.

Celtic – in the guise of Lawwell – protected him for years. I cannot imagine that McKay will be even slightly impressed by him. He is weak, indecisive, has poor judgement and can’t sell this game worth a damn. But if it were Celtic going after him out of spite then the media would be standing four-square behind him and calling us every negative name under the sun.

As it is, those which are even bothering with this story are slanting the coverage heavily in favour of Ibrox, when they aren’t treating it like a joke. If this thing ends with the commercial sponsor walking away, at least some of the blame is going to fall on the press.

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