Today, we posted the latest Endless Celts podcast, and in it I talked about how the League had a chance to turn this into the Bertie Auld Cup Final … and they haven’t done so.
I wanted to say a few more words on the point, and was glad when James asked me to do it for the blog.
The failure to honour the great man is pretty shocking when you think that both sets of fans would have applauded such a decision and made it an extra special day.
The Bertie Auld League Cup Final 2021,
Celtic v Hibernian
Hampden Park Glasgow
19th December 2021
Kick off 3pm.
The above text is exactly what should be printed on every ticket and match day programme this Sunday. And yet, for reasons known only to the powers that be, it isn’t.
And my question is simply this … why not?
Even in a country rich in footballing icons, few, if any, carry more gravitas and stature than Bertie Auld. Even fewer have put more back into the game than what it gave them.
For many Celtic supporters, it wasn’t simply Bertie’s achievements on the pitch for the Hoops that made him be loved by generation after generation of fans, but more how he made each individual one of us feel when we met and chatted with him.
His medal collection for Hibernian may be somewhat lighter but nonetheless here is a man loved, adored and respected by their fans as much as ours, and with the clubs about to compete for the first silverware of the season and the first domestic trophy up for grabs since his passing I thought this would have been an ideal chance for the game to pay tribute to him.
And yet, there has been no official recognition of the great man’s achievements in advance of this game or planned by the tournament organisers. Not even the simple honour of having the match played in his name.
Nor has there been any campaign in the mainstream media for there to be so.
Compare and contrast this with the League Cup Final between Motherwell and Rangers back in 2005 when football’s fourth estate demanded that the match be called “The Davie Cooper Final.”
A demand that was met with approval from the SFL.
This is not a sour grapes article. I agreed that that match should have been played in Cooper’s honour. It was the correct decision. Failing to have this year’s final be a tribute to Bertie however most certainly was not, and most fans cannot understand why.
Bertie played an enormous part not only for Celtic but for the game here, although you wouldn’t know it if you looked at the pathetic number of caps the SFA awarded him.
To snub this chance, and to snub the man, in this way just feels wrong and difficult to understand.
For many it would have been their chance to say a proper farewell to him. For his family it would have been a great occasion of remembrance. I am stunned that, in official terms at least, it won’t be.
With any luck the fans can do what the governing bodies have failed to.
Anthony Dunn is a regular contributor to the Endless Celts podcast. Check out their latest episode, and subscribe at the link below.