Getting up today to read that Celtic fans had been fighting with the police in Perth yesterday, I knew that story had more holes it in than a plot from EastEnders.
Footage prior to the game, and some during it, showed those fans standing on the grassy verge overlooking McDairmad Park and a small police presence allowing them to do so.
But when the story broke about them having to be “dispersed” last night there were already denials on Twitter and people clarifying the situation.
How amazing – or maybe not – that some outlets chose to run with it instead of actually investigating the matter.
Ibrox fans did this, at the same ground and others, during the full lockdown, when that was illegal.
Not a media outlet expressed outrage at it, and the police allowed the gatherings to go ahead.
In this case, there was no law being breached, no rule being broken, no reason whatsoever for the police to move people on. Which is why I knew the story stank like a fish farm at low tide.
But as with every story like that, the fans can argue with it until they are blue in the face. It takes something more – something official – before the record (or The Record as it were) is set straight and the narrative reversed.
Enter the Celtic SLO.
This blog has always praised John Paul highly.
He is one of the most professional and dedicated people at Celtic Park and he often has a thankless job.
He does that job without complaint. He does it to a high standard.
This morning, he hit back at the media’s false claims and particularly those in The Daily Mail – which regular readers will know is the paper I hate most in the world.
Now that the Celtic official fan liaison has spoken out and set things straight, the whole of the media is in backtrack mode and writing retractions. The story has been killed stone dead.
Celtic fans watched the game, they followed the police’s instructions, the police themselves maintained their respectful distance and when the match was over everyone went home.
More or less the way I expected it to have gone, based on the past experiences of fans who have done so.
So where did the media get its disgraceful smears? Where did the lies come from?
We might never know, but the facts could very easily have been ascertained.
That the press was willing to run it without even doing the most basic checks is pretty deplorable. It’s not as if they have nothing else to write, but some of them chose to write this, a story that was based on a lie, a lie that was easily identified as such.
It makes you wonder what their agenda is or was.
Full credit should go to John Paul Taylor for publicly hitting back at this on behalf of the club.
The bloggers would have weighed in today regardless, but this carries the official seal of Celtic itself and thus it gets the job done in the right way and sends the hacks into retreat.
So well done to the Celtic PR and media team for that and to the club itself for stamping all over this noxious story.
I hope the outlets which ran it have the good grace to apologise to us for it.