An interesting story from the other day has been nagging at me ever since; the interview with Steve Conroy in which he revealed one of the worst kept secrets in football, which is that he’s a Celtic fan.
This story appeared almost as if it was there to produce a riposte to the idea that officials might all support one club.
None of us has ever believed otherwise.
Celtic fans are concerned that Scottish football refereeing is not fit for purpose.
And yes, we have a suspicion that there is a profoundly anti-Celtic bent to much of the fraternity, and that its organisations are tied up with too many of our traditional enemies.
But even if this were no so, even if Scottish refs allegiances were split along demographic lines it would still be wrong.
Conroy’s article proves that we have as much to fear from Celtic fans in black as we do from enemies in those colours. Conroy said he had to hide his allegiance, and let’s be honest the best way to draw attention to it is to give us decisions.
The suspicion remains – and it echoes through his interview – that Conroy was less inclined to do so than referees who were neutral, so as not to tip anyone off. He was harder on us than other clubs, because he didn’t want to give himself away.
This is bad. Far worse would be if Conroy or others had actually gone out of their way to give Celtic favourable decisions. No fan I know has ever actually wanted that, and I don’t understand how anyone possibly would.
The greatness of football is in knowing that your team has won and earned it, that they’ve proved themselves to be the best.
Nobody wants to be the recipient of cheating.
It is the only thing worse than being the victim of it. Celtic fans just want to know that the game is clean. And we want to know that aside from honest officials that they are good at what they do too.
All the moaning today from clubs and media about bad decisions last night is only talk unless there is action to back it up, and yet the game continues to push the implementation of VAR down the road.
Celtic fans have always supported reform, and we continue to support it.
The rash of decisions which people are questioning this season are different only in that they have fallen in favour of our club and not the one across the city; I believe almost of all of the allegedly questionable ones were actually correct decisions … and I’ve started to take a perverse satisfaction in the ones that are really bad because I know people love it when that happens to us.
What’s more, I know it’s going to take those decisions to push this game towards answers.
Because every time, in recent years, clubs have suffered at the hands of blatant Ibrox bias the refrain from their managers, and sections of the press, has always been the same; you never get anything when you come up against “the Glasgow clubs.”
Maybe now that we’re the club, and not the other one, who seem to make the headlines like this we’ll finally see Scottish football get off its backside.
Celtic fans don’t care either way. I don’t care what the agenda is, only about what the results would be. This game needs a deep clean … and Celtic fans have been calling for it forever. How we get to it suddenly seems pretty unimportant.