Sometimes our club behaves in a way that appals me.
The decision to play the Ibrox club in Australia is one of those times.
I cannot believe we’re doing it.
On top of that, I cannot believe the way that it’s been announced. But little by little I’m starting to understand it. I had to separate how I feel from things for a moment and try to think as those inside the club do.
And when I did that I recognised something important, and although it doesn’t’ alter my fundamental opposition to this idea it does bring me a little bit closer to understanding perhaps how they could have agreed to this, and what it tells us.
One of the things that rankled me most is that we have yet to name our opponents on the tour.
Now, you could, as I initially did, interpret that as the club thinking if they somehow don’t mention it that they can forestall any opposition to it. In that, they are wrong, and especially since everyone else knows who we’re playing.
I still believe that’s part of their thinking.
But without a doubt, as I’ve come to understand it, the real reason we haven’t named them is that we have no interest in attaching any significance to the game itself.
It’s an expression of our complete lack of giving a shit.
To those inside Celtic, this is Just Another Game, only special in that we’re getting a bigger than usual cheque for it.
That’s why we haven’t named the opposition; the club is saying “Who cares who the opposition is? This is about us. It’s about Ange. Let other people try to make this into something it’s not. As far as we’re concerned this is a friendly like every other one.”
In not naming them, the club simply does not acknowledge them at all.
It’s not even that we’re not marketing it as an Old Firm game – the fury would be volcanic if we did, and if the organisers did after we very publicly claimed to have purchased that trademark so it can’t be used – it’s that we aren’t even marketing it as a local derby, as a game between two sides from the same city.
We’re treating it as just another stop along the way on the Ange Postecoglou Australian Victory Tour.
The contempt this shows for them is breath-taking, and what’s more, they know it and every one of their pet hacks knows it which is why they are raging.
This doesn’t change how I feel about it.
No matter what those inside the club tell themselves, they know the connotations of this and the full measure of how opposed fans are to it. This game does have significance; our feelings on the matter are what make it significant even if there’s nothing more to it.
Even understanding that the club’s very decision to play the match – relegating it to the status of Just Another Game – doesn’t make me less angry that it’s taking place, and nor does it remove the very real risks that it will taint us somehow.
But Ibrox’s fury makes a lot more sense when you realise the epic nature of the snub to them which is made explicit in our refusal even to name them in the press release.
It turns out that the club isn’t afraid to confront our fans over this … they just don’t see it as particularly important, because they don’t see the Ibrox club as particularly important.
That’s what I think their reasoning is.
And as much as I might disagree with it, recognising it now has still put a smile on my face.