You have to give the press a round of applause, I guess, for arriving late at a piece of knowledge that we’ve all had for literally months; that the fixture list after the split is probably going to throw up a scenario that benefits the club from Ibrox.
Depending on who is in the top six, they could be playing two games at home which they wouldn’t get if we had a sensible league system in this country instead of one designed to appease clubs who want four “games against the Glasgow clubs” per season, and then have the cheek to treat our fans like shit with reduced allocations for them.
The split is a ridiculous concept that could only have been dreamed up here in Scotland. Those who are defending it at the moment do so only on the basis that the last ten title races haven’t been close enough for anyone to complain, but that’s hardly the standard we should be using. It isn’t the point either. It’s how shocking this fixture list has been up until now.
If the top six had gone the way many people expected it to, Celtic would almost certainly have faced two away games at grounds we’d been at twice already and Ibrox would have had to play two home games against sides they’ve already hosted twice.
The fixture list is supposed to be random, but this is simply not the case as we all know well. The “computer” is programmed to guarantee a derby at New Year and to coincide our games against our local rivals with Edinburgh derbies where possible.
It is programmed with specific dates to avoid clashes with our competitions … and I’m sure it could be programmed to do other stuff.
This year, entirely at random we’re supposed to believe, it sent us to Tynecastle, Easter Road, Pittodrie, Ibrox, Livingston and Motherwell all in the first third of the campaign, which guaranteed that we’d be doing the same circuit again in the final third.
If the ten in a row season was about ephemeral things and symbolic triumphs – don’t get me wrong, I was desperate for us to do it as we all were – then there’s simply no debate than in terms of substance this is the most important title race in Scotland for decades. The Group Stage place that is up for grabs isn’t just vital for the money but for the way in which it will change the whole summer and how we prepare for the campaign afterwards.
And if you were asked to devise a fixture list the aim of which was to give a new manager still trying to find his feet the most difficult possible task that is what you would have come up. We’re supposed to think that was coincidental? Don’t make me laugh.
Today The Record has twigged to it and they are painting it as a “headache for the governing bodies” when actually it’s no such thing. The headache will be ours if we have to go to two away grounds we’ve already been to twice in this campaign.
The Evening Times article on this is worse; it says “the top two will have no complaints” but that the real issues will arise below us. Oh yeah? The writer’s club clearly won’t have any complaints, and I think that he’s written that crap shows that his own biases aren’t even very well disguised or that his employers necessarily care … but I can see us having a few.
We’re supposed to feel sorry for the organisers of this shambles, I suppose. But I’m afraid my sympathy is in short supply and reserved only for our own club.