Celtic Boss Tells The Authorities It Is Up To Them To Deal With Off-Field Misbehaviour.

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Speaking at his Celtic press event this afternoon, Ange said – in relation to a question I put to him about the ugly scenes at Ibrox at the weekend – that he sees he and his players as having a responsibility to remain calm and behave in a measured way when confronted by such incidents and that beyond that it is the job of the authorities to respond.

He is, of course, correct.

As usual, the manager’s answer was excellent and thoughtful.

Although I asked him if there was a point where he felt things were getting a little dicey, he spoke in the way he reacted on the day; he took everything in his stride.

There have been managers in this city who would have sensationalised those events and spent days touring the press studios demanding action. In some ways, many of us would have welcomed that reaction from Ange but it’s simply not his style.

Why make matters worse? Why pour fuel onto the flames?

This situation was bad enough without adding to it.

Nobody can accuse this guy of having done any of that, and because our club has reacted to this in a calm, measured and professional fashion the onus on the authorities to deal with these issues in a robust manner is even more obvious.

I didn’t ask him what he thought of officialdoms response.

I didn’t ask him what he thought about Strict Liability or anything like that; those aren’t within his purview.

I asked him a specific question about whether he felt personally that things might get out of hand, and would he have supported taking the players off it things had gotten worse, or supported the players if they’d walked.

His answer makes it clear that he thinks the players and the coaching staff need to appear calm, always, even at the centre of a storm.

Our players and our staff behaved impeccably both during the game and since.

But the question should haunt the game here; as we’re behaving responsibly, what in God’s name are the authorities actually doing?

Ange was very clear that this is their mess to deal with … so how are the dealing with it?

We had Neil Doncaster out the following day telling us what Scottish football wasn’t prepared to do but I have yet to hear a single person in authority say what the next step should be to ensure that we don’t get repeat performances.

I mentioned in my question that the home club earlier in the season refused a member of the Sky Sports broadcast team a pass for their ground on the basis that his safety couldn’t be guaranteed.

Serious questions should have been put to that club then, and the governing bodies should have made an effort to get to the bottom of it. That they failed to do so quite obviously played a role in putting our people in harm’s way.

It’s nearly a week since the game, and aside from the governing bodies telling us that they don’t intend to govern this matter has been tossed to the police. Whilst I welcome the news today that at least one person has been arrested – and in relation to the bottle thrown at the keeper – it is perfectly plain that football is shirking its own responsibilities.

Our manager isn’t the guy to ask about that, which is why I didn’t.

But someone at our club should be asking, and very loudly.

This can’t be simply brushed aside in the hope that the issue goes away. Their fans will be at Hampden. They will be coming to Celtic Park. They didn’t even offer us the decency of a public apology.

There is still a lot to be concerned about here.

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  • Tam says:

    Great piece…….By CELTIC as a whole not getting involved in the disgraceful goings on at ibrox by “the rangers” support. It is …. highlighting the lack of action from the very people who can/should take action and make a difference SFA/SPFL POLICE SCOTLAND… And the SMSM and our politicians well. I am not telling the police how to do there job. But surely the first thing they should do is, ask SKY for all footage they have,ask “the rangers” for all cctv footage they have,names and addresses and seat numbers of everyone in this area…And then start an enquiry. A serious inquiry….. but that doesn’t stop the SFA/SPFL doing theirs

  • Pan says:

    This Govan club is a problem and the SFA have a responsibility to deal with it. The fact that they shirk this responsibility tells us that they are not suitable to govern the game here.

    As I said elsewhere earlier in the week, Scotland is full of cowards and people with agendas in authority. The reason this club’s fans and the club itself keep getting away with criminal behaviour is because the authorities in this country turn a “blind eye” to their misdemeanours, from Government down to the SFA and the police. Ibrox is covered with CCTV and yet the police are appealing for help to identify those who engaged in thuggish behaviour. Where were the stewards when bottles and objects were thrown on the pitch? Most were watching the 700 or so Celtic fans, who were not causing any bother and not intending to cause any bother either. Where were the police? How did all those bottles get into the stadium?

    Continually ignoring that the Ibrox club has a problem and the continual deflection from this means that those fans of this club who have this offensive nature are emboldened and keep repeating their anti-social behaviour. We are being let down badly by our politicians, by the football governing authorities, by the police and by the Board of the Ibrox club itself for not dealing properly with this and calling it out for what it is – a problem with a majority, but not all, of this club’s fans with regard to racism and religion.

    One thing I do have to do is praise the police who are usually on duty at Celtic Park. They have a more relaxed and supportive attitude when on duty and their relations with our support are generally good. Very rarely when someone does step out of line it is usually spotted quickly and dealt with efficiently. They have the respect of most Celtic fans and I believe also respect in turn most of the Celtic fans who attend games as their record of behaviour is on a different level.

  • Joseph Mcaleer says:

    Should Celtic or the SFA,be reporting the Ibrox club to UEFA,about the safety of Celtic fans,players and officials. When a game is played in their ground.

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