I have met Bernard Ponsonby in the Gallowgate.
He used to pop into the Tollbooth Bar on a semi-regular basis, and believe me when I tell you that he knows the words to some of the best songs. I sort of understand what his article for the STV website is attempting to do.
I also know that between that article and Nicola Sturgeon’s “Old Firm” comments that it spreads the blame to both clubs and both sets of fans, when yesterday’s disgrace was the product of only one of them and it wasn’t Celtic.
Watching STV last night, I also couldn’t help but notice that when they did their segment on the behaviour of the Ibrox fans that their background picture was a guy in a Celtic scarf.
The agenda is obvious. The agenda is shameless.
This is what our club does when it gives even the slightest credence to the “Old Firm” concept, as it did when it agreed to export the Glasgow Derby to foreign shores.
That our directors appear not to understand that our paying this even token lip service damages us and allows the press and others to continue this “two sides of the same coin” debate is ridiculous.
The “two sides of the coin” prattle is, to be as blunt as possible, a load of old cobblers and it always was.
There is no moral equivalence between people who sing about being up to their knees in fenian blood and the targets of that vile chant.
What happened inside that stadium was entirely one-sided and there are no more “two sides” involved in the disgrace on Sunday than there were two sides to blame for the events in Charlottesville in 2017.
Ponsonby writes at one point “to 99.9% of those in the ground it revolts for those who have come along to support their team know that their club’s reputation suffers because of “a few idiots”, to quote Postecoglou.”
The garbled nature of that sentence should not detract from what he’s trying to say; this was the work of a small minority and most of their fans abhorred it.
The bottle throwing might have been abhorred but it was only the darkest manifestation of a much wider and much deeper series of outrages which are barely acknowledged at all.
It’s the usual argument, and the usual absolute bollocks.
Those bottle throwing incidents did not spring forth from nowhere.
They were part of a toxic soup which extended to the songs and the banners and even the club’s desperate efforts slap the “Old Firm” slogan everywhere.
When their fans were singing about being up to their knees in fenian blood that wasn’t 1%.
When the ground applauded the despicable banners that was not a small minority.
In my opinion, and this needed said a while ago, those still making the “small minority” argument sound more and more and more like Trump, standing in the aftermath of the Charlottesville outrage and praising the “very good people on both sides.”
We should no longer be tolerating this absurd, disgraceful argument.
We should be calling “bullshit” on it every time we hear it.
There is a serious, and growing, problem at Ibrox, encapsulated perhaps best in their refusal to even acknowledge the Celtic official who was injured far less offer an apology for it. That club is sinking in a churning sea of its own vile predilections … still some people insist on throwing them a rubber ring with our name on it.
On Sunday we saw one club’s supporters – the vast, vast majority of them – disgrace themselves and Scottish football.
A handful went even further and committed appalling acts, but pretending that the hatreds and the vileness were restricted to those individuals is to continue doing the devil’s work for him.
It is this refusal to confront the real issue which allows it to grow.
These were not an isolated set of incidents but another step on a continuum, and its one the media refuses to get off.
We have Jim White banging on about the “special atmosphere” in Ibrox as if he didn’t hear a single out of place song … he must be deaf as well as stupid. Ian Crocker on Sky did exactly the same thing, and people keep on doing it.
These people would do an immeasurable service to the Scottish game if they would stop in the middle of their commentary when the vile songs start and, instead of praising them, condemn them in the harshest, strongest terms.
Instead you get the impression that these folk would have praised a Nuremberg Rally if they’d been asked to provide commentary for it … and that, too, is part of the problem.
These games are promoted on the basis of hate, and it has been for a long time and the Celtic fans initial objection to the despised Old Firm slogan is that we wanted nothing to do with that.
Could we be any clearer about it?
There are no “two sides” here, just them and us.
Yet the press promotes this lie, and times like this they use it against us.
Celtic does not belong in this gutter.
The narrative that we are somehow wallowing down there today, as part of their disgrace, really is an insult not just to our supporters and our club but to the intelligence of some of the people pushing it.
Nicola Sturgeon should have called it out for what is instead of falling back on her lazy, politically expedient slogan … but Bernard Ponsonby, who knows full well what the truth is … and so I don’t know what he was thinking when he wrote that nonsense, but I am almost 100% sure that he barely believes a word of it himself.