Yes, McGeady Was Targeted In Scotland. And Sections Of The Media Were Behind It.

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Over the weekend, an extended interview with Aiden McGeady did the rounds, and I focussed, first, on the stuff about Gordon Strachan. But the interview was full of interesting stuff above and beyond that, nothing more so than the story about how he coped with the vitriol and abuse which came his way from his decision to represent the Republic of Ireland.

I thought some in the media’s response to that story was brazenly dishonest and shamelessly hypocritical. I remember that period, as I’m sure a lot of us do, much more clearly than they seem to believe.

If large parts of this country turned on McGeady for that decision that is in no small way because it was sections of the media itself which pushed the narrative that he had betrayed Scotland and should be considered a traitor from that day forward.

Take Sky Sports Scotland’s Gordon McQueen, the former international.

He used that exact word to describe both McGeady and James McCarthy, and he never retracted it and he never apologised for it.

But some of the hacks who were lining up to “oooh” and “aaah” and express their disgust at those who gave McGeady and McCarthy that hard time were either shamefully silent at the time or they agreed with McQueen’s sentiments even if they didn’t use the specific words.

And Aiden was quick to point out that other players, including some who chose Scotland over the land of their birth, were never subjected to the same sort of stick.

Indeed, Kenny McIntyre of the BBC, who did the interview, was practically invited, by McGeady, to discuss the implications of it but didn’t bother his arse.

It wasn’t just those who went out of their way to call McGeady some kind of sell-out, it was those who said nothing at all and allowed the abuse to pour down on him like a torrent at every ground he visited in a Celtic shirt, and then gave the stupider elements of the Tartan Army license to abuse him when he played against Scotland at Celtic Park.

McGeady got virtually no protection, or support, from any of the hacks at the time. A handful said that it was his decision to make and that it should be respected. The rest were almost vitriolic in their view that it was ridiculous and wrong.

Some of the same people were shaking their heads over the weekend.

You can’t even say that some of them were merely being patriotic Scots and standing up for their country. Some of them were motivated by spite and anti-Irish hatred.

Those who said nothing did so primarily because they didn’t want to draw attention to the fact that it was his country of choice that offended some people as much as the decision not to represent Scotland.

As per usual, anti-Irish racism was brushed under the carpet.

Those calling McGeady a traitor didn’t have to explain their motivations and why those sentiments were not reserved for the likes of Brian McLean (who chose to play for the North of Ireland) or Jamie Mackie who chose Scotland over England or Richard Gough who chose not to play for South Africa.

McGeady pressed McIntyre to confront that.

He did so repeatedly.

The BBC hack, who has clashed with Ange several times this season and is a self-confessed, self-outed Ibrox fan, never wanted to take up the thread McGeady tried to get him to follow, which only proves that nothing has really changed here.

I thought that was a shameful segment of the interview, and not from Aiden’s point of view but from way the national broadcaster’s man dodged the issue.

But then some of the ways in which it’s been covered by the mainstream press have, in a very real sense, been just as bad because what you see there are titles and even individuals trying to pretend that their hands were clean when we know they weren’t.

Some of these people fed the anger against Aiden.

Others pretended it wasn’t happening.

That atmosphere of anger might not have existed had the media been united in protecting his freedom to make that choice for himself. Instead they played a very real part in drumming it up to the level it reached where, as he said, he was booed at every ground.

They have no shame … and they think we have no memory of it.

But there are an awful lot of us who do, and we bristle at the shameless way in which these people now cluck their tongues at those who responded negatively to their own coverage of that time.

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  • Green Gables says:

    If I recall correctly Kenny McIntyre was the Radio Scotland reporter who ALWAYS referred to Aiden as the Glasgow born Republic of Ireland international when commentating on Celtic games. A trawl of the archives should confirm if not Kenny then which Radio Scotland reporter felt it necessary to only comment on Aiden’s choice and not others.

  • Seppington says:

    I wouldn’t be surprised to find out McIntyre himself was one of those boo-boys, prior to becoming a “name” in the SMSM. Fans of any iteration of hun klub sink to the knuckle-scraping bigot level with the ease of a brick in a swimming pool, they cannot help themselves, and a virtually anonymous cub reporter with big dreams and a small brain wouldn’t worry about his own reputation…in fact, when has any hun EVER worried about their reputation? When their “legneds” were coming out with the “please behave” shtick it was over their rep it was the prospect of crippling fines they can’t afford to pay that was the real reason behind their “concerns”.


    • Seppington says:

      * “….WASN’T over their rep” that should say.

    • Damian says:

      Quite. Though McGeady’s interview went deeper and was more interesting than that. His target wasn’t just the predictable. He didn’t claim to get abuse solely at Ibrox – indeed he joked that no one in Glasgow supports Scotland anyway. He commented that he received this abuse at every ground in Scotland. He mentioned Motherwell directly. This was an interesting example given that Tommy Coyne (Scottish born Irish international) was quite a hit there, as I recall.

      • Seppington says:

        Oh aye I know he got abuse everywhere but CP but I was merely postulating a reason for Kenny McIntyre’s reluctance to “go there”.

  • Frankie says:

    All these so called pundits just a shower of bad minded ignorant people as for McIntyre not worth wasting breath on, Ange has got the meaning of their stupid comments now so he knows where stupid questions will come from MATE.

  • Tony B says:

    Jonathan Sutherland read out a text on Sportscene which referred to the Celtic player as Aiden McTraitor.

    To be clear, he was not the author of the text, but he gave it air time on national television, and may as well have been the author. This passed with no comment and is still one of the most biased and racist incidents in Scottish broadcasting history.

    The fact that he felt able to do this and was never taken to task, tells you all you need to know about the media and its anti Irish agenda in this country.

  • Pan says:

    The Ibrox Club, their fans, most of the media, the Scottish Tory Party and many fans of some other clubs are hateful anti-Catholic bigots and anti-Irish racists. They are hypocrites who use religion as a means to hate and those in power and authority encourage it by their lack of action and their deflection tactics. McIntyre appears to be one of those in the media who fail to tackle this properly and always going for the defection tactics. They all have a lot to answer for.

    Everyone is made welcome at Celtic, those of all religious persuasions and those with no religion at all. Celtic is NOT a Catholic club nor an Irish club, but it’s history is well known aa are its well-documented origins. It is what attracted my English Tottenham-supporting father when he came to live in Scotland and so he introduced me to Celtic as a young boy, believing it to be the best of environments if I was to go to football matches.

    As a season ticket holder, I am surrounded by many people in the main stand at games, those of various religions and those of no religion at all, just like myself. The Celtic Way is full of people of many different persuasions before each match, greeting others and having coffee and a chat in groups before entering the stadium for the match. In some cases, visiting fans mingle with us as well, but this is generally very prominent when European fans visit.

    To finish, I have to say that I am perplexed by the Ibrox fans complaining about lack of water in Seville and suggesting that there could have been deaths, when they themselves indulged in singing cheerfully about the deaths of a million Irish people as a result of famine. What utter shameful hatred and hypocrisy!

  • Pan says:

    Paragraph 2, line 3 …. Should be “as are its well-documented origins……”

  • Damian says:

    Good points. Lots of hypocrisy and hand-waving involved and I thought McGeady handled the interview very well. I suppose we’d need a real acid test where another player chose to play for another country (not Ireland) having been born in Scotland to Scottish born parents, and while playing for a Scottish club and obviously living in Scotland, who would so obviously have made it into the Scotland first team. The other players he mentioned wouldn’t have. Indeed, he did mention McCarthy (whom I’ve got to say I can’t recall facing abuse until he played for Ireland against Scotland) – but he doesn’t quite fit either. He has said several times that he chose to play for Ireland, even at senior level, because Scotland weren’t interested. McGeady seemed a next-level talent from a very early age.

    McGeady repeated the technicalities behind his decisions to play for the Republic in the interview – though they’ve been no secret to anyone who was interested for a long time. But even had he never given such an explanation, the reaction was appalling. As is the lingering hypocrisy.

  • Martin says:

    Where I disagreed with you about Strachan, I’m 100% in agreement with you here. McGeady used names because he knew about the root cause and he was trying to get the media to reflect. They, frankly, shat it.

  • MarkE says:

    Its like they want their cake and eat it too, as the saying goes!

    On the one hand, people from an Irish Catholic background are treated like outsiders for simply acknowledging their ancestral heritage, but are then treated like scum when they turn to their root’s in the face of this adversity!

    …you can’t win, unless you decide to ignore the people you came from, don a union flag and celebrate a certain Dutchman from the 16 hundreds, or his successors, oh, and not support Celtic!

    Its maddening how narrow minded some ‘modern’ people are!

    A lot of us have experienced the ‘what school did you go to’ job interview question, to which the only right answer in the minds of those asking it is a non Catholic school!

    I recently moved home, got on great with my new neighbour, until they learned I’m a Celtic fan; since then they’ve got into the habit of waking me up almost every night by chapping on their floorboards from the flat above me!

    The crazy asshole creeps about on their knees listening for me going to bed(you know thd difference in noise from creaking floorboards between someone standing on them and getting down on all fours!)!

    I’ve experienced a lot of hatred solely based on my Catholic upbringing and football team i support! I’ve had practically a whole housing estate made up of mostly ‘orange men and women’ turn on me and turn my life into their sick game of harassment, and playing anyone they could against me, including others of a similar background to myself who aren’t exactly intellectuals, but were bonded with them through drugs…they have their tight clique, but under the guise of friendship adopt ‘outsiders’ who’ll play along with them!

    …and of course when we refuse to ‘surrender’ to the crazies and their warped world views, we’re treated like we are the problem!

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