The least surprising news of yesterday was that the ticketing situation when we go to Ibrox, and when their fans come to our ground, remains what it was. The reports have huffed about it, because they are coming to Parkhead first, which ordinarily would give the media the chance to write about how we were the ones setting out the stall for the campaign ahead.
The thing with that narrative, of course, is that it’s plainly not true and Celtic has made sure that we have put our stance on this out there first, on the record; we had tried to resolve this. Again. We had gone to the Ibrox club and asked for a restoration of the way things used to be. Again. To no avail. They aren’t interested in going back.
Our club knows this, but I think it’s important for us to go through the charade every year, lest people forget whose fault this all is. Celtic did not do this, and every effort we make at resolving this, and which Ibrox rebuffs, puts the focus where it belongs.
Our fans, and their fans too, are suffering because their club bowed to a small group of fans on the fringes of their support. That’s the truth of it. They bowed, and bent, to their most poisonous elements and changed an accepted practice going back decades.
The SPFL should never have let them do it, but they stood back and watched. It was a joke. Those in the media who constantly bang on about this, and claim that it has “lessened the spectacle” can’t be that concerned about it, as they never pressure the club responsible but rather try to paint it as a plague on both of our houses.
Time and again though we’ve tried to fix this. Last season, the Ibrox club actually denied us any supporters in their ground at all for the first game … we repaid them in that coin at New Year. I think most of us were delighted by the atmosphere that night.
I know Ibrox was shocked that we took that action though; they really did think that they would get away with their little stunt in spite of our club warning them repeatedly that we would respond in a reciprocal fashion to everything they did to us.
Ibrox’s arrogance is such that they do believe they can act how they want to and that there won’t be consequences.
Let’s face it, the governing bodies have given them no reason to doubt it, but in their dealings with Celtic they have again and again been reminded how far they can push their luck.
Their presumption that we would go along with their efforts to brand the Australia friendly as an “Old Firm game” were thwarted when we imposed our will on that matter, and they dropped out at huge cost and embarrassment as result.
This is what they do. They act reflexively. They act without thinking. They act because their lunatics are in charge of the asylum. Do not ever expect this policy to change whilst the current board is in place. Do not ever expect sense or sanity where there is none.
And as long as they don’t change their view on this, neither will we. We’re not the BBC. We’re not going to go down whimpering or apologising for standing up for our fans.