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It’s Been A Big Week For Celtic’s Enemies. At The End Of It We’re Still Standing Strong.

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“In the midst of every crisis, lies great opportunity.” – Albert Einstein.

There are few people who would regard the death of the Queen just over a week ago to be something that plunged this country into crisis, but crisis is a word with an interchangeable meaning.

Say rather “negative circumstances” and you’re onto something.

There are ways in which we have learned a lot this week about the country that we live in. In other ways we’ve only reminded ourselves of the things that we already knew. What we didn’t learn anything about was the ruthless opportunism of the right and their willingness to appropriate any situation for the purposes of waging their cultural war.

There has been a lot of talk, over the last nine days, about respect and how it is paid and how it should be paid. The rush by people in every walk of life to pay homage to the monarch has given some an opportunity to claim that their mood is reflective of that in the nation as a whole. But they speak, in the main, for a very small minority.

There are complicated reasons why so many have acted this way in the last week, and we should not ignore that a perceived need to show compliance has been one of the driving forces of it. Others want to be part of history, or feel as if they are. That’s reflected not only in the crowds, but in the social media posts and other facets of “public expression.”

Take the queues outside the Abbey.

As extraordinary as it might appear that so many people are willing to wait for hours upon hours to walk by a coffin, we have to remember that on this island there are 67 million of us, and the vast majority are warm at home and baffled by those images.

We also need to remember that there are people who queue overnight outside department stores when the latest shiny thing arrives in stock, or during those times when everything is being sold at deep discounts. The phenomenon of staying out in the freezing cold with a bunch of fellow travellers is not exactly unheard of.

That so many people across the country are, in fact, paying respect is not in the least doubt though.

It’s just that those shouting the loudest on their behalf aren’t amongst their number.

You are not “paying respect” or “honouring the Queen” if this entire period of “mourning” has simply, for you, been an opportunity to pour out bile and moralise and point your finger and whip up hatred against anyone with whom you disagree.

You are simply using a “national tragedy” to further your own ends, and that is a trick as old as civilisation itself.

Those are the people who have spent this week pounding Celtic.

In this they have willing allies and co-conspirators in folk so depraved that they have weaponised child abuse in their own version of the culture war. These are the people we have “offended.”

“Respect the dead” is one of their favourite shouts.

Not for them though practising what they preach. These are, after all, the same people who have spent years singing vile songs about the Irish famine and who have made loathsome chants about the Lisbon Lions.

“If you’ve nothing nice to say, say nothing at all,” is the mantra of our enemies in the media. Hugh Keevins was the latest guy to trot that line out this morning.

This is the same Hugh Keevins who has scorned Celtic managers, Celtic signings, Celtic fans and club officials in the most atrocious language over the course of his undistinguished career. He is not alone in pushing a line which, if it was applied across the boards, would silence forever those advocating it.

“At the very least we now know what the Ange in Ange Postecoglou stands for. Absolutely. Not. Good. Enough,” is just one pearl of wisdom he’s shared with us over the years.

So contemptible creatures of the right-wing media and our traditional enemies at home; these are the folk who have used us for target practice all week long, and all the while the Ibrox club’s board has, itself, used this national event to pander to its own supporters and distract from the utter shambles that they currently preside over.

I think – no, I’m sure – that these people believe they’ve had a good week.

But really, the only good bit of it for them was the result today and we’re already focussing on moving past that when the international break is over. For now, we have to live with that one and ponder what went wrong. Nothing else is really important.

They think they’ve damaged Celtic in some way these past nine days.

Yet really, what they’ve done is draw attention to three things, and I’ve already mentioned one of them: the shameless opportunism of the right-wing media and its bottomless well of hatred.

Second to that though is that the boot-boys and bullies of the right-wing press pack aren’t nearly as powerful or scary or as influential as they think they are.

They’ve spent the last few years pulverising people and companies and institutions into grovelling apologies or other subservient behaviour. They have forced huge corporations and folk with sterling credentials to fawn and bow.

They believe that they can do that to anyone.

But Celtic has stood incredibly strong against that tide. Aside from a mild suggestion from our manager that fans should observe the courtesies, Celtic itself has refused to be cowed. Our fans refuse to be cowed.

We have done what so few institutions and groups who have been faced with this sustained onslaught have found the strength to do; Celtic has stood firm and those in the immediate crosshairs have gotten right back in the faces of these people and told them where they can shove their “outrage.”

One of the best weapons we have at our disposal is an understanding about how millions in this country view these people themselves. They are scorned by the liberal media and despised by the left. Guys like James O’Brien have routinely humiliated them in interviews and in the brutal dissecting of their ignorant, and at times abhorrent, views.

These people have a large megaphone, but so much contemptible vitriol and odium has poured out of it over the years that most people either pay them no attention or side, reflexively, with those they are hating on.

That has played beautifully to our advantage.

The third and last thing is that they’ve merely reinforced Celtic’s reputation as a club with a fan-base that loathes the established order in this backward country.

Celtic’s reputation south of the border has survived worse than this.

Indeed, it has thrived in the face of what should be insurmountable obstacles.

For years it’s been fairly common knowledge that a section of our fans is Irish Republican, anti-monarchist and left wing.

Think the events of this week have surprised folk with new information?

I can assure you that it’s very much the opposite.

It hasn’t stopped us from making friends down through the years.

Remember, the Celtic fans were singing songs about the Irish War of Independence when that war was still ongoing, and when the IRA were bombing the mainland. We had friends everywhere we went.

Nothing this week has shaken us to the core, no matter what some halfwits believe.

Today the eyes of all those people were on us, hoping to see some shameful episode which they could sneer about. Instead, as Andrew Smith points out, what they got instead was a humorous banner accompanied by the intended applause.

This is the week when Celtic stood in the eye of a storm and let it rage all around us.

We did not bend far less break.

We did not lose a single friend we had.

Our enemies think they won some great PR victory, but the attention span of the audience they preach to is notoriously short, and she’ll be in the ground come Monday and we don’t play again until October.

The strength of Celtic endures.

It always has. and it always will.

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20 comments

  • Johnny Green says:

    Another brilliant piece James, a great read and very truthful. Some Celtic fans, Uncle Tims, should be embarrassed by their criticism of their own fans in order to appease our enemies in the press who blacken our name at every opportunity.

    We shall not be moved,

  • Mark B says:

    It’s not been a great week for us.
    We played brilliantly in CL and should have won.
    We lost badly today 6 changes in my view was a mistake. Our fans have let us down badly. I am a Celtic supporter of nearly 60 years. I am proud of the way we are playing… I hope today is one blip. But our rivals won’t drop many points to other teams so I still believe the race will be close just as it was last year. I hope we can beat Leipzig but that is a huge ask and to get four points would be a truly incredible performance. And we must keep winning in the league. It’s exciting let’s keep the focus on winning and not on off field events which are a distraction and I think affected the whole club and team. For the record I am a Republican and no Royalist but I do respect others view to mourn if they wish …as they should respect mine not to do so.

  • Magublican says:

    Go seek help.

  • Up the Republic says:

    As one of those who sang republican songs at games during the 70’s and 80’s including trips to Birmingham, Burnley, Ipswich, and Nottingham, Celtic supporters stood firm alongside the men and women fighting to free the 6 counties and unite Ireland. I’m proud of our fans today. We believe in what is right and some folks just can’t take it. Tiocfaidh at la!

  • Hans says:

    James, what’s wrong with paying some respect? Why do we invite others to criticize us? Whether we like it or not, it would have been a great time to say nothing. Keep quiet. Instead, the videos and images all over the media hang us out to dry. Why do we present ourselves as pariahs? It’s pathetic. As is your piece.

  • Seppington says:

    James there’s just as much bullying and forcing of climbdowns on the left as the right. The far ends of both sides of the argument are filled with extremist arsewipes that think screaming at at a perceived injustice will bring compliance. An intelligent is capable of seeing nuance, and having the sense to know when to keep one’s powder dry.
    as for the banners, well I’m as republican as the next man but they were just crass, childish bollocks from a shower of clowns who think they know better than everyone else. I couldn’t stand the old boot and loath each and every one of her line. In fact I’m glad she’s dead as her son will hasten the end of the monarchy and the death of the UK but I would never think to come out with such sentiments to their faces whilst they are in mourning. Regardless of my opinion on monarchy they are all still just people, a family who have lost a mother and are grieving. That they have to grieve so publicly must be a horrible thing to go through on top of it all and not a single one of us is able to relate to that. Yes there’s been a lot of horrible things done in her name but there’s a time and a place for the banners and it’s when Charles is crowned king.

    Imagine your aunt died and the wee wifey from down the street who she’d bitch about for years turned up at the funeral waving a “Good riddance you old slag” flag – would you accept that silently or would you angrily remonstrate with her?

    Is empathy an alien concept in today’s society?

  • Tony B says:

    Paying respect to what exactly? What is there to respect?

    Elizabeth Saxe Coburg Gotha the head of a criminal fascist enterprise that has screwed this country and raped much of the world, the so called commonwealth for decades, has finally snuffed it, leaving her inbred simpleton of a son, the guy who trousers bags of money from dodgy Arabs to continue the ongoing criminal enterprise, which in America would be subject to the RICO laws, and we’re all supposed to bow down to this as loyal subjects.

    Fuck that I say. No respect is due to her or any of them, and anyone advocating it is a fawning credulous imbecile.

    • Seppington says:

      It’s not about respect it’s about common decency. Just because the royals may lack it doesn’t mean we should.

  • Bryan Coyle says:

    Britain is a scary place just now with all of these right wing fascists crawling out of the woodwork to spew their hatred of Catholics.It was always thus but now they know they can say it without any payback.

  • SSMPM says:

    They have a PR success all the time, don’t they? They own the papers, run the media and print or present their version of the truth every day. But …
    Only if you read or watch it or/and don’t have an objective brain

  • Tony B says:

    Common decency and the royal family? They aren’t common by definition and there is no decency attached to any of them.

    Why should anyone pay any respect to this shower of chancers spongers crooks and sex offenders?

    It is not decent to pay homage and respect to people dead or alive who patently don’t deserve it.

    I tell you what would be decent; giving up their vast amounts of unearned wealth to assist the most needy and poorest in our society, rather than hoovering up huge amounts of money that they actually have no need of and paying their fucking taxes which the rest of us have to do, but that is never going to happen with this shower of greedy rogues.

    • Seppington says:

      Shutting up and not behaving like an arsehole is not the same thing as showing respect.

      • John says:

        Well put. There were so many other actions we could have taken yesterday which would have mad an impact. Turn our backs or stayed in the concourse. Would have sent s stronger message than what we did.

  • Geoff says:

    Time for bed James.
    We have had a bad day but in the immortal words of Scarlet O’Hara saying the last words in Gone With tha Wind…”Tomorrow is another day” HH

  • John says:

    Our demonstration yesterday has met with some applause in some countries. Friends in Turkey have sent me clippings from a turkish paper which applauded ??? the actions of celtic fans.

    They do not realise they are not liked thro out the world.

    I think the establishment would rather fire bullets and divide people instead of siting down and asking the simple question ‘why’. I do think they are afraid of the answer?

  • Tom Foolery says:

    These people that line up to mourn probably, bizarrely, for a couple of hours at least, forget their own troubles for a short time and probably will feel better/happier about themselves . Much in the same way as hun skelping makes us forget all our personal troubles for a short time. To me this mob sadness that brings some sort of joy looks weird to me but i bet our joy at hun skelping looks weird to those with no interest in football. On the other side of that maybe those who make childish banners also get some sort of weird joy from their efforts. It’s not something that i would personally do just as much as this mob mourning is not something that i will join in with. However there’s a bigger point here that most people seem to be missing. The mob that make these banners are harming our club and the very people they are ‘protesting’ against could, without a shadow of doubt, end our club as we know it if they really wanted. These people are powerful and can ruin anyone they wish…even football clubs. Give that some thought and let it sink in.

  • Mark B says:

    As I said a bad week for us …… the comments show how divisive such issues are we should stick to football here and at games.

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