Ewan Murray’s Latest Anti-Celtic Rant In The Guardian Is White Noise Amidst Excellence.

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In recent times, I’ve become a big fan of the football writing in The Athletic. But before that, and indeed for a long time past, I have been a fan of The Guardian’s sports team which is hands down the best in the business working on this island.

They write, there, with passion, wit and insight. If their writers have favourites, I could not tell you who they are. None of them seems to have a chip on their shoulder or an axe to grind. Some, like Jonathon Wilson, finds certain characters and situations endlessly fascinating – his pieces on Cristiano Ronaldo were superb – but they are never gratuitous.

Only one writer at that paper seems to have a permanent bee in his bonnet over one particular club; Ewan Murray, their sole Scottish correspondent.

He’s a Hearts fan, and by God does he have a problem with Celtic. His piece yesterday, which I read before the game, is exactly the sort I’ve come to expect from him; bitter, sarcastic, selective in its use of facts and generally just pretty arrogant.

“Ange Postecoglou’s VAR complaints feed familiar Old Firm biases” is the headline of his latest piece, where he accuses our manager of feeding paranoia and pursuing some kind of agenda to create headlines. He thinks that his comment about The Mooch when he was asked about his appointment, about being more interested in his dinner was petty. He reckons that Ange has reversed himself on his “ambivalence” towards VAR.

And he thinks Ange has “ignored acts of officialdom that have worked in Celtic’s favour, including since VAR’s introduction.” He follows this up with this beautiful assertion. “They do exist.”

Indeed, these “acts of officialdom” are so common and widespread that he does not cite a single example. Instead, like a Sasquatch enthusiast, he simply leaves us with a blank assertion and the task of finding our own evidence. That’s not journalism, it’s ring and run. It’s piss taking. It’s cheating. And exactly what I expect from this writer unworthy of his platform.

Amazingly, he suggested that the 38 league games in which Ibrox has failed to concede a penalty are no more than “a statistical anomaly”. Here, again, he colossally fails in his principle task as a journalist by not exploring what that stat actually represents; that’s a full season of games and not one single penalty kick. An anomaly?

Here’s the thing with anomalies; they very rarely happen twice. But we know because of Andrew Smith’s excellent piece from a week or so ago that this particular bolt of lightning has stuck before, and in the exact same place. This is the second lengthy run without conceding a penalty in the league that this Ibrox club has been on … the other lasted 44 games.

An anomaly is one-off occurrence. It’s unthinkable that Murray is not aware that this is the second time this has happened in a mere four-year period … they have conceded only four spot kicks in that time, whilst they shipped six in Europe in a ten-month spell.

He talks, though, about Ibrox’s silence lasting only as long as it takes for a bad decision to go their way. Indeed, their forums – which for weeks have been calling us paranoid are on full-scale moon howling mode today because we finally got a decision. Still, Murray makes the point – without grasping it in its full context – that in 2019 they raised 100 kinds of Hell about Willie Collum which resulted in his being excluded from their games for months.

A fact, that, but here’s what he didn’t say; they lodged their complaint with the SFA in November of that year. In December a penalty was awarded against them which was to be the last one before that 44 game run started. When they finally did get a decision against them in the league guess what they did? They complained about it.

As CQN recounted recently; “The ref who broke that 44-game run was Euan Anderson, who awarded St Johnstone a crucial late penalty (although the league was already won) and was immediately banished to the lower leagues for three weeks. He only returned to the topflight for an end-of-season St Mirren-Dundee United clash. Lesson learned; I assume.”

Oh most definitely. What a pity Murray didn’t do his homework before turning in another anti-Celtic screed full of ridiculous assertions and unsupported conclusions.

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  • Tony B says:

    Celtic lives in his head rent free, hence his incandescent rage when he sees the world famous Hoops in other sporting contexts.

    Sad wee narrow minded creature.

  • Oddjob says:

    Excellent piece ! It would be interesting to complement it with the number of penalties awarded in the same period to the Ibrox club.

  • REBELLIOUS says:

    Great retort to ‘journeyman journalism’ these folks could learn reading you James, he’ll learn nothing in his current position.

    IF you know of any other Scottish sports journalists who, you think are worthy, well, I for one would like that information… Please, always open to proper sources.

  • SSMPM says:

    Just another professional bigot and a fully paid up member of the order no doubt.

    Shame there’s no professional conduct body?

  • SSMPM says:

    Just another professional bigot and a fully paid up member of the order no doubt.

    Is there no journalistic professional conduct body?

  • Henry McDade says:

    The Guardian is a shadow of its former self. It was them that fired the starting gun on “Get Corbyn” going along with this anti-semitism in the Labour Party nonsense which is for the most part a complete fiction. They have also washed their hands on Julian Assange even though they were happy to profit from his work.

    As a reader for over 30 years I gave it up in 2016 when I saw their hostility to a decent man like Corbyn. Not surprised they have hired someone like Murray.

  • John Copeland says:

    Obviously his Scottish sports editor thinks he’s doing a sterling job …. Ach ,type up what you want ,no problems!

  • Scud Missile says:

    Lol their forum FF last night was a SUPERB setting for them to spit blood on boy and did they spit it alright.
    Their pain you could feel in every comment or post about how we get all the decisions,and they don’t get any.
    Some had posted that they wanted their klub to contact the SFA to complain about yesterday’s game,a game that had jackshit to do with them.
    Should things not go their way today watch the protests going into the SFA.
    Though that won’t happen because the longer the games on as a stalemate the closer the penalties will be awarded to sevco.

  • Jae Walker says:

    Ewan Murray he’s like a big school lassie bursting for a p@sh.

    Nothing but a second rater, stealing a wage at a publication way above his ability.

    That’s why he makes noise. He knows he’s a mediocre ‘talent’. It’s his way of validating to himself that he’s actually got a degree of acumen and insight.

    Why the Guardian persist with this inferior ‘journalist’, G@d knows

    One thing’s for sure though, he’ll be one of the first to cull, if circulation drops and belts have to be tightened.

  • Magua says:

    Most Hearts supporters have still not got over the events of 3rd May 1986. They bitterly resent Celtic to this very day.

    Hail Hail.

  • harold shand says:

    He’s like that other Jambo Ewan , the sh*t chart radio DJ

    Just a pair of horrible c*nts that are haunted by Albert Kidd

    Celtic fans should just block them so they don’t have to even be annoyed with the cr*p they come out with just to a*se lick the Huns

  • Steve Gray says:

    Ewan mee and a dog named blue, springs to mind?

  • sligo123456 says:

    Hi James, having being a bookie in my youth, and looking at Sevcos penalty record, the mind boggles!

    If I were to put up a price for 0 pens against sevcos over the 2 periods I would not be generous in giving at least 100/1 for each period!
    Having said that Bonny Scotland, honest mistakes! Not!!

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