Years ago now, Hugh Keevins said probably the most gutless thing I’ve ever heard from a broadcast journalist in my life. He said that he didn’t believe that there was corruption in Scottish football, but that if there was he would not want to know about. His rationale was that then the game would no longer be worth seeing and “that’s it finished.”
The kind of journalist who would not look for something in case he found it is a spineless fraud taking money under false pretences. A profession which cared about its integrity and wanted to preserve its future would not entertain someone like this. His presence in any room where people are to be found “doing the news” devalues their role and their efforts and their hard work, because people see and hear his words and don’t trust theirs.
Reading his column today, nothing in it surprised me in the slightest.
There he was, in the early paragraphs, “talking up Scottish football” by describing tomorrow’s game in apocalyptic language as if there was going to be literal blood flowing down the streets. From there he dredges up the ancient nonsense about the form book going out the window even as he’s denying doing any such thing.
Finally, he arrives at his “them” or lack thereof.
“Many Celtic supporters believe John Beaton, the match referee, will do everything in his power to ensure an (Ibrox) victory tomorrow. A widely-circulated photograph of the official in a pub frequented by (Ibrox) supporters long ago established Beaton on social media platforms as a man not to be trusted. Allegedly.”
First up, there’s nothing “alleged” about it. Beaton was photographed drinking in an Ibrox fan bar after he’d officiated at a game involving their side and ours. There is no suspicion here, there is only how you choose to interpret a fact.
Keevins can dispute the interpretation, but he sounds like someone who isn’t quite playing with a full deck when he tries to dispute the fact. We all know that photo is genuine. It’s what significance you attach to that photo that matters here, and that he clearly has no interest in disputing it what it means and tries, instead, to deflect tells you all you need to know.
He then turns the argument into one about the mechanics of possible cheating.
“The referee will be working at a match being shown live on television by a satellite company using more cameras than might be thought feasible for a football match and overseen by VAR, the mechanism which is supposed to guarantee the avoidance of doubt regarding contentious issues. VAR is, however, believed by some to be in place with the implicit purpose of denying Celtic natural justice.”
He seems to be arguing that no official would dare to cheat or attempt to influence a game with so many people watching. Is he kidding? Sky has been watching games for years, and stuff has gone on which you can scarcely believe. VAR has been in operation for two months and not one key decision has fallen in Celtic’s favour. Not one.
We’ve spoken here many times about how games can be influenced by officials in myriad ways. No official is going to give a penalty every time a player goes down in the box; he does not have to.
An early booking for a defender changes the whole way he plays a game. If a side plays front-foot football which depends on passing and running, allowing them to be fouled or penalising them every time they make a 50/50 challenge can disrupt a game plan more completely than a single bad decision or series of dodgy calls ever could.
What follows is worse.
“Taking into account the fact Celtic are in pole position while going for an 11th title win in 12 years – and repeating the fact they have dropped just nine points in a calendar year – the evidence to support the case for institutional bias would have to be thought flimsy at best. It is also insulting and demeaning to Postecoglou and his players, who have assembled astonishing numbers to confirm their undoubted superiority, to overlook their efforts while scouring the landscape for treachery.”
First, who is “overlooking” the efforts of the players or the coach?
Indeed, he quotes the stats himself on what these guys have done.
Only an utter moron could suggest that Celtic fans are somehow insulting those who have proven themselves the best in the country by pointing out the glaring “inconsistencies” in the way decisions are made.
(But of course, there are no inconsistencies, as this blog has pointed out time and again. There is a depressingly obvious consistency to almost all of the decisions we’re watching.)
Secondly, the fact that officials haven’t been able to settle title races against us is something I am extremely proud of.
It shows how big the gap between our club and the rest is when Ibrox has not been able to lay a glove on us in spite of some of the worst officiating in Europe. And that’s part of the point as well; these guys are incompetent refs and everyone knows that. Should we be surprised if they also turn out to be incompetent cheats?
As to institutional bias being hard to argue for, don’t make us laugh for God’s sake. Do we really need to list the proof of institutional bias?
It goes back longer than any of us cares to remember. We forced the resignation of Jim Farry because he wilfully held up the registration of Jorge Cadete. Hugh Dallas had to leave office after sending a sectarian email.
The SFA Head of Registrations, Sandy Bryson, who someone survived the Farry episode was up to his neck in the scandal of the EBT contracts which, by the way, also involved another SFA President. There was no title stripping, as promised in the dodgiest document in the history of the game and by a corrupt governing body stitch-up.
No evidence of institutional bias? That’ll be why I’ve accumulating ten years of articles on it, including the notorious A-Z of Scottish Football Scandal And Corruption. There is a ton of evidence for it, just not anything this yahoo wants to read or acknowledge because then, in his own words, that would be the game here done.
He would rather watch a bent game than do something about it, and he freely admits it, so when he lectures us on “conspiracy theories” and sneers at us from the comfort of a profession which would have got shot of him years ago if it had an ounce of instinct for self-preservation, it is very easy to sneer back. Because this guy is a joke.
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