Just when you think you’ve seen it all, another ex-Celtic proves that you lose IQ points just getting behind a microphone with certain people.
This time it’s Peter Grant, appearing on the same radio station where Andy Walker was so completely and utterly owned the other night. His partner in the studio? Barry Ferguson. So right there that should tell you about the level of debate.
Grant demanded to know what the point of Celtic wanting a meeting with the SFA is.
It’s almost as if these people all make the same calculation; I haven’t been in the papers for a while, so how can I assure that I make some headlines? And the easiest way to do that, as has been proven time and time again, is to suggest Celtic has gotten something wrong.
So many of these people do it because it works. Nothing is guaranteed to get you in the paper quicker than if you’ve got some connection to Celtic and you tell the listening world or an editor or just some down on his luck hack that we’re acting stupidly as a club. You’ll see your name in headlines before the sun rises and sets.
“What is the case? What is it going to do? Barry (Ferguson) will say Rangers have had decisions against them, and I have said for years Celtic have had it against them. We have all said it, my grandfather use to say it! We only talk about it because it’s Celtic and Rangers, but what are you going to get? You are going to get silence.”
He’s saying that all clubs get these decisions against them, the exact same argument Walker tried and failed to deploy. Of course all clubs get bad decisions, but that should not stop anyone who takes the business of scrutinising this stuff seriously from asking the simple series of questions which are being asked in this case; is one club getting a disproportionate number of bad decisions? Is another club getting a disproportionate number of good ones?
I am always leery of “stats” which appear online. Most of them are wrong because those putting them up don’t do their basic research. But it’s clear from all the numbers in the public domain that one side in Scotland gets more penalty kicks than any other. They are also the club which has not had a penalty kick awarded against them in the league this season.
Now think about that for a moment. Not one penalty decision against them in 20 games, in spite of a large number of controversial incidents which have been highlighted by opposing managers, former refs and even some in the journalist trade itself.
If the argument for the number of penalties they get is that their club plays attacking football and therefore is more often in the opposition box, why aren’t the numbers for them and Celtic at least broadly comparable? Because we play more attacking football than they do and score more goals to prove it. We play a style of football which emphasises playing on the deck; in short, more of our players are in the opposing penalty area with the ball at their feet than any other team in the country and our penalty stats aren’t close to theirs.
Grant thinks all we’ll get from any meeting in silence. Maybe he’s not noticed it, but we’re getting something right now which is much worse than silence. We’re getting enablers – like him, you might argue – telling us “nothing wrong here Timmy, now be on your way.” We’re getting the SFA feeding preposterous excuses to tame hacks in an effort to deflect and deny us the space in which even to put questions forward in the public sphere.
I remember Grant as a player. He was a no-nonsense type who had courage and determination. Thank God he’s not running things at Parkhead right now because his attitude seems to be that for fear of getting nothing we should do nothing and say nothing, just sit in the corner, perhaps, with our thumb in our mouth and hope for the best.
It is gutless. But hey, it got him in the papers.