If there is a scary story from the past week it is the one about how police had to restrict access to Ibrox for certain fans when they discovered a cache of weapons inside the stadium and which had been smuggled in there, presumably when one of their supporter groups was planning its tifo, a plan which police later cancelled to much wailing.
I have not read such a disturbing Scottish football story in a long time, and it is amazing to me that it was not making wall to wall headlines, although maybe I should not be.
In the coverage over the club’s appointment of a new PR man they made it clear that one of the campaigns he has helped them on these past years has been the one to push aside any notion that they should be responsible for the behaviour of their fans. They don’t want to deal with the monster they’ve created. The media apparently doesn’t either.
Still, that story is profoundly disturbing and I am sure that Celtic’s directors will be particularly troubled by it, especially in light of yet another attack on our staff on the day of the game, the second such time this has happened recently.
I posted a piece earlier in the week about how manifestly unsafe that ground now is for our fans; it seems that our staff are no safer than the supporters and, in fact, may even be in a far more precarious position.
Who needed a baseball bat inside a football ground? Was that for swinging across the segregated seats or was it intended for someone the carrier could get much, much closer to? That’s a thought to keep our security people up at night.
And yet it’s not our security people who should be most concerned. If some baseball bat wielding nutter had gotten near our manager with that weapon their club would be at the centre of one of the darkest days in modern Scottish football history and the recriminations over it and the fallout would have been immense.
Their claim – as exposed by Michael Nicholson in November – that on the day a Celtic physio was struck by a bottle last season that the CCTV was not working in the section where glass was thrown onto the pitch and ended up in the Celtic goal is absurd and shocking but an example of how much contempt that club has for the rest of us and how little it really cares about getting a grip on its lunatic fringe.
As it is, this time some of the weapons were found and it is to be hoped they are the subject of a far-ranging investigation within Ibrox and at Police Scotland. The implications of this are enormous, and gravely concerning. The people who placed those weapons there must be found and removed from the club’s fan-base immediately. It is a start anyway.
The wider issues relating to this fixture and a toxic support which the club no longer even attempts to keep a rein on are going to be with us for a while. I am worried about every visit to that ground now, and not about anything that happens on the pitch.
I don’t believe I’ll be alone in feeling that way.
I would bet that a lot of people inside Celtic Park aren’t terribly thrilled by the prospect either.