Celtic May Be The Target Of Rogue Officials, But It’s Other Clubs Who Suffer For It.

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When I’m not writing articles for this site, one of the things that I mightily enjoy in my downtime is assassinating people.

It is so much fun, especially as I’m not tied to a handful of specific targets and can now freelance my way around the world doing it. The great thing about freelancing is that there are literally no limits on how you get the job done.

There was a version of that life where you would have been punished once for what is known in the trade as “collateral damage.” Security staff, police, military or even civilians, those poor sods caught in the wrong place at the wrong time.

Now there are few if any penalties for it. Collateral damage is sometimes necessary. Whatever gets the job done, right?

I am, of course, referring to a computer game, not actual murders.

The game in question – Hitman: World Of Assassinations as it’s now known – is a masterpiece with a new mode called Freelancer, which lets you pick from a series of randomly generated “contracts” and travel the world taking care of business. The Hitman games, for anyone who’s never played them, are amongst the most ingenious ever made.

It’s a lot of fun, and the game encourages you to think on your feet. That’s why, in my time travelling in its world, a lot of innocent people have died horrible deaths.

Because sometimes there’s just no escaping from it. Kill a target, or just anyone really, and get spotted and you have two choices; let the living witness go and you’ve been “compromised” and need a new disguise, or add that person to the carnage. It’s so much easier just to pull out your gun and shoot them in the head. Collateral damage, then.

Let’s talk about collateral damage for a while.

Let’s talk in particular about St Johnstone and Nicky Clark. He won his appeal today against the decision to send him off at the weekend. I felt bad for Nicky Clark and I’m glad that he won his case, it vindicates his manager and highlights the utter absurdity of the decision in the first place. Nicky Clark was not the intended target at the weekend though.

That was us. When you break it all down it’s Celtic’s name on the contract. Ibrox and its allies are hell-bent on taking us out, and so it’s just as important that they keep on winning as it is that as many obstacles as possible are put in our way … and in their quest to secure as many points as they can get there is nothing that they will not do.

Other clubs just don’t seem to get this. Celtic fans and bloggers have highlighted these god-awful stats about how long it’s been since a penalty was awarded against the Ibrox club and how few major decisions go against them, and how many bad decisions they get … but none of that has really touched us because we keep on winning anyway.

But a club like St Johnstone – more important, perhaps, a club like Hearts who are chasing third spot and play the Ibrox side tonight – must look at those stats the same way that we do and know what they mean. It means that if you come up against that club and you have them in a tight spot, every 50/50 tackle carries a red card risk.

Every incident in your penalty box carries the risk of a spot-kick.

Correspondingly, you know that if something happens in the Ibrox penalty area, or one of their player’s crashes into one of your players in a studs up lunge that the rule book won’t apply in any way that you previously recognised it.

And it’s not even required that such an incident happen before you have your eyes open to what’s really going on here. You can look at those stats and know it before your team even goes out on the park. You will be judged by a different set of rules than normal, just because you’re playing against them and they need to catch us.

It’s nothing personal, just business. Your club is collateral damage. Whatever those decisions mean to your club, they aren’t even considerations in the grand scheme in which you’ve been enmeshed. If one of those decisions puts one of your players on the side-lines for a critical game, too bad so sad. You were just in the wrong place at the wrong time.

If your club is cost a place in Europe because their club needed a penalty to win the three points to maintain some phony “momentum”, well that’s a pity and all that, but it just so happened that you wandered into the kill-zone and them are the breaks.

Last night, in order to kill a target at a high end party in a Paris mansion, I dropped a grenade on a crowded dancefloor and kept walking. I dunno how many people were killed in the ensuing blast, but I do know that I was able to move swiftly to a new part of the house and hide whilst the search went on for whoever could have perpetrated such a diabolical act.

That’s a whole damned lot of collateral damage right there.

Here’s the thing though; after a few minutes of keeping my head down, the search was over, the bodies were taken away and the party went on as before. My remaining target was alert now though, and knew that something evil was afoot and he was that much harder to kill. But the regular party goers, who had just seen what lengths some murderous fiend was prepared to go to … well they continued to enjoy themselves as before.

To me, that’s Scottish football in a nutshell.

No club playing against the one from Ibrox is unaware now of what could happen at any moment in the game. The rulebook won’t protect them; far from it. It will be twisted every which way in order to do them maximum harm if that becomes required. Those stats are there for reference, and so are the memories of past scandals.

St Johnstone are only the latest victims.

A Hearts fan forum openly discussed the first Andrew Smith article a couple of weeks back, and although some of them got it, and understood the scale of the problem, others expressed their lack of sympathy for Celtic or expressed the view that we get as many decisions as Ibrox does. But show me the run where we went 40 odd games without conceding a penalty, or were the beneficiaries of bizarre decisions week after week after week.

They’re like those Parisian party-goers in the game; dancing under the chandeliers not knowing if there’s a guy in their midst who someone might want to drop one on. And even if I was to do that (and I’ve done it several times) they’d go right back to what they were doing the moment the mess was cleared up … even as alarms are raised all across the location as bodies are found with their necks snapped and knives in their backs.

What’s it going to take before someone says “right, the party’s over”?

We are the target … but when are other clubs going to stop playing their assigned role in this farce? When do they stop being collateral damage? When do they get serious about rooting this stuff out? There is a real world cost to this, it’s found in prize money, in points, in cup places … they see those stats just as we do. But we’re alert to what they mean.

Or maybe it just sometimes seems like we’re the only ones who care.

You’d think that they’d have learned by now how stupid that is.

Hearts take note; it’s your turn tonight.

You may not be “the target” but if their chasing us down means that you need to suffer some shocking reversal they will not hesitate to inflict damage on you.

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  • scouse bhoy says:

    did the hearts forum mention the decisions that have went against us at tynecastle last season and the ones this season with var allegedly in use ?.

  • Neil Smith says:

    That Scum article on Beale “watching” his son’s football practice from his car ? FFS make u puke… Not much pro us in Scotland is there but them!!!??

  • Scud Missile says:

    Lol on FF they are going TONTO tonight abiut the possibility of Queens Park getting booted out of the Scottish Cup for fielding ineligible player and winning the game.
    The sevco klub supporters are accusing Celtic of using the same tactic as Queens Park but got away with it last season by playing players for the rescheduled match with Hearts in the cup by bringing in players that had not been registered for the scheduled game previously called off for some reason.
    Imagine sevco fans calling out players ineligible to play after 10 years of their klub that died had done the very thing.

    • Benjamin says:

      That’s actually pretty funny Scud. They’re also completely ignoring the fact that Craig Gordon actually played that game for Hearts against us when he would have played for us against them had the match been played on the original date. So apparently by that logic, it’s okay for players to switch sides in the middle of a competition but not okay for clubs to replace players who leave under such circumstances!

  • The legend says:

    Excellent article I’ve often thought it’s going to have to take one or more of the other teams to call it out for anyone to actually take any notice.
    But unfortunately I can’t see that happening as they are terrified of the peepul and their friends in the media.

  • Benjamin says:

    This is a really good article James. To get any kind of reform, there needs to be a consensus throughout the league. If this is viewed as a Celtic-Rangers squabble, other clubs will simply check out and not get involved. But as we’re seeing on a weekly basis there is a lot of collateral damage. It’s going to affect the outcome of the European places, who makes the cut for the top-6 after 33 games, and will likely determine who gets relegated. That’s a pretty big deal to every team in the league, even for clubs that might be spared a ghastly outcome this season – they’ll be broadly aware that it could be them next season or the season after that. In one sense, having VAR has been a smashing success. The referees can no longer claim ‘honest mistakes’ if they’re forced to watch the replay from multiple angles. VAR is forcing this to become a discussion point each and every week and is doing a great job of exposing the farce that the SFA is inflicting upon us. It’s only a matter of time before there’s a strong enough consensus to do something about it, and I have a feeling it will be in a few years once enough teams have suffered real consequences of their own (lack of European football, relegation, or KO’d of the cup competitions).

  • Scud Missile says:

    Lol in a few years time it will be sorted,think of how many dodgy decisions the new klub at ibrox will have benefited from those years you said it will take to sort out.
    They are a middle table team fighting to get into Europe if the refsand the SFA did not keep bailing them out,that’s other teams in the league missing out in higher place league money and European football and income.

  • Holysmokes says:

    We need Blue Shirt Guy!

  • Seppington says:

    Us = protagonists
    Hun = antagonists
    The rest = NPCs with abysmally programmed AI.

    Nothing will change as long as the Masonic lodge has it’s malign influence infesting Scotland’s SME community…


      Spot on. That’s the root of the problem.
      To many Chairmen, Managers and Players they see
      ‘The Fix’ as being priced in over the Season and
      as part of the Brotherhood they are OK with that.
      Similarly these same Clubs and players will run
      through brick walls when they play us thus fulfilling their
      ‘Loyalty’ by playing their part for the cause.
      The usual Agricultural Neanderthal Brothers
      that think nothing of the over the top, sliding two footed in
      the air tackles hoping to injure some of our players trying to derail us.
      Usually condoned by the MIBs and if not the players
      take any punishment as a ‘Badger of Honour’.
      It’s a Cesspit of Country.
      Institutionalised bigotry and racism is the Norm.

  • BJM says:

    Great Article james, 100% true. My god can the rest of Scottish football not see what is staring them in the face.
    Scottish officials and the sfa should be held to account for this embarrassment . Maybe a higher authority somewhere not in corrupt Scotland (judges ,police ,masons ) could look at this industrial scale cheating .

  • Jorge says:

    Is it possible that the other clubs accept the status quo whereby the ibrox club gets all the calls in their favour as in that way it proportionately affects them all the same? None if them gets treated any worse than the others. It is only Celtic that is the real victim and at a massive disadvantage.

  • Jim Cameron says:

    This strategy to ensure the game is all about making it about competition between the “old firm”is the business model followed and accepted by all in Scottish football ……it’s a strategy devoid of any vision but is fully supported by all the professional clubs including Celtic .The other clubs build their budgets and business plans around it ,The football authorities are totally onboard with it .The press support it and try to use it to sell copy and stay in business. The bottom line is Scottish football has zero sporting integrity but is a “fixed” corrupt triumvate of Celtic Rangers and the football Governance Authorities fully supported by the Scottish press and the other clubs . If you’re looking for sporting integrity and quality look elsewhere other than Scottish Football.

  • David Drew says:

    Brilliant piece!!

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