The Media’s Efforts To Accuse Celtic Of “Bad Sportsmanship” 27 Years Ago Are Pathetic.

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Yesterday, when The Mooch allowed Thistle to score a goal direct from the kick-off and level his team’s Scottish Cup tie I knew it would be the start of the canonization of this guy in the eyes of the Scottish media. What I didn’t expect was a blatant attempt to contrast his behaviour and that of his team with our own club.

But we should never underestimate the media’s ability to find some stick to poke us with. This one though is a very, very poor one.

In fact, I’d go so far as to call it pathetic. They have dredged up a Third Round League Cup tie from 1995, against Raith Rovers, and the wailing and moaning of notorious Celtic hater Jimmy Nicholl, who was their manager at the time.

Here’s the background to these events.

We had lost the League Cup final to them the year before, on penalties.

This was a chance for us to get some small measure of revenge, but as was not untypical of us at that time we weren’t really up to much.

In extra time, we huffed and puffed and it looked like more penalties would be required. But lo and behold, Simon Donnelly came up with a very late winner and spared us that. The goal came with almost no time left on the clock.

Naturally, Nicholl was frustrated. Losing to us always frustrated him. Anything he could cling to would frequently be used as an excuse, and this time he used so-called “unsporting conduct” from us. At the time, virtually nobody took that claim seriously.

The Celtic Wiki has a number of match reports from that game, including one by Keevins, and none of them appeared to make a big deal out of the incident in question although all of them point out that Nicholl did. So what actually happened that afternoon?

“Raith’s keeper, Scott Thomson, had kicked the ball out of play when he saw Celtic’s Peter Grant lying in agony, suffering from cramp, and after the midfield player had been treated, Rudi Vata took the throw-in and hurled the ball into Raith’s territory where van Hooijdonk nodded the ball into touch instead of allowing a Raith player to take possession.”

The writer of that, and who did not make a big deal out of it, was Jim Traynor, writing at the time for The Herald. Does that sound to you in any way similar to yesterday’s incident? Vata throws the ball into their half, Van Hooijdonk knocks it over them … and we then subsequently win the ball back off of them when it is put back into play.

This is how Traynor wrote the moment up during his actual match-report.

“In the closing seconds, though, Raith lost possession deep in their own half, van Hooijdonk sent in a cross from the right, substitute Andy Walker got a touch on the ball and when Thomson was able only to parry the ball, Donnelly pounced.”

Absolutely nothing to see. Nothing. A clear case of them having the ball back and then giving it up through slack play. The only “unsporting” thing about it was the bitching Nicholl did at the time and which some of the hacks are trying to do right now.

This is how it was described in The Independent, by their guy David McKinney.

“Deep inside injury time, Scott Thomson, the Raith goalkeeper, sent the ball out of play to allow treatment to a Celtic player, but on the restart Pierre Van Hooijdonk, who was deep inside the Raith half, headed the throw in out of play instead of allowing the ball to run to the Raith defenders. Under pressure, Raith lost possession from the throw, Thomson parried an Andy Walker shot and Simon Donnelly whipped the loose ball into the unguarded net.”

Again, Van Hooijdonk doesn’t go on a mazy run, he doesn’t try to beat anyone, the ball gets punted up to him and he does the right thing but putting it out. We’ve done our bit for sportsmanship. How many times did Nicholl and his team want the ball back? It’s a ludicrous charge and one only someone bitter, hurting and anti-Celtic would have made.

Here’s the take from Hugh Keevins. Yes, the man himself. Who now thrives on controversy but even then would not have hesitated if the thought we’d been at it.#

“Celtic’s winner came after Raith Rovers had voluntarily kicked the ball out of play so that the home team’s Peter Grant could receive treatment for injury. Then the ball was thrown back into play by Rudi Vata, it was aimed in the direction of the Dutchman, who headed it over the dead-ball line once again and motioned his team- mates forward. Raith Rovers subsequently lost possession of the ball from their throw-in and Celtic capitalised.”

So what exactly did we do wrong here except scored a late winner against a team managed by a notorious Celtic hater? Where exactly is the offence against sportsmanship? All I can see is an offence against logic and a bending of fact to suit a shady narrative.

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  • Allan Loveman says:

    I know straight away this would be the narrative,beales the epitome of sporting behaviour,this is what we do as a club etc etc …they seriously thought of keeping the goal …notice no ref or var intervention when Tillman went on his ahem mazy run …ref was happy …. Beale thought of him n him only n his standing with a sycophantic media …even he knew he wudnt have git an easy ride from them after ,this was done to save face n change the narrative.asdded to the I’m protecting my player pish….we see right thru you mooch

  • Seppington says:

    It’s a supremely childish way to stick their imaginary knife in and remind us we got gubbed aff Raith in a final, Pathetic as usual from our hun-lovin’ meedjits…

  • Kevan McKeown says:

    Media sewer rats, nae surprise there. Its their speciality. They’ll always manage tae sniff out some sort of crap, if they think it’ll show the ibrox club or manager in a better light. Especially if it’s in some comparison wi us, regardless of how long ago it was.

  • Joe Mullaney says:

    Chris Sutton should have held his wheesht on this. We don’t need to comment on everything related to 2angers. Sometimes it’s best to say nowt.

  • Nick66 says:

    It’s not so long ago, Motherwell I think, that similar happened to Us. Throw in was not returned to us and Motherwell scored from the shy. Maybe I’m wrong, but it wasn’t so long ago. Anyone else remember, don’t recall any song and dance about fair play then.

  • Saulgoodman says:

    I hear they struggled again – bar the wee huns have they beat anyone convincingly since mickey came back – surely they’re due soon …

    • Nick66 says:

      Saul, I think they struggle to put their boots on and avoid a calf strain.

      • Jamesie says:

        Who cares James. Beat them twice soon and their manager and all the rest of them will be quiet. By the way. Seen the worst VAR incident I have seen in the Chelsea game. Can’t get my head around that, is that a disgrace to English football.l in your mind.

  • Johnny Green says:

    27 years ago, that’s pathetic, it was long before Sevco even became a foetus.

  • John S says:

    Why is anyone trawling this ? Answer beginning with ‘B’.

  • Duncan says:

    He did the honourable thing asa Manager by allowing Thistle the chance to cancel out what was an error of judgment by Tilman.
    You can see by the replay he has no idea what has gone on by the time the game restarts as he is clearly not looking due to the resulting affects / pain of the challenge.
    The question for the media however is do they think Beale makes the same decision in a game against tougher opponents say like in the final at Hampden against us or do they think all is fair in love and war when it comes to the battle of two rivals?

    I don’t think he does and I think he weighed up the opponent and deemed it not too much of a risk.

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