For years now, Hugh Keevins has used his column in a national newspaper for the spiteful, small-minded settling of scores.
He certainly doesn’t use it to impart any wisdom about the game he has spent a lifetime covering, because he’s as uninformed and clueless about that as he would have been when he first started doing it as a reporter still wet behind the ears.
There are worse pundits in this country than Keevins.
That’s something I have to be honest and upfront about, but it’s not giving him credit.
He is certainly better than the pretenders at Glasgow Live who post their FIFA results every other week and who without a doubt will have a shameless piece up soon on how they “simulated” the cup final … there will come a time when monkeys will be able to do that job and then Glasgow Live’s newsroom IQ will shoot up at least ten points.
He is better than the cut and paste merchants who get their articles from Transfermarkt.com. He is better than those who trawl through the blogs and steal whatever nuggets of information and rumour they can find. He is certainly better than almost every single ex-player who has discovered an easy life in punditry. But none of this is to say he’s any good.
Keevins is without a doubt the most astoundingly ignorant of all the pundits and I marvel that someone, anyone, can have spent a lifetime covering a sport that they do not understand and about which they know virtually nothing at all.
The idea that he has ever led an “informed debate” is for the birds, and all of this I could tolerate if he wasn’t so petty, chickenshit and vindictive.
His column yesterday, on the Green Brigade’s banner about Douglas Ross – who proved himself an unworthy specimen during the week when he couldn’t even bring himself to pay tribute to the First Minister’s years of public service – was about nothing other than putting the boot into people he doesn’t like and who cannot stand him.
There was certainly nothing whatsoever about that article which advanced our understanding of the game, that illuminated any key point worth talking about. His suggestion that the SFA disciplinary committee should be looking into it was laughable.
What are they going to do? Issue a three match ban to The Green Brigade? Maybe he hasn’t heard, but the SFA doesn’t get to sanction clubs for banners in the stands. They’ve had the opportunity to do that over the years and never have. They’ve had the opportunity to condemn certain songs and sanction the clubs whose fans sing them and they never have.
But here’s something that’s more to the point; Keevins has spent decades shying away from any kind of comment on what fans sing or what fans do. Any time the subject is broached on that pitiful show he takes part in on Clyde, that fraud on its listeners, in which these matters are raised he bats it aside and repeats the ancient mantra that “we’re here to talk about football.”
Well, it will be a cold day in Hell before that charlatan gets to lecture us.
Apart from anything else, I found the following line to be absolutely hilarious. “I am into this integrity business …”
If I had read that during my morning cornflakes, I would still be wiping stuff off the screen. I was open-mouthed in amazement at the effrontery of that claim. I was stunned he could even spell the word “integrity” … based on his previous statements, he certainly does not comprehend its meaning, not in the way that I recognise it.
How stupid was the column? Well, here’s one of the highlights.
“Celtic’s Charity Foundation is involved in carrying out outstanding work regarding the disadvantaged. They have opened their ground to those in their community who need food or simply warmth in times of austerity.
“In doing so, the Foundation has adhered to the principles that brought Celtic into being in the first place. Surely, in the midst of such noble endeavour, the club can’t tolerate, far less be happy with, a banner as crass and crude as the one displayed last weekend?”
You read that, and you consider who Douglas Ross is, and the full weight of Keevins’ idiocy hits you like an anvil dropped from a helicopter. Austerity was caused by people like Douglas Ross, and by the party he represents. The ranks of the “disadvantaged” are one of the few things in this country to have undergone a radical expansion since 2010 when their party came to office and made working people pay for the sins of the bankers and the speculators.
Foodbanks were virtually unheard of until Cameron, Osborne, May, Johnson and the rest of them cut back social provisions to the point where people had to rely on charity. The fuel crisis has been exacerbated by their incompetence and callousness and unwillingness to impose a proper windfall tax on the energy industry which is reaping obscene rewards from death and war.
This country has become a crueller, more savage place in their period of office. It has become a poorer place thanks to the catastrophe that was Brexit, and it has become a far less tolerant place due to their obscene treatment of refugees and immigrants and Douglas Ross, aside from being a dire official, is the public face of their party in this country.
I see Keevins never mentions the song Celtic Park reverberated to when that banner was unfurled; “If you hate the f@ing Tories clap your hands …” I love his suggestion that Lawwell would have apologised if Michael Beale’s name had been on the banner … Michael Beale will get his own banner in due course and then we’ll find out.
But the idea that this board has some love for socialists and left-wing agitators amongst the Celtic support – this board, which had a Tory peer on it, which still has Brian Wilson on it, who used an article in The Spectator of all publications (he’d have been as well using Follow Follow) to attack Nicola Sturgeon – is so removed from reality that I find it hard to understand how any person who knows anything at all about their politics could believe it.
But for Keevins to use Celtic’s charitable ethos in defence of Douglas Ross is loathsome and vomit inducing, and confirms how witless he really is. It is, in his own words, “an affront to decency”. So too is the way he decided to finish his piece.
“The need to tell right from wrong should not be arbitrary. It must be mandatory.”
And it should be.
But not only is he part of a profession which shied away from it when one club’s supporters spent every weekend, for decades, up to their knees in fenian blood, but he is a sterling example of the sort of craven cowardice which brought that profession low.
He is a prime example of someone in a position of responsibility and who never wanted to rock the boat, who wanted nothing but a pay cheque and an easy life, someone who has spent his entire career running away from the very things that he now brazenly claims to espouse.
It insults the intelligence of every single one of us when Keevins tries to wrap himself in the cloak of integrity, which anyway is nothing but a thin disguise on his real motivation, which is to leap on any passing bandwagon which provides him an opportunity to take a shot at those at Celtic (including Lawwell) who know what he really is.