Celtic Relations With Ibrox Have Bottomed Out At The Most Volatile Possible Time.

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When two countries are at each other’s throats, it is common practice for the embassies to issue advisory warnings to their citizens about travelling to the other place. Americans travelling to Russia at the present time would not be assured of a friendly reception nor would Russians travelling there, although the two nations are not at war.

Right now, on The State Department website, you can read the following;

“Do not travel to Russia due to the unpredictable consequences of the unprovoked full-scale invasion of Ukraine by Russian military forces, the potential for harassment and the singling out of U.S. citizens for detention by Russian government security officials, the arbitrary enforcement of local law, limited flights into and out of Russia, the Embassy’s limited ability to assist U.S. citizens in Russia, and the possibility of terrorism. U.S. citizens residing or travelling in Russia should depart immediately. Exercise increased caution due to the risk of wrongful detentions.”

You would not think that you would get such a thing in Scottish football, but unfortunately we’re in that moment right now where Celtic has had to refuse tickets for fans wishing to visit Ibrox as their safety cannot be guaranteed. That’s the equivalent of the State Department dispensing with the advisory notice and simply refusing to issue visas for Russia at all.

It is an astonishing thing for our club to have had to do, but recent events in just the past week and a bit prove that the club has taken the correct path.

On Sunday, Hugh Keevins, in his latest column dripping with condescension but containing at least one core of truth when he talked about the disgrace of Ibrox not issuing a club apology to Fran Alonso, repeated Ibrox’s PR lie that both clubs were concerned about the safety of their fans and that this had let to a “joint decision”.

We know this isn’t true. Ibrox refused tickets for the coming weekend’s game because to have taken them when we refused ours on the grounds of safety would have painted their club in a staggering bad light, and posed the sort of questions they don’t want asked.

They refused their tickets not out of concern for their fans but because of the damage the contrast would have done to their reputation as a club.

They punished their fans to avoid bad press.

Yesterday, I wrote about how our women’s team and under 21 team have witnessed their loss of control as a club. It’s worrying considering that we have three matches against them in a matter of weeks, and I cannot remember the relationship being worse.

The Fran Alonso incident was an opportunity for their club to mend some fences with us. That they chose to say nothing instead is damning. There is a ghastly mentality at that club right now, and Celtic is pulling ever further away from anything to do with them.

They are a club out of control. Everyone in Scottish football knows it, and views them with the utmost disquiet, but we’re the club that has to play them in these massive games and every act of theirs lately has only served to pour more fuel on the fire.

And that won’t let up one bit as we move forward. Celtic knows it, because Celtic knows that their club is going to have to sell season tickets somehow and putting on the appearance of being perpetually at war with the rest of the game – us especially – will do more to sell them than any other thing will. They will not resist the pull of that.

I fear for what will happen on the streets of this city, especially after the Hampden game if Celtic win and we’ve already beaten them at Parkhead. If we go to Ibrox and win in those circumstances, the outrage in the stands against their own club might be so great that Celtic players and officials get sucked into it as collateral damage.

Their club has had chances to resolve this. They’ve had chances to take the temperature down a notch, and they have not done anything.

They could have given Celtic the assurances we needed to know our fans were safe. In the aftermath of the court case involving the bottling of our backroom team member they could have issued a stern warning to their fans and started to get real. They failed to. They did not issue any public rebuke or warning even after the conviction.

They could have disciplined their women’s assistant immediately following the Fran Alonso incident, and made it clear that they aren’t going to tolerate their staff behaving like that. I know their failure to make it clear how out of order that was has disturbed Celtic greatly, as has the reaction to the under 21 game at the weekend.

We are going into these three games with the worst atmosphere swirling around us that I can ever remember. Their fans have behaved with violence. Their players have behaved with violence and their coaches have behaved with violence. Our club turned down tickets at their ground because we are not in the least bit impressed by their response to the incidents which have happened there and I know none of our people is looking forward to making that trip.

All Hell could break loose that day, with our players and management team surrounded by wall-to-wall hatred, which if we keep on winning could spark mayhem. They had a responsibility to do everything they could to defuse that bomb and instead here we are, hurtling towards those games with no way of knowing how bad it might get.

And I don’t see any way that these two clubs are going to be able to go back to even the most basic business-like relationship, the one that is necessarily even for civility between the boards … we are so far from that right now that you can see the Americans and Russians mending their fences before we even come close to it.

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  • Captain Swing says:

    Apocalyptic sounding, but there is the historical parallel of Belfast Celtic at Windsor Park on Boxing Day 1948. Hope it doesn’t come to anything like that, but the SFA & SPFL need to grow a pair (each) and put some manners on their renegade member.

  • Jimmy R says:

    Remember the big boy in the school playground?
    It was his ba’, his game, his rules or he was taking his ba’ and going home.
    That appears to be the ibrox club right now. Discipline issues with the fans, the B team and the women’s coaching staff, controversy over SPFL sponsorship deals, pandering to the febrile masses with the ticket allocations, leading to a boycott by our club. So much going on. So little being said. They have stuck their head in the sand and refuse to acknowledge that they could be to blame for even any of it. Meanwhile the SMSM are holding them to account on these issues . . . Oh wait. The SMSM have just renewed their vow of omerta over the ibrox club although they were forced to acknowledge the issue of another 7M shares at 25p a pop. It’s not so long ago that club 1872 were being fleeced for £2.25 a share. Has that been raised in the SMSM? Not that I’ve noticed.

    • Tommy Kennedy says:

      Sevco FC are out of control and they need to be reigned in by sfa before they really implode as there is minimal apologies coming out from their club for the attacks on our people and they should be ashamed but I fear things are going to get worse as they are very poor losers

  • Kevan McKeown says:

    Tbh, ah cannae see there bein any mass pitch invasions, tho might get some odd bampot runnin ontae the park, so it’ll be up tae the security tae take extra measures. We were givin them regular tankins, humiliations, in the rodgers seasons and far as i can remember, only once did an ‘upset gentleman’ (who turned out as it happens, tae be a sex offender ) run ontae the pitch tae challenge Broony. Different times ah know, tho wouldnae imagine so.

  • Eldraco says:

    By the time our visit to ipox rolls around we are so far ahead it makes no difference so we forfeit.

    We lose the 3 points and our board issues the statement explaining that because of the hostility and the failure of the board of Rangers* to address ECT ECT as well as a genuine fear for life and limb the decision has been taken ECT ECT .

    We could ONLY do it if it had no material effect on third spot of course but it’s doable and why not, what a message to send world-wide.

  • Kevan McKeown says:

    @ eldraco. Fuck that, no chance. Forfeit nothin tae that mob. A far better message should come from the SFA. They should warn, that any attacks or injuries tae any of our staff or players from the stands, would be met wi severe ramifications for their club and support from theirselves and ultimately UEFA. We’ve the previous attacks tae use as reason for proposin the warnin.

  • SSMPM says:

    Agree Kevan, none of us want to see another ‘game of shame’. Lessons need to have been learned from the rangers v hibs cup final, fans need to be kept from the field of play even in celebration as it can deteriorate quickly. The new breed at the midden makes a bitter bigoted noise from the safety of their cauldron when 700 away fans are in attendance in the press, radio and media bar a few ultras. It’s all hun noise. HH

  • harold shand says:

    Headlines I’ve read today so far

    Celtic can be attacked

    Show Celtic no respect

    The media in this country whip the hatred up they are utter scum

  • SSMPM says:

    Forgive my ignorance guys but what does ECT mean? If we’re allowed, under H&S rules or whatever rules, we should think about additional security for squad and staff protection at the midden. History is the best predictor of the future and recent history advises some sort of brolly protection from missiles from forecasted pain and possible unsettled breather(en).
    Forfeiting a game is a crazy mental idea that, without a valid reason (eg not enough available players due to widespread injuries, outbreak of illnesses, etc) could lead to further sanction/s eg a 10 point deduction. Wouldn’t the rankers love that and what a gift the SFA could present to them as an interim peace-making arrangement. Nor should we put out a considerably weakened team in the event they rack up the kind of goal feast we’re used to us having over them. It’s not on, it’s not sporting and it’s not Celtic. HH

  • Kevan McKeown says:

    It just means………

  • mhiguel66 says:

    IF we win those two matches and then blooter them again @iboaks that lot may well be revolting, however, they have a duty to protect teams and staff. Police will also be there to do so.

    IF that’s not met 100% Celtic already have examples to show and would be well within their rights to refuse to play @iboaks park until they have passed all security and protection issues.

    They cannot expect a sporting event to take place in an unsafe arena, that’s just madness.

    Cannae wait though!

  • SSMPM says:

    As in etc…not trying to be pedantic just wondered if some sort of txt speak?

  • Tenaka Khan says:

    To me, both Celtic and the SPL have been far too passive in the face of the escalating aggression and coat trailing coming out of Ibrox since the end of last season.
    Regarding the broken glass in Joe Hart’s penalty area there were heavy hints coming out of Celtic that (a) no bottles were thrown at half time and (b) the Ibrox ground staff took an inordinate amount of time checking the condition of the area during the half time break. The inference was obvious.
    I accept that when any incident is raised publicly the Scottish media twists it to make it seem like a two-sided issue but we’ve now had three of our staff targeted and one seriously injured in a matter of weeks with very little comment from anyone in authority.
    Celtic have a duty of care to their staff and their fans. Saying the bare minimum on staff safety and letting Ibrox spuriously claim that both clubs were in agreement on away fans shows dereliction of that duty. The time has come for Celtic to tackle the issue head on and to face down the biased and/or cowardly Scottish media once and for all, particularly the EBT loving BBC.

  • Stesano says:

    The reason their club officials act in this way in my opinion is because as a club we do play ball anymore as in the bs “o f” and all as bad as each other bs lies also commerciallly we stopped dealing with them when wee Fergus arrived thank God!I don’t like how many of our board oppetate or agree with them but fair play they realised we had to get away from that bs I for one never ever used the ” O f” tag always hated it and only ever served the POSION , hey I like beating that club same as we all do but it’s the fallout and the sheer hatred they have always revelled in! James they always caused unrest in the streets always! The site of green in Brigadoon is not welcome and for them aided disgracefully and almost validated by our government protectirs on the beat! When they unleash their anti social scum like behaviours I could write abook on stories from friends visiting from Ireland and overseas females and Childern to! look they are Digusting human beings and since we pulled away, we now see what many of us already knew their board,coaches and players are full of the same hate! It’s like a mad cult and personally I rather never play that poison!! Its no win for our club especially in Brigadoon Scotland the huns live for this game as they gave no real identity of sense of self or community, we all saw that when oldco died!! They got nothing but hate and it was always thus, just go and hammer then CELTIC! and I love they won’ near our great world famous ground! I love it

  • Stesano says:

    We do not play ball anymore I meant

  • Martin.H says:

    If they say they can’t guarantee the safety of our former players, what chances do our supporters and current staff have?

  • Pan says:

    The Ibrox club is evil to the core!

  • Robert Downey says:

    I agree with every word James, I too am worried for our fans at the next Glasgow derby at Ibrox, have been for some time.
    I find it strange that the SFA have remained silent about the recent indiscipline at Ibrox.
    If we win the next2 Glasgow Derbies, I think it would be prudent to relinquish the last one for safety sake. That in my opinion, would make a well needed statement to all concerned.

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