Stephen Robinson has told the media that Celtic will not get a guard of honour from his players, in a decision that he claims was made “above his head.”
I’m curious about this for a couple of reasons, the most obvious of which is why are directors making that decision for managers and players who might want to pay such respect to fellow professionals?
The other question is just what is the St Mirren’s board’s problem with affording Celtic a traditional mark of respect for a great football campaign?
This game either has standards or it doesn’t. it either respects traditions or it doesn’t. The Scottish Cup Final won’t be played at 3pm on a Saturday this year; that’s a brick out of the wall. This is another one.
Look, there isn’t a single person at Celtic who expected to receive even a crumb of respect from the club at Ibrox for our title triumph.
There are some in our own support who are adamant they would be dead-set against giving a guard of honour to their club, no matter what the circumstances.
But then, these clubs detest each other from the stands to the boardrooms, in a way that the word “rivalry” doesn’t remotely do justice to.
St Mirren’s decision is abysmal because no-one expected it from them. Nobody expected them to be small and petty over this.
Sure, I’ve written before about how their club has taken the ludicrous decision to limit Celtic to one stand at their ground, when three of the others have a good chance of being empty, and bemoaned what happens when “fans” are in control of the board at certain sides … but this is really pathetic from them, and I hope someone at Celtic asks what their problem was.
This isn’t about the “guard of honour” per-se.
Celtic will live without it, and it says more about their club than it does ours and what it says is nothing good.
This is basic civility, basic decency, a little bit of sportsmanship instead of a descent to partisan squabbling … and they have failed on that moral test and for no reason that I can fathom.
Our game just became a little less friendly, a little less accommodating, a little less respectful.
Whatever they thought this decision meant, it will leave a bitter legacy which will last far longer than any temporary, sneering satisfaction they take from it.
This is how the descent of standards begins, not with huge totemic gestures but with small chickenshit acts like this.
I hope they’re proud of it.