Celtic Will Defy The SPFL Over Ibrox’s Tickets Because Their Club Showed Us That We Can.

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This week, Boris Johnson has been “giving evidence” to the COVID inquiry and we’ve been treated to the repellent sight of this man attempting to make excuses for his abhorrent failures in office.

He has done everything he can to burnish his own reputation, even as it is disgusts those of us who lost someone during the pandemic, and as much as we recognise the obviousness of his lies. His contempt for us all has never been more nakedly on display.

For Johnson, it goes all the way back to his youth.

There’s a story about him which sounds just close enough to what we know about the family to be true, which gives us a hint as to how we’ve gotten here; when he and his brothers were younger, his father would encourage them to play football in No Ball Game areas.

The signs, he said, were stupid because they were ineffective.

Rules were useless unless people were actually going to enforce them.

Boris Johnson has spent his entire life testing the limits in this way. Where is the line real, and where is it only there to keep up appearances? Which rules are actually enforced, and which can you basically exploit and even flaunt? More and more we see this in our society. More and more we see it in our politics. It is a dangerous time.

Football governance in Scotland is an even bigger mess. Here, regulations exist but a disrespect for them has been promoted by the behaviour of those at the very top of our game. Others are enforced depending on which club is in the crosshairs.

Small teams can be kicked out of cup competitions for making clerical errors.

Another club was allowed to assume titles and trophies belonging to another, including several where contracts were wilfully hidden from those in charge so as to enable a tax fraud so they could sign otherwise unaffordable players.

The “independent inquiry” – which was set up under very strict conditions and with its own “side contract” – concluded that there was “no sporting advantage.”

Everywhere you look in Scottish football we have the equivalent of those “No Ball Games Here” signs. But without governors willing to enforce them, they might as well not exist at all because always – always – there will be people who are willing to exploit those rules, and at Ibrox they have produced those people over and over again.

Later this month, unless something dramatic changes, Celtic will deny the Ibrox club tickets for our ground. This is the latest escalation in the long-running battle over allocations, a battle which was started by Ibrox and the direst consequence of which was that it put our fans at risk.

The governing bodies did nothing. Ibrox will go to them at once, and demand that their allocation is given them. If Celtic decides to dig in its heels, what will happen next?

My bet would be nothing at all. Nothing of consequence anyway. Nothing anywhere near enough to actually force us to change our stance. I wrote of Pascal’s quote recently about how “laws without force are impotent”, and that’s the truth.

But in fact, it’s force which will decide this.

Once this becomes a thing between us and the SPFL it is essentially a power struggle … and Celtic will win that. How can we be sure about that?

Because Ibrox bullies these people over and over again. For once, we can look at their actions and piggy-back on them. For once, they’ve shown us what’s feasible and what isn’t. We’re following their playbook and we know it’ll get the job done.

The SPFL leadership is essentially gutless. They have the authority but are scared to use it. If that authority is challenged, they will fold like a bad poker player. We will get a slap on the wrist. So what? We’ll take it, and move on. Ibrox still won’t get a single ticket and they will look like pathetic little bitches for complaining about it when they started this.

But the SPFL is the body who will come off looking worst because we’ll have openly violated their rulebook and no meaningful sanction will flow from it.

Celtic knows it because they’ve seen Ibrox violate that rulebook time and time again with virtually no sanction at all. Hell, we’ve watched Ibrox tank a sponsorship deal, and the governing body did nothing about it. It’s because the SPFL is so obviously afraid to tackle them that we’ll be pretty confident that they’re not going to tackle us.

We’re a bigger and more powerful club than the one at Ibrox is. By a distance. So, when we look at what the SPFL reaction is likely to be, the obvious answer is that they will squeal. They will stamp their feet. They will demand that the clubs come to an accommodation and sort things out … the opposite of governing, in other words.

They are partly responsible for this mess. Lax regulations are bad enough, but these guys are like security guards boozing, and then sleeping, on the job. With people like these in charge you might as well just stick up a sign and hope that gets it done.

But our game has seen its share of Boris Johnson’s, and they know what those signs are actually worth. They know what our “governors” are worth.

They have tested every limit. For all we know there are people involved in Scottish football right now who have broken every rule and regulation there is; we don’t even take the most basic precautions to make sure. Things that other associations would do as a matter of course are off the table here.

We have a media which covers this stuff not at all.

Their solution is to pretend that there’s not even the slightest possibility that corruption could lie at the heart of our sport, although it has been uncovered in almost every other country which plays the game. One mainstream journalist who disgraces the profession every time he writes a word, once said that he wouldn’t want to know. With people like these in the press box no wonder we’re a shambles.

So Celtic knows what it can get away with and what it can’t, and considering some of what Ibrox has already proved is feasible, the withholding of some tickets is a very small matter indeed. When the decision has to be announced, Ibrox will act like the victims, as though they are paragons of virtue, as though the idea of violating rules would never cross their minds.

But for once, we’re taking the lessons they’ve taught us and applying them to this situation. In this case, we are only following where they’ve already led.

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  • MCN says:

    I expect this board to fold and comply with the Ibrox instructions. Just as they refuse to protect our players from opposition thugs and biased referees . Penalty the rangers. Funny eh!

  • John Copeland says:

    Do you mean the old Etonian ex PM Alexander Boris De Pheffel Johnson ? How the other half live eah ?

  • Dinger says:

    Give sevco no tickets till they return our full allocation and gaurentee the safety of our fans player’s and staff

  • Nick66 says:

    The current “rule” defines the ‘reasonable’ allocation. So in order to avoid any sanctions simply offer 10 away allocation briefs. That will completely expose the farcical nature of the said “rule” and maybe provoke a reaction. However James, I despair, and holding breath in anticipation of a break in the impasse seems futile, basically due to the favouring the newbies.

  • Nick66 says:

    PS James, part of my thinking in this is; if Sevco accept, could you imagine the police and other security reaction.

  • Stephen says:

    I’ve no faith in the Celtic board they’ll fold and do what their told, hope I’m wrong.

  • Bigchunkylardass says:

    You have a load more faith in the testicular fortitude of Pedro the Hun than any of his previous behaviour would justify…..


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