Ibrox’s Ranting Reeks Of Hypocrisy. Celtic Fans Have Wanted SFA Transparency All Along.

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If Willie Collum cheated at the weekend, and Ibrox’s opprobrium isn’t just pouring down on him because they perceive him to be “one of us” – code for Roman Catholic, although what his religion tells them eludes me – then by God, I want to know it.

If there are corrupt officials in Scottish football it is in the best interests of every single person in the game to root them out and show them up. Release the VAR audio, I say. If he’s not playing with a straight bat, he deserves everything he gets. But let me tell you, if he’s found to be up to no good then I don’t want to hear any suggestion that the swinging of the axe should take his head and that the inquest should go no further.

If we’re finally at the moment of reckoning, if we’re finally admitting that all this “West Coast paranoia” might have some substance to it, then we need to get it all out there.

Let’s have officials sign contracts declaring their football allegiances and keeping them away from games which affect their club or their rivals. They do it in England. If that means that on certain weeks, we have to import refs from elsewhere because there’s literally nobody who can do it here then that’s the way it’s going to have to be.

If this game is suddenly faced with the fact – not the allegation, the fact – that our referees are human after all, and subject to the same behavioural norms as the rest of we mere mortals then it cannot end with a single scapegoat, because it should be readily apparent that if there’s one corrupt official there will be others, and we need to get them all.

So the media which has refused to dig up until now, get your shovels out.

Because this is what Celtic fans have been asking for all along. The reek of the hypocrisy which is wafting out of Ibrox and a great many of the newsrooms is staggering. There is no conspiracy unless it’s a conspiracy against them? Really? I’ve never hidden my view that officials in Scotland are biased, it’s obvious that some of them are. And I don’t want biased officials in the game here, and I don’t care how that bias manifests itself. I want them out. I want to know the game is clean, that it’s free of all this, that we’re on a level playing field.

If, as Ibrox appears to be suggesting, Willie Collum favours Celtic in his decisions, that the SFA itself is institutionally corrupt against their club then as barmy as I think that all sounds, I want to know if it’s true, and if it is true then we need to reform it all, don’t we? We need to pull down the whole stinking structure and build something new, and we need to start with refereeing and my preference would be that we get our refs from outside Scotland altogether.

There are Ibrox fan-sites which have spent months now castigating this site and others for advocating SFA reform. Guess what they are advocating today? Their logic is no different from mine; they do not trust the integrity of our officials, and I think they are quite right not to. I think some of our officials are dodgy and that’s putting it mildly.

The difference between them and me is that I’m not howling at the moon just because my team got beat and never have been. Indeed, the last six or seven years, bar one, were the greatest period of domestic success in Scottish football history, and my club was the one winning everything, and I was saying all this stuff the whole time.

I don’t just believe this because the occasional decision goes against Celtic, or because I don’t like the school someone went to or care what their religious persuasion is. I’ve been writing about this stuff for years and I’ve been consistent in my views throughout.

I recognise that this is a tiny country and ours is the biggest club in it and their tribute band version of Rangers is the second biggest and they are both cultural totems to boot, and the idea that our officials are unaffected by the craziness that surrounds all this is manifestly absurd and we shouldn’t believe for a minute that it doesn’t have some impact.

All the while I’ve been singing this song, the media has called me and others nutcases and conspiracy theorists and all manner of other insulting nonsense although what many of us are preaching is just plain old common sense. You don’t even have to read between the lines to see what Ibrox is accusing the SFA of here, and a lot of the media agree with them that this needs to be cleared up.

Many of those singing that song are the ones who don’t think there’s anything suspect in the 70 plus league fixtures Ibrox has gone without conceding a penalty, with a year’s worth of them having happened on VAR’s watch … an astonishing fact they wave their hands at as though it was not something worth looking at properly.

Those same people now have their noses in the air sniffing for God alone knows what. But if they can’t smell themselves, if they can’t smell what charlatans they are for only caring now, for only wondering now, for only suspecting now then I suggest they get some Vicks and clean out their pipes and start inhaling what some of us have been for years.

Because Scottish football stinks of this stuff, like a fish hold left open to the sunlight. And Ibrox’s position on this stinks worst of all.

This is not the first time – far from it – they’ve gone after Willie Collum and I’ve written before about why and I’m happy to write it again; he teaches in a Catholic school and that has set the alarm bells ringing in the heads of some of the assorted trailer trash which calls itself their “official fan media partners” and those people have the ear of the club hierarchy and the club has enough lunatics running the asylum to be tuned in to every word.

Let’s get it straight; they know the right decision has been made here, so what’s this really all about? Even if it was a handball, justifying the penalty, and I am 100% clear that I don’t agree with that at all, it’s offside, we all know it’s offside and thus this whole argument is really over a non-issue. That Ibrox wants to provoke the full-on standoff with the SFA is crazy, but crazy in a way true to the way that club acts most of the time.

And although I’ve seen plenty of this and think they’re as nutty as the proverbial fruitcake, that doesn’t mean that I casually dismiss what it is that they have to say. You see, I have my own doubts about Collum and it might well be that if he is a Celtic fan that some of the dire decisions he has given against us over the years have emerged from a desire to prove himself “neutral” to his fellows Brethren, and so have leaned towards the scandalous.

In October 2010, Collum was the ref who failed to send off the thuggish Lee McCulloch in a derby at Ibrox in which he also gave Rangers a penalty although he was facing away from the incident he awarded it for. Not a single Celtic fan has wanted Collum in charge of our games since, and it has never been an issue for me whether it’s out of bias or an attempt not to seem biased or some form of corruption or if he’s just unacceptably bad … he can’t be trusted.

He’s not the only one either, and Celtic fans would like to see Hampden gutted out, and we’ve been saying this for a very long time. Mostly we’re ignored, but in a very recognisable pattern it only takes a decision or two to fall in our favour for the howling for justice to start. And every time it does we remind people that we want what they claim to want.

Maybe this time we’ll get it … except, no.

Because I don’t believe they do want justice over at Ibrox, and I don’t think the media wants this can of worms opened and they certainly don’t want a clean SFA, because that would eliminate one of the Ibrox club’s last remaining strengths.

They want to do a hit-job on a single man, or perhaps take out a few other allegedly “Celtic minded” people at the top of the tree … none of what we’re watching here is being done for the benefit of the game as a whole.

But some of us do still care about that, and that’s why we’ll be watching with interest what happens, and I repeat what I did at the start; if their club exposes corruption than that’s all to the good because that should be dragged into the light.

If they expose corruption then that rips away the artifice that the game here is clean, and once that has been seen for the sham we Celtic fans have always said that it is, then we must leave no stone unturned in the quest to make it better.

At that point I don’t care who wants to stop, who wants to wield the sword once and then put it away lest they have to wade through ever more blood … once it starts it doesn’t stop, it cannot stop, until the job is done and done right.

Which is why I suspect it’ll never start.

Just a wee clarification here … I said that Collum is a Catholic; I actually have no idea whether he is or not, but he teaches in a Catholic school and that is what’s led to the widespread interpretation on their forums that he is some kind of enemy of their club. It actually makes them look even more bitter and backward than they are that they might not even be right on this point, as though his religion should serve as any indicator as to his football allegiance anyway; I want a lot of things declared for the record by refs but I couldn’t give a monkeys what their religious views are and nobody else should care either. It’s disgusting the way these Peepul view the world.

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  • Johnny Green says:

    Nothing to see here, move along, will be the result of all this. No one in this corrupt set up wants to be scrutinised and exposed, there will be no upsetting of the status quo. Unfortunately their squealing will fall on deaf ears, but their paranoia levels are most definitely music to my ears.

  • Clachnacuddin and the Hoops says:

    This is a clarion call for ‘help’ going forward from them and very typical reactionary behaviour from Sevco…

    Strangely enough there was no hoo ha about offside before a penalty was awarded to them in their home match v Hearts – they keep pretty damned quiet about that one so they did –

    But mark my words – This ranting and raving will pay them dividends big time between now and the end of the season…

    Sadly Brendan didn’t have the balls to highlight the Penalty Tav shove in the box on Turnbull which is just such typical Celtic cowardice and after a win was the time to do it but, oh no, not Celtic we’re to nicey nicey for all that kinda stuff –

    One thing I truly admire about their custodians is the way they ‘stick up’ for their club and their fans in their 11 years and 125 days old history as of today…

    If only our ‘custodians’ had even just 1% of the bravery of their lot we’d be in a far better place in a sporting integrity sphere…

    PS – Happy New Year to you James and all readers and very fine contributors to this very fine blog and May everyone’s hopes and dreams and aspirations come to the fore in 2024 – (Sevco lurkers apart of course) !!!

    • Jim Duffy says:

      Cheers clachnacuddin, happy new year pal ,I think you’re right about the way our manager and board accept all the sevco pish but never seem highlight how we get shafted , anyway hail hail.

  • Effarr says:

    Willie Collum is not a Catholic, Roman or otherwise. He’s as Catholic as Gerrard. By the way, all official Church documents refer to us as Catholics, nothing else. He teaches in a Catholic school, Referees in England don’t need to tell lies about their allegiances but in Scotland they couldn’t dare tell the truth or we wouldn’t have any to referee games. To expect refs in this wee, corrupt scab of a country to be truthful is laughable to say the least,
    so signing a form to pretend they followed their local team would suit them to a T.

  • DixieD says:

    I totally support what you’re saying, however I don’t believe that this type of incident will ever lead to any kind of reform at the SFA or of referees. If something untoward is discovered in relation to how the decision was reached on Saturday, then Collum will be the ‘sacrificial lamb’ the klan are calling for, and the rest will remain unchanged. The Ibrox board will take their victory salute, as will their fans, the SFA will state that the ‘problem’ has been removed with nothing else to see here and we’ll all just get on with it as normal. I believe that only if large scale financial corruption at the SFA was identified would it ever lead to a significant change in personnel at that organisation. Individual refereeing incidents won’t even come close to resulting in SFA reform.

  • Edward McCandless says:

    Best complaint ever Let’s all hear the Audio of the incident. This will open the door for Celtic Football club. The corruption in Var office is blowing out the den for all to judge.

    Celtic should seize this golden opportunity and rid this horrible institution for good.

  • Charlie Dornan says:

    1 % Right here,James…Got to Share this..??

  • Andrew Lamb says:

    Well said James now is the time for this to get sorted. I am non-Catholic but have supported Celtic since I was 8 or 9 even though my father and 2 grandfathers were Rangers supporters, luckily none of them were of the rabid variety, and one grandfather bought me my 1st Celtic top. What is happening can’t continue as it’s become self-defeating for both sides, including, the exclusion of away fans. I went on a couple of their sites after Saturday and they were more critical of their own team than the officials, but these are the intelligent ones who, as you said, know that scrutiny is the last thing they want. There is no algorithm anywhere that would support 74 games without conceding a penalty unless cheating or institutionalised head in the sand was at play.

  • William McMurray says:

    Great article James but the non penalty was at Celtic Park for a dive by Broadfoot.Keep up the good work

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