Let’s End This Media Dishonesty About What Really Happened After Celtic’s Win Over Ibrox.

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In the immediate aftermath of the game at the weekend, Keith Jackson of The Daily Record praised James Bisgrove for his “deflection tactic” in changing the story from one about the Ibrox club’s failings to one about the officials instead. He knew what this was right from the start, as so many others in the media did and still do.

Jackson’s congratulatory tone ignored the very strong possibility that this deflection tactic would have adverse consequences for Willie Collum. Jackson at least is honest about his fundamental lack of scruples; he went right along with the witch-hunt although he freely admitted knowing that’s all it was. Others were far more insidious.

Rarely has there ever been more sound and fury over nothing at all.

The decision to award or not award a penalty kick for the handball was entirely subjective – part of the problem, as this site has pointed out a million times – and could have gone either way. I believe that based on a strict interpretation of the rulebook there’s no way it can be given.

Others disagree and they are fully entitled to do so.

But what isn’t in doubt is that had it been given the decision would have been overturned almost at once when the offside issue became clear. That incident was not going to result in a penalty, so it had no impact on the game whatsoever.

In the aftermath almost every media outlet took Ibrox’s side, and every single one of them, without exception, promoted and continues to promote Ibrox’s “right to seek an explanation”. Ibrox does have that right, as any club in the league does.

But that wasn’t what their club did, and a week into this, I am thoroughly tired of the constant promotion of this false narrative. Ibrox went way beyond that, and they did it right from the start. Their opening statement was a clear attempt to inflame the situation well in advance of any talks with the governing bodies.

“(We) have asked the Scottish FA to make the VAR audio available to the club to understand why no penalty was awarded despite a clear handball by Celtic’s Alastair Johnston,” the statement started out.

Had they left it at that, the media might have a case when they claim that all the club did was seek clarity on that decision.

“The club is keen to understand the process that led to that decision being made as it was not made public at the time, nor communicated to our team.”

Which is the first effort to bend the truth.

Because what “process” were they seeking to understand which isn’t clear already to everyone who follows the game? The ref didn’t think it was a penalty and the VAR officials did not see any reason to ask him to reconsider.

You might not agree with the decision but to pretend that there is some opaque process here is to lie. The VAR check was announced on the Celtic Park scoreboard. The result of it was put up on the Celtic Park scoreboard.

This wasn’t done in total secrecy; the VAR audio might not have been relayed to people but the process itself was crystal clear and easy to understand.

“We also understand Sky, as the league’s official broadcaster, is deeply unhappy and confused with the situation,” the statement continued.

“Their panel spent half-time in agreement (we) should have been awarded a penalty, unaware of any offside check. Again, this only surfaced in the second half.”

Which is an utter irrelevance in relation to the decision making and was only thrown in there for one reason; to muddy the waters and suggest that there was something dark going on.

But once again, you could read all that and still give the club the benefit of the doubt if you were so inclined, and our media has done just that.

Had they left it there, the whole situation would have been defused and then you’ve arguably just got a club angry about a strange call and wanting clarity on the situation. Then they released statement number two.

Statement number two crystalised my concern, already growing, that this was nothing to do with the pursuit of clarity but was being whipped up into something else.

Statement two was unhinged. It was completely un-necessary, it was hectoring and it went from asking for clarity to suggesting that the SFA was deliberately engaged in an act of concealment and perhaps even cover-up.

But concealment and cover up of what? Remember; the offside renders all this moot anyway, at least in terms of the impact on the match.

I have never heard of a club behaving this way in relation to a decision which everyone agrees was fundamentally correct. I mean it doesn’t matter what way you break this down. They were asking for clarity about a decision they didn’t get and which wouldn’t have resulted in a penalty even if they had initially been awareded one.

But it’s with the second statement that the narrative starts to get turbo-charged against Collum. That statement mentioned him by name and questioned his professionalism.

The allegation that the SFA was “refusing” to disclose the audio or to meet the club until days later, along with the suggestion that club was now openly questioning their “motivation” was designed to imply, quite clearly, that the SFA was attempting to buy time on Collum’s behalf.

In short, it was a huge hint that the club was operating on the assumption that there was some sort of cover-up going on. And the media knows this full well, just as the club knew nothing of the sort was taking place.

These people make a living working with words and they know what words mean and some of them are far more intelligent than they’ve spent the last week pretending to be.

That was the moment when the media should have stopped parroting their party line and started asking what the Hell they were up to.

The SFA had not “refused” to do anything. They had given the Ibrox club a date for the meeting, and this was confirmed by the statement. Ibrox’s demand for an immediate sit-down – on 31 December with games on 2 January – was not simply unrealistic it was ridiculous and, again, the media knew this full well.

Every one of the Celtic sites knew it, and we were writing it.

The media continued to proceed as though Ibrox’s increasingly aggressive stance was either proportionate or reflected the true situation.

They continued to after the meeting took place, by immediately printing Ibrox’s version and writing their conclusions based on that … although Ibrox has a history of deliberately misrepresenting events and making some of these outlets look extremely foolish.

At no point during this has Ibrox merely “sought clarification” or asked legitimate questions in a legitimate way.

At every stage they have attempted to suggest that there was some ulterior motive for the initial decision not to award the penalty and followed that up by suggesting that the VAR team then used a secondary justification to cover for that corrupt outcome.

And I believe that the media not only did play a role in that but continues to do so by pushing the idea that all Ibrox has done here is exercise its basic rights.

That is not the case.

From the first, they were clearly after Collum and determined to do whatever it took to put as much pressure on him as possible.

The newsrooms may express their disquiet about those tactics now, but I consider many of them to be accomplices in something that should leave them feeling ashamed.

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  • Sara Haughian says:

    Not only was their rancid attack on collum to get him fired and deflect attention away, it’s also a bully tactic to make sure they have MORE favourable decisions go their way.

  • Dinger says:

    Watp we are the problem

  • Tony B says:

    Collum and Clancy to a lesser extent are the 2 officials that Ibrox seems to have a problem with.

    What do they have in common other than their refereeing qualifications.?

    They are both Catholics. (BTW, they don’t appear to have a problem with Walsh, but then he has an ongoing working relationship with them with which they appear happy to continue, since it is of benefit to them).

    So, a club which had a signing policy for most of the 20th century of not signing players who were Catholic, coincidentally object to 2 officials who also happen to be Catholic.

    What are the odds?

    This is as much of an “anomaly ” as not having a penalty awarded against them in 2 years, despite the introduction of VAR a season ago

  • Neil kane says:

    I agree with everything said a witch hunt for column

  • Tam says:

    All the village idiots. Ferguson, Millar, Boyd, and “the rangers” , the SMSM. If I’m getting this right. Are saying a penalty should have been given for handball…then….. the penalty disallowed for offside . Then they would be happy and understood why no penalty was awarded. No they bloody wouldn’t

  • Pan says:

    Those who shout the loudest are usually the ones trying to cover something up. At Ibrox they are always shouting the loudest. It is called deflection! Deflection is used to cover up the truth.

  • Scouse bhoy says:

    They have no shame as i have said on this site before the radars version of what happened after the2016 cup final was a disgrace to journalism they printed a bare faced lie in order to get hibs thrown out of europe and the magic hats team to take their place .why hibs never took any action over this was also a disgrace but then their chairman just let it go .

  • Stewart says:

    Completely agree on the media whether paper,, radio,,, telly,,, every one bar none wer stoking this narrative without caring about the consequences that(will) arise,, it’s time all these areas where scrutinised by an outside body to demand a more balanced thought process by havin people that actually know what they are talking about instead of wot fkn foot u kick with,,

  • Andrew Lamb says:

    They have an agenda against the whole of Scottish football, they know they have ceased to exist and blame everybody else. What gets my goat is we were complicit in letting them return with their previous club history. Peter Lawell should be hounded out of our club, where in any industry do the most successful allow their closest rivals to come back to challenge you? Nowhere and the only reason it happened is that our and their interests were the same regarding entry to the EPL, talk about shooting yourself in the foot, we should have buried them yes they could have come back under a name that was removed completely from Rangers in any form. What we are getting now is the same entitled bull they were renowned for before they died, and eventually we will pay for it.

    • Brian says:

      Exactly sir. Yet a lot of our fans think the world of liewell , and call a lot of us who dislike him spoiled and privileged. The very fact he was brought back to our club in any capacity is a slap in the face to us all.

    • Clachnacuddin and the Hoops says:

      Exactly why I’m out financially Andrew and probably will be in ma lifetime now…

      Do I miss going every fortnight ? – Hell Aye – Big time…

      But I have ma principles and paying towards a bent and corrupt sporting contest ain’t one of them for sure –

      Anyway Celtic’s turnstile loss is Clachnacuddin and an unfashionable Championship Club in England’s gain…

      However I still buy my Celtic merchandise from the club shop to show off –

      Once The Hoops, Always The Hoops – And all that !

  • Chris says:

    Please correct me if I’m wrong but in this past season, linesman have been instructed to keep flg down for offside until attacking players touch ball after initial infringement, hence the debate about possible injuries due to late flagging, This is all smoke and mirrors because the Sevco are Shite HH

  • Bob (original) says:

    Yet more, brazen proof that the SMSM doesn’t add anything to the Scottish game,

    but it actually negatively impacts the game.

    The SMSM won’t be missed, at all ! 🙁

  • scousebhoy says:

    they did not return a new club was started thats why they could not play in europe. .the sfa or the spfl have never admitted they could keep their history those words were said by charles green who then admitted later he bought the assets.

  • John S says:

    If ruining careers and publicly defaming the governing body isn’t ‘bringing the game into disrepute’ then others in the past have been hard done by. The Ibrox get out clause is that Harp & Hound isn’t their proxy but, if so, why should anyone have any dialogue at all with them ?

  • Tony McHugh says:

    During the new club’s resurrection I recal suggesting that IF they were to be allowed back they not be allowed to use the name or colours of the old club and possibly be denied the use of Ibrox, though this would have been difficult.

  • green manilishi says:

    The problem isn’t Miller, Boydychenko, McCann, Keevins, Derek AND Bazza Ferguson, Super Sleekit Ally, Craggs, Richard Foster, Billy Dodds, Stevo Thompson or Cammy Bell etc…the problem is among our own soup takers who in order to get a gig at at the BBC or RangersTV aka SkySports need to sip from the soup spoon…every hun I’ve spoke to since the game has said ‘Even Lennon said it was a penalty!’ as though this was the very gold standard of empirical proof. There is a long list of ex-Celts who have lined up to kick the club for the blue shilling over the years: Provan did it when he worked with Sky, Walker was the daddy of souptakers, Commons, Packie Bonner, Nicholas, who all like to take a kick at Celtic if it makes them look fair and ‘objective’. I think even big Sutton is beginnin to do it now: Sutton was certain it was a penalty and he thought both Bernardo and Johnstone were ‘lucky’ to stay on the park.The huns don’t bother about looking biased as long as they back their club to the hilt, no matter how crazy it gets. Sutton, like Walker once did, offers the huns mileage, by trying too hard to sound ‘fair’, ie Beranrdo’s tackle was ‘nasty’, when in reality it was Goldson who scraped his studs down Bernardo’s shin/ and ‘lucky’ Johnstone was when he raised his arms to jump with Sima to win a ball in the air and accidentally caught the Rangers player. Notice no one, including Sutton, mentioned the Sterling hand smash against O’Reilly’s nose or Goldson’s studs down Bernardo’s shin or made any fuss over the Turnbull push (that was ultimately onside and should have been a penalty, unlike their appeal). So all this begins much earlier and is framed by the media very early on long before it gets to the newspapers or the fans sites.

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