Fear & Loathing At Hampden: Ever Danced WIth The Devil In The Pale Moonlight?

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All season long, I have wanted to explore a theme that could not properly be explored until now. It is the theme of despair. You know what despair is? Despair is the absence of hope. That’s why when Dante’s pilgrim is about to enter the Inferno the words on the wrought iron gates which greet him read “Abandon Hope All Ye Who Enter Here.” A lot of first time readers think this is a warning; it’s actually a piece of advice.

Because through those gates there is no hope. None whatsoever.

The promise behind them is of an eternity of suffering. Because that’s what the darkness really represents; no chance of redemption, no prospect of anything better, and all hope will do is cause you further, and deeper, pain. Those who cling to it are foolish as well as damned, because Hell is a permanent state of affairs.

This entire season has been a lesson in the reality of where they are, and if they haven’t realised it yet they do themselves no favours with every day they put it off. Hell is the absence of hope, and until they give up on hope all they are doing is subjecting themselves to more suffering and all it does is turn the pain dial up.

Don’t get me wrong; I enjoy their suffering. Maybe I am, myself, destined for a corner of the Inferno, but I don’t think so. This is a classic example of what John Doe was doing in Seven; turning the sin against the sinner.

Who is more arrogant than they are? Who is more inclined towards lording it over a beaten foe than them? Not only nine years of this did we have to put up with, but every year of Murray as well … there is some overlap but it was in the years after we won our Stop The Ten when he, and they, were at their worst.

Those were the years of “for every fiver” and “whoever takes over at Celtic had better have very deep pockets.” They were the years of succulent lamb … and all that was followed up with “Motherwell Born Billionaire” and the Glib And Shameless Tax Cheat heralded as a hero when he lied and bullshitted his way through every day.

There is zero sympathy to be found here. The longer they cling to hope and suffer for it the happier I’m going to be … and the more Celtic are going to win. Today we rendered the Lie an insignificant nonsense because they will never boast about having a “joint record” with Celtic and so that’s gone. Next season we’ll remove even the justification for the Lie as I said earlier. But it’s hope they really have to get shot of.

I hope they never do. For the third time this season – after going ahead in the league, after being in front in the women’s race until the closing minutes and today at the final – they have dared to dream only to have it ripped out of their hands.

And more self aware Peepul might be asking if they maybe deserve this.

The obvious answer is that of course they do. And we’ve endured so much of the egotism and arrogance this season that I don’t even need to defend that statement. Any other club who had scored a goal to see it knocked off, only for us to score in the last minute might just generate a thimbleful of sympathy … but short of absolutely destroying their side I cannot think of a better way to beat them than that.

And to be honest, I had hoped for the destroying, and thought that nothing would be more satisfying than that. In the end I think I prefer this because it will unleash more of those twin emotions to which these articles are dedicated; fear and loathing.

Everyone will get it in the neck over this. John Beaton most of all, which I find incredibly amusing. Let them rant. Let them rage. Let them convince themselves that the world is against them; that makes it harder to motivate people to turn up next season. Because to them what’s the point?

Officials are out to get them and the one they had the biggest complaint about is the one who sits atop the refereeing structure … so isn’t next season done before it starts? They never did get used to dealing with that as a matter of course, so of course they aren’t mentally equipped to handle it.

If it’s not Dante who is right, but Sarte, then Hell isn’t the absence of hope but Other People, and in their case that means us. So please, make their summer Hell by reminding them that even this allegedly “bad” Celtic side – their term not ours, of course – has won a double in spite of their guru boss, who ours has beaten three times. Make sure that every chance you get you remind them of all we’ve taken away.

And remember too that there is yet another version of Hell and this might be the one that encapsulates them better than any other, they consider themselves special, singular, better than the rest of us and they are selfish with it.

The dea that Scottish football is a community and that hating the rest of it is not in their best interests. Hate is their thing. It’s the loathing part of the equation.

In Chaucer’s version Hell is a dining table where everyone eats with a long spoon. The Damned try to eat what they pick up and cannot get the spoon anywhere near their mouths … the Saved feed one another and so they never starve.

That takes care of the loathing. And we all know about the fear. The fear is that they are already through those wrought iron gates and that all hope is lost already. I believe that our position as the biggest club in this country is now basically unchallengeable, and that we are now what Murray always thought they would be.

We have arrived, finally, at the place where they are now in the shadow of Celtic in the most literal sense, not just for a period lasting some years but where it’s now a permanent state of affairs. I’ve believed for a long time now that we would erase the Lie by making it redundant and we’re on the brink of that now … one more trophy than them puts us in front and like a good title race, I think once we move ahead their future is basically an increasing of the gap, and that how big that gap becomes will depend on how they handle that.

Since the concept of Hell first entered human consciousness there has been a long-standing debate about how Hell itself would be the proof that a benevolent and just God cannot exist ,because if he were those things then how could anyone justify the existence of Hell in the first place; it’s such a simplistic argument that it’s amazing anyone still bothers to make it. You need to repent and recognise the nature of your sins to avoid that fate, and those who do not – those who willingly, consciously, make the decision to do otherwise are those who end up behind those iron gates.

They deserve it all. Every little bit of it. They deserve it because it’s a choice to live in fear … and it’s definitely a choice to live in loathing.

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  • John L says:

    That describes them to a T .
    Even the closest they got to us was not good enough, and we should take delight in their misery , because their wee hooligans that marched into the town with a show of strength deserve every bit of that misery .

    I hope our fan’s had a safe journey home. Hail Hail

  • Jackson says:

    Delighted we won BUT we were very poor
    because Matty and Hatate were woeful,
    no midfield except for Calumn, the past few hun games Reo has been dreadful and I would not worry if we let him go.
    Matty played like he did not want to get injured as he will be off in summer.
    CCV and Johnstone were immense…..
    lets hope BR gets the players HE wants this time around…and that includes keeping big Adam… a hun slayer indeed

  • DasJaikit says:

    New name for Mordor in the West, Hellton Tower, where The Smiler leads to Oblivion

  • Joe McQuaid says:

    I’ve been advocating that we pay the money for Bernardo as there is a real player in there to be developed and contribute. Limited game time this year but still one goal and two assists against Sevco (I’m giving him credit for yesterday). Regardless of whether O’Riley stays we need to buy Bernardo. And Adam Idah assuming Norwich don’t demand silly money.
    A poor Celtic performance got the job done – credit to our captain for dragging us over the line and Joe Hart for his part in ensuring VAR did its job properly (I’m sure he won’t mind the yellow card!)

    • Joe McQuaid says:

      Couldn’t agree more Mark B. Primary issue with our refs is competence and getting them the right training and support. Personally I think the game has evolved so far and with so much money involved that full time professional refs are required. But the second tier countries probably can’t afford to do this on their own as they would need 2-3 times more FT refs than fixtures to avoid familiarity. So a pooling system such that countries share the costs and share their refs makes so much sense. So if Scotland had (say) six pro refs then we would pool with countries such as Belgium, The Netherlands and Denmark such that refs would work across all four countries.

  • Wullie mackin says:

    Let them who thought they were on the way up be slapped back down, now let’s have a party.

  • Kevan McKeown says:

    Was a tight, tense affair without any great football bein played and one side was as scrappy as the other, tho they did look the more likely tae snatch it in the last 15-20 mins. Fact is, that’s the best (if ye can call it that) game they’ve played against us all season and they still didnae beat us. The victory was obviously brilliant and just tae say, it also rammed their obnoxious, vile chants about their favourite subject just before our goal, right down their necks. Perfect endin for these ugly minded losers.

  • Johnny Green says:

    Going forward they will be forever in our rearview mirror.

    Grrreat innit!

  • Kevin Dunn says:

    Tremendous stuff James , your articles towards the end of the season where brilliant , ?

  • Mark b says:

    Can we also stop now the conspiracy nonesense from referees. Maybe we should have had a pen but Beaton could easily have not flagged the Raskin foul on Hart in VAR. He did and won same as a couple of other tight decisions this season. I think VAR is not ideal but it has made honest mistakes more visible. Let’s focus on building our squad. GK CH LB DM AM RW CF we need 7 top quality.

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