Stranger still – it strikes me that some of the worst offenders are those who once wore the green and white. Craig Burley, I have long thought, seems to avoid saying a single good word about Celtic, and is more than a little sour when forced to concede their prominence. Burley’s opinions tend to have a juvenile ring about them, but Davie Provan – a man who I loved watching in the Hoops – was frankly dire in much of the assessments he made during the Scottish Cup victory.
Here’s a flavour:
Weir was booked just after seventy minutes for charging through the back of Hooper. Provan felt that: “Weir was trying to play the ball.” On the performance of the Rangers’ right back he said: “Foster has played Izaguirre well.” The more analytically sound might have noted that Izzy had remained too long on the ball on a few occasions before crossing in the first half, mainly because he had the time to do so. When Big Dan was booked Provan singularly failed to mention that Diouf had leapt over his challenge. However shortly after, when a Rangers’ player was given a yellow for a similar offence, he chose to make the point that “there was no contact.”
This bug was caught by others working with Celtic’s former winger. Late on the commentator actually uttered the words – “Rangers are still well in this match” – yes, a team who had failed to muster a single shot on goal and had been utterly outplayed. Then to the shortest of post match interviews (with the Old King presiding). David Tanner – clearly nervous in His presence – asked just two questions: one about the match, the other on the dismissals. Yet, nothing, not a word on the conduct of the Rangers’ manager elect.
What’s going on here? As someone who works in the media I rather suspect this has much to do with, in Provan’s case, over compensating as a former Celt; something which can also be applied to Charlie Nicholas. As for SKY/ESPN and others, there is a necessity, demanded by advertising revenue and pleasing audiences, in giving the impression of not rocking the boat. The result tends to be a bizarre theatrical production in which viewers are asked to disbelieve their very eyes and remain rapt by the pictures beamed into their homes even when all hope (for Rangers’ in this case) is lost. As Celtic fans we have long known that newspapers have agendas, broadcasters though, can and simply must do better. So for goodness sake Davie et al tell it like it really is. Otherwise we may just get a bit paranoid.