Yet I do know that we have enemies among the football authorities/officials, the media, Rangers-minded sections of society, and those who simply don’t like us for who we are who would happily drop us in the keech.
Gordon Smith (RC’s the enemy, Billy Boys O’K), George Peat (accomplice to Farry in the Cadette affair), Fraser Wishart (Alan McGregor is a sober Rangers martyr set on by thuggish Tims), BBC journo Jim Traynor (If you don’t like the Famine song just leave the country, go!), BBC journo Tam Cowan (Masonic anti-Celtic/paedophile abuse at RC priest) to cite but a few examples.
Regardless of the exact make up or motives of our enemies, this season they have managed to inflict severe damage to our club and if we let them get away with it this time then there is no future for us, other than as bit part players in the Great Rangers Show.
With the benefit of hindsight it seems perfectly clear to me that Rangers were always going to win this league. We have suffered more this season than previously… when there was bias, but not on such a grand scale…because Rangers are in danger of being placed into administration! The only decent selling point they have left is their almost guaranteed entry into the Champion’s League. Rangers needed to be out of sight, so that if they did incur a 9-point penalty they would still get the £10 million that Champion’s League football ensures.
I could think of dozens of examples of subtle and blatant referee/linesman decisions this season that unfairly benefited them and penalised us (latest 2 pens for Rangers against the Arabs). All of this against a background of media complicity that cynically and sometimes viciously attacked any brave soul who dared question the competence or professionalism, let alone fairness of the men in black.
Coming from some journalists this is easy to understand as they are unashamedly pro-Rangers and anti-Celtic. This shower have minimised, reversed or ignored any negative Rangers news and maximised any news that shows Celtic in a bad light.
But some fair and Celtic-minded journalists have joined them. I liken this phenomenon to that described in the story The Emperor’s New Clothes. The powers that be decreed that the stark-naked Emperor was wearing a wonderful suit of clothes, and the compliant herd took up this mantra. In the story it took a young boy who was not programmed to believe the spin to expose the charade. Even though they may have thought it, no journalist has had the balls to emulate the young boy and say “maybe Celtic do have a point”.
It was only when the extent of the bias by referees could not be ignored, due to the clamour from sites such as this, that our normally passive custodians openly voiced concern to the SFA, but by then it was too late. And even then the ridicule and mocking from our enemies was simply turned up a notch. The more we complain the more the referees shafted us, and the louder the press derided our paranoia.
Now that the league is lost the same commentators, such as Traynor, who had vehemently denied any bad decisions against us says that maybe we didn’t get the rub of the green, and perhaps decisions were harsh on us, but it didn’t cost us the title, and we should just accept Ranger’s superiority and move on.
I now fully expect to see some glaringly wrong decisions benefit us and penalise Rangers to a chorus from the press of “we told you that these things even themselves out over the season”.
Why don’t we just take it on the chin and move on?
This is not an option now as our enemies are so flushed by their success in making sure that we are runners-up that they will do it again. If I were a referee would I be worried about making a marginally wrong offside or penalty decision against Celtic if I knew that the radio, TV, and press would interpret my actions in the kindest possible way, and rubbish those who questioned me?
Never mind marginal decisions what about blatant ones like the Motherwell goal chalked off against Rangers for offside or the equally wrong offside given against Robbie Keane at Falkirk? Were our airways, TV screens, Blogs, newspapers, dominated by examination of these incidents? No chance and this selectivity of refereeing “honest mistakes” will continue if we allow it. It is open season on the Hoops.
There has always been a bias against us and to some degree it is to be expected in a country where anti-Irish and anti-RC sentiment has permeated all levels of society in varying degrees for several hundred years. We are an inclusive club who welcome all, but in the eyes of bigots we are Fenians, Irish and RC.
As long as Rangers were the establishment club they could cope with periods of Celtic success secure in the knowledge that they would come again. But recent events in the financial world have reduced the once mighty Rangers to beggars, and the Masonic distress signals have gone out to all who have leanings to the establishment side to come to their aid. They may be sinking but they want to drag us down with them.
I don’t doubt for a minute that the present Celtic side would struggle to win the league on a level playing field, but it is almost impossible to judge Tony Mowbray or the players when they are individually and collectively subjected to the pressure of a steady stream of criticism and mockery from the press off the field, and biased refereeing on it. Officiating that offers no protection against foul play for our ball players and unfairly penalises our defenders/midfielders for the most innocuous tackle. Not to mention our goalkeeper…remember the kick out against Falkirk when he was penalised for taking a kick-out 2 yards inside his box?
Footballers are no different to any other group of workers and the word is out that playing for Celtic carries a handicap and playing for Rangers allows a large degree of leeway in the interpretation of the laws of the game.
If a foreign player were to have the choice of joining Celtic or Rangers on equal financial terms would he, after listening to the pros and cons from Bougherra (gets away with murder, and even when sent off gets his card rescinded etc) and Fortune (good goals chalked off can’t protest to refs when fouled etc) would he choose us? No danger! And the same goes for keeping players here. Will Aiden or any of our other decent players who love playing for the club remain here to be penalised for nothing? I think not.
If the playing field continues to be tilted against us our form will suffer even more and good players or managers who once would have jumped at the chance to ply their trade with us won’t touch us with a barge pole.
Never mind the players what about our fans. I believe we will be reduced to a hardcore rump of about 28,000 season book holders if we can’t get a level playing field. I for one won’t part with my hard earned cash to watch a game that is a foregone conclusion no matter how we play! And the 3 Old Firm games this season have fallen into that category.
What can be done?
The club will try to sort out the problem with the authorities at home, abroad and if all else fails, at law. They might try to get support from other clubs but talk of pro-Rangers bias soon becomes pro-Old Firm bias when provincial club chairmen are pressed. Remember Levein?
To B or not to B, that is the question?
I believe that we should not leave it to the club to solve the problem of SFA/SPL/media bias and the Celtic support should take extraordinary measures to combat extraordinary bias. It has been suggested by some that the only solution to our problems lies in a Bhoycott of away games and I fully endorse this view. I would also consider drawing up a list of journalists, newspapers and radio TV programmes that were considered anti-Celtic for Bhoycott.
If we want to attract the attention of the world media to another example of Scotland’s shame then Bhoycotting is the answer that hits the member clubs of the SFA where it hurts most. In their pockets. Our club might find some support for referee reforms if provincial clubs are playing to crowds of 2 or 3 thousand. The same would go for falling newspaper sales and audience figures.
There are other measures that can be considered, like turning our collective backs on the referees for the first 5 minutes at home matches, when referees who have cheated on us in the past officiate. Such events would surely make the world’s media take notice and bring the spotlight on our referees and their “honest mistakes”.
It will take the agreement of all of the major players in the Celtic support to make a bhoycott effective but the forthcoming meeting of such groups to be held at the St Mary’s halls under the auspices of the Celtic Trust seems a perfect opportunity to put this proposition to a fairly broad section of the Celtic support. I am not a member of the Trust but would support them or any group that embarks on the Bhoycott, by contributing campaign finance if necessary. As a support we dug deep in 1994 and we should be ready to do the same again.
Doing nothing and allowing THEM to get away with it is not an option.
I would not normally advocate such draconian action unless I was sure that we are being cheated, but I am sure. Though this can probably never be proved, unless by chance we catch a referee taking a bung from those who would benefit from our decline/Ranger’s success. But do we need proof of bias when the evidence can be seen week in and week out on the pitch? Even if it’s never recorded by the Laptop Loyal.
I have watched Celtic since I was a boy and what I see this season looks more like orchestrated cheating that anything I have ever seen before. The noises of protest from the “gentlemen” of the press telling me not to believe my eyes convinces me beyond doubt that we have been cheated…………. just as sure as there’s shite on my shoes.