How Everything Changed In The Last 100 Hours In Scottish Football

Heart and Hand

Last Sunday, Rangers beat Celtic. Again. There had been much hilarity among the Celtic support in the game’s build-up due to Rangers suffering a Covid outbreak earlier in the week. They also had a seven thousand mile round trip to contend with as they had their Europa League second leg playoff tie in Armenia on the previous Thursday.

Celtic, brimming with confidence due to knocking out AZ Alkmaar (despite losing the way leg of the tie), also qualified for the Europa League Group Stages.

In the Old Firm, Celtic kept the ball well in the first half without penetrating too much. Rangers seemed very content to allow their opponents’ back four to have the ball. Possession is all well and good, but it has to be in the right areas to trouble good teams.

Except for an Edouard chance, where he ought to have done much better, they did little with the amount of ball they had in that first half while Rangers created a couple of decent chances too, with Morelos firing over and Kent striking the outside of the post from eighteen yards.

The second half belonged to Rangers. They pinned Celtic back, pressured them and started to create.

The goal came from a corner kick, a terrific delivery from Borna Barisic; a run timed perfectly from Filip Helander and a bullet header into the net. One nil.

Rangers were in total control of that match, both with and without the ball. When Rangers had the ball, they pulled Celtic’s formation all over the pitch. When Rangers didn’t have the ball though, they didn’t lose their shape.

Furuhashi had one decent effort after that. McCrorie in the goal with a good stop with his feet, and that was pretty much all the team from the green half of the city could muster.

Helander goal in Rangers Vs Celtic
Football – 2021 / 2022 Scottish Premier League – Glasgow Rangers vs Celtic – Ibrox Stadium – Sunday 29th August 2021 Filip Helander of Rangers scores the winning goal to make it 1-0 to Rangers PUBLICATIONxNOTxINxUK

Ibrox erupted at the final whistle, and as one, the stadium was singing yet another new anthem… I’m feeling it.

What a sight it was; Rangers had endured an extremely difficult week but ultimately sat three points clear of Celtic and into the Europa League, ensuring European football until Christmas at least.

Here’s my quick take on that result. Rangers have plenty still to come. They’re not firing on all cylinders yet at all. Celtic, on the other hand, seem only capable of playing the one way here. They were confident, their fans particularly so.

It was all about what this new Ange-Ball was going to do to this Rangers side, and “normal service” would be resumed.

Well, yes. It was. This is the new normal. Rangers have bossed these games for over two years now. This is exactly what happens. Rangers soak up Celtic possession, Celtic create one or two chances, then Rangers flex their muscles, and Celtic capitulate. It’s been two years since Rangers lost one of these games, and even that was due to an offside goal and some incredible misses from Rangers on the day.

Rangers are just a lot better than Celtic at the moment. As I’ve said on Twitter, congratulations to Celtic on winning ‘The Possession Cup and the ‘We Sold Our Best Players Trophy’, but the truth remains, Rangers have better players, a stronger squad and superior management team. That is why they are the champions of Scotland and look very capable of retaining their title.

As ever when Rangers win this fixture, there’s a deflection from the usual suspects. A group of fans singing a song was highlighted. Police Scotland have now made multiple arrests.

No Rangers fan is arguing with this. If it’s against the law, then Rangers fans are to be treated like everybody else, right?

I don’t see any Rangers fans disagreeing. The law is the law, and if the song allegedly sung is breaking it, then if proven in court, they will get a criminal record for singing that song.

On the same day, Celtic fans cheering their team buses from the Dakota Hotel were videoed singing a song in which sectarian bigotry is heard crystal clear.

No arrests, no outcry and no media hysteria. Why not?

As I’ve just said, if the law is to be upheld, then where are Police Scotland here? Where are the criminal convictions? Where is the media outrage at blatant racism?

Where are our politicians? You know the ones, the guys that screech on social media about racism when it suits them.

Where is the condemnation of that heinous crime?

Rangers as a football club have been proactive in regards to educating their fanbase on racism. They are doing more here than any and every politician to aid progress but get no recognition for it. Instead, they are attacked and asked what they’re going to do about people singing songs literally miles away from Ibrox Stadium.

Education is the key to solving racism. Nothing else is ever going to work. Until churches, institutions, government and different sectors of society get round the table and educate each other on what racism really is, it’ll continue naturally.

Racism is borne of ignorance, but institutional racism is inbred.

If you’re talking about a society or a city such as Glasgow where literally 99% of its residents get on about their daily lives without giving it a thought, then why is it so high profile in the aftermath of an Old Firm game?

Well, that’s the problem you see. Rangers fans can set their watches to this. If their team wins, then it gets highlighted by one or two politicians, one or two media outlets and one or two high profile media pundits and journalists.

It’s never changed for twenty years now, and while absolutely no one is condoning songs of hate or such like, the Rangers fanbase sees this agenda and is frankly at their wits end with it.

There are countless, and I mean countless examples of racism and bigotry that meanders into society, out in the streets, on social media, everywhere from the other half of this rivalry, you know.

We know it. They know it. The media knows it. The police know it. The politicians know it.

Is that “whataboutery”? Yes. Yes, it is, and those involved in continually thinking they can get away with this type of racism had better get used to this being highlighted beyond anything like what’s ever been seen before.

Here is the situation as Rangers fans see it from where I’m sitting. Now I’m not about to speak for Rangers fans as I’m in no position to do so, but it’s what I see and hear, and I’ll try to summarise it as best I can.

Rangers fans are done with being called bigots. Yes, there’s an element within the support that is not setting the example our club wants us to. That is the same with every big football club. In fact, every club, big or small.

Rangers fans are done with the media (I’ll come to that shortly). It’s not even handed; it has an agenda, and Rangers supporters are sick to the back teeth of them reporting this with one eye shut and refusing to be even handed.

Rangers fans are now angry. Very angry about the way they’re being portrayed by fans of other clubs while they throw accusations of racism at us at the same time calling us ‘H*ns’ or OB’s or comparing us to The KKK.

Calling us far right extremists while sitting there presuming they can be as racist and bigoted as they want because they believe the law is on their side isn’t going to work anymore. The Rangers Family will simply not allow for this.

I’m a Rangers fan. I have been all my life. My partner is Catholic, but here I sit as an educated fifty one year old man being told I’m racist on a daily basis while being called a ‘H*n’ at the end of the sentence?

My mum was brought up as a Catholic. Thrown out of her church as a 17-year-old because she refused to bring me up following that religion.

There isn’t a bitter bone in my body when it comes to religion due to the fact I simply don’t care enough. I have no interest in anyone else’s religious beliefs. You’re entitled to them, and that is entirely my stance on this.

So why am I not allowed the same tolerance? This country is a cesspit of hate apparently, even though 99% of the West of Scotlands population gets on with life with the banter and jokes about each other’s teams.

This is a myth. As I said before, no one is condoning songs of hate or individual instances of racism. No one, but it is now time for all of it to be called out.

The individuals with an agenda don’t see both sides; they see only one.

The only way you can defeat racism is through education and equality. Neither of these things is being brought forward.

Only one football club has its instances splashed all over the front pages of the tabloids. Rangers fans know this and are now openly asking why that is?

We know why but I think you’re all about to find out that whataboutery is going to be a huge problem for other football clubs fans.

When a newspaper thinks it’s a clever idea to go after a guy who does a podcast simply because they’re pissed off at not being given free media access to Rangers, then the gloves come off.

This has been seen for what it is. An agenda. The Rangers fans know this could be any one of us.

This rag trolled back literally twelve years of tweets from three individuals then stuck them on their front page.

What a dangerous precedent. If this is a story believed to be in the public interest, then let’s be clear, I expect this to be a daily occurrence. Rangers fans, Celtic fans, Hibs, Hearts and Aberdeen fans too, if this gutter rag has decided that Twitter posts from years and years ago are in the public interest.

No, it isn’t. Not in any way do the people of Scotland give one f*ck about any of these three guy’s Twitter posts. The Daily Record has gone out of its to harm Rangers and a guy that paid the money to get into press conferences while they sat there saying, “who the fuck do that lot think they are? We’ll show them not to mess us about.”

Heart And Hand

David Edgar runs Heart And Hand. It’s a well known podcast. It’s a Rangers podcast, and it’s a very successful one at that.

I subscribe, and I’m delighted to do so, and I’ll continue to for years to come. I noticed yesterday that Heart And Hand has now gained something like two thousand new subscribers, so if that rag thought it was going to bring it down, then that’s backfired in spectacular fashion.

Whether you know David or you like him or have no time for him, I’d recommend to every single fan of the club to get on to his site, subscribe and reinforce the stance we need to take. You can do it here.

Zero tolerance to ALL racism is required, not picking up on ordinary guy’s tweets. That’s beyond gutter level reporting. The last two days on Twitter with the “this you?” tweets have shown the sheer hypocrisy of this newspaper with several, yes, several of their journalists being reported to Police Scotland for racist and bigoted tweets.

Do you see the agenda now? A media outlet calling for the sacking of Heart And Hand as Rangers Media Partner while those that work within the walls of that building are breaking the law with their own tweets about Rangers and its fans.

It’s a line in the sand moment. Rangers are the biggest club in Scotland. Of course, it has an issue with an element of its fans. ALL clubs do. Sitting there and pontificating that this isn’t the case only proves there’s an agenda in play.

The Heart And Hand lads apologised unequivocally for those tweets. Two of the guys have resigned from the site. They don’t need this in their lives. Sitting there thinking, “all I do is pod about Rangers, throw banter about a bit about our rivals, but it’s a wee hobby and I enjoy helping my mate out while I’m doing it”, to then be thrust onto the front page of a tabloid jeopardising jobs and family? That is reprehensible.

This could be anyone in Scotland. There hasn’t been a single day in the nine years I’ve had my Twitter account where I have seen dozens of similar comments to what was highlighted by this paper. Not one day.

There’s never a day that goes by where I don’t see Rangers fans being called OB’s. There isn’t a single day where fans of other clubs think they can tar hundreds of thousands of Rangers fans with the same brush. Accusing us of being far right bigots.

This must stop, and it will stop. Those politicians and pundits that are using their platform to showcase their agenda are about to witness a fightback with this.

I’ll reiterate this again for the hard of thinking. No one is suggesting a group of fans singing songs that aren’t welcome in the twenty first century doesn’t deserve the flack thrown at it. The justice system will go through the process, and if the video and audio are legit, then those that are found guilty will live with it for the rest of their lives. The same goes with the supporters’ bus video that was shown the week before. There is no excuse for it, and no one is condoning it. The law is there to be obeyed whether some like it or not.

However.. as a fifty one year old man who’s witnessed the seventies, eighties and thereafter to this present day, if the politicians and media in this country continue with this mantra that it is only Rangers fans with this issue to tackle, then those involved are merely stoking the flames. No more, no less.

Celtic lost a game. People sang songs. Rangers won a game. People sang songs. But as is always the case, the media panders to one football club while attacking the other.

Is it just a coincidence that Celtic had ex employees up in court for historic cases last week? Is it happenstance that they spent £20 million quid on their world class new signings only to be sent back to Parkhead with their tales between their legs?

Is it purely coincidental that over fifty thousand people were going crazy after the final whistle last Sunday, and those involved with Celtic had to sit in that director’s box and endure it?

Did Simon Jordans’ gushing telling of what an incredible day he had and what he thought of the Rangers support to all of his followers on Twitter and his audience on TalkSport stick in certain folk’s throat?

Make no mistake; this is about damaging Rangers. Causing as much damage to the brand as is humanly possible. That’s all this is. It’s clear, and it’s blatant.

All it is is a clear recognition from the other side of the city that Rangers are going nowhere. Yes, the club has problems, but no more than the club that finished a hefty twenty five points behind them last season.

Don’t patronise us by telling us we have a problem. No one can take it seriously, and they never will until those that are trying to create havoc for Rangers prove to be legitimate and show parity and equality.

That’s what racism is all about, right? Equality? If it is, then prove it.

There are literally thousands of examples that have been shown to those that wish to harm Rangers this week alone. Not a single peep from any of them. Not one word of condemnation.

Whataboutery? You better believe it. Until there’s recognition that sectarianism and bigotry is a two way street in this country, then all those that highlight one side of it are doing is attempting to damage Rangers and set fire to people’s ordinary everyday lives.

I mean, some of my best friends are Celtic fans, I have family that are Catholic, and they’ve been going to Celtic Park for over fifty years, for fu*k sake.

But here we stand today with a newspaper that thinks targeting ordinary people with families and jobs in an attempt to cause Rangers trouble is fair game.

I’m fully aware writing this that fans of other clubs will dismiss it and say all it is is deflection or whataboutery. It really isn’t; it’s a calling. It’s a statement of intent. Enough is enough.

This country doesn’t get to accuse Rangers and its fans of being racist or bigoted while being hypocritical and institutionally racist and bigoted itself.

I sit here with this feeling the same way as all other Rangers fans having endured this week. Angry, disgusted and appalled at the double standards.

We are being told that we have to live our lives with certain standards. The bar is set higher for Rangers and its fans than for anyone else in society.

Whataboutery it may well be, but the rest better get used to it because I am not a racist, I am not a bigot, and I am not prepared to be accused of being one by nonentities hell bent on nothing more than trying to damage the football team I support.

So I, for one, will stand with David Edgar, Cammy Bell and Ian Hogg because there for the grace of God, it could just as easily have been me.

If they really want to tackle racism, then they must call it all out. Not just the part that you don’t like or the part that allows you to have an agenda.

All because Celtic can’t defend set pieces. All because Celtic lost. They can dress it up whatever way they want, but a man of fifty one years that’s lived in this part of the world all my life to be told by no-marks that only one section of society had a bigotry problem?

No. No chance. Not ever. Those that have been so vitriolic this week in their condemnation are part of the wider problem. Make no mistake. They have a sinister agenda, and solving racism in today’s society most certainly isn’t it.

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Thoughts on Scottish football. Always honest and won't shy away from the truth.