I must admit my disappointment that Pedro Caixinha reached for the WATP epithet to deflect from an opening home league reverse to Hibs. A reverse in which Ryan Jack was dismissed for a headbutt. He could have been sent off for throttling McGeough seconds earlier, but decided to be red carded for a sheep rather than a lamb.
The one-eyed gallery who signed a petition denouncing what they perceive as anti-Rangers refereeing should think again. Should one have expected more decorum from the revolving door directors of Club 1872 and the ubiquitous James Blair? Maybe the latter was prompted to draft something to celebrate a rare visit by the Transvaal Trimphalist, career criminal Dave King. The Cold Shoulder is already in place. Other directors will be feeling the pinch. One would not be surprised if Graeme and his father were somewhat parky.
I digress. I have added bold type for emphasis in the Club Tropicana statement:
” Club 1872 would like to commend the restraint of the Rangers support following a clear attempt by Hibernian manager, Neil Lennon, to incite trouble at yesterday’s game at Ibrox. Rangers and Club 1872 are always keen to remind our supporters of their duty to act as ambassadors for our club but that duty is not one that applies only to Rangers supporters. Mr Lennon has previous for abusing and goading both Rangers staff and supporters. He seems completely unable to control himself at Ibrox. We can only speculate as to why. His actions in the dugout yesterday – where he made various inflammatory gestures to the supporters sitting directly behind the Hibernian dugout – were not becoming of any football manager, never mind one who likes to play the victim when things do not go his way. It is inexplicable that the fourth official chose to take no action against him at the time but, against the backdrop of possibly the worst refereeing performance ever seen at Ibrox, perhaps we should not be surprised. Mr Lennon has been extensively quoted in the media as saying that he “didn’t make a gesture”. If that quote is accurate then he is not only irresponsible but a liar. Had a Rangers supporter reacted to Mr Lennon’s actions yesterday then we would no doubt have been treated to further dramatic headlines about the persecution he has to suffer. Instead we have seen several media commentators make jokes about Lennon’s conduct. It is only because of the good sense of our supporters that they are in a position to do so.Police Scotland categorised this match as high risk due to the behaviour of Hibernian supporters at the Scottish Cup Final in 2016 when Rangers players were attacked on the pitch. Neil Lennon knew that and he knew he had a responsibility to act in an appropriate manner. He shirked that responsibility and reverted to type.
We hope that Police Scotland will speak directly to Mr Lennon over the coming days and at the very least give him a warning over his future conduct at Ibrox. We also expect the SPFL to take action against Mr Lennon over his failed attempt to incite trouble.
Issued by Supporters Voice Limited, a Club 1872 company.”
It’s a one-eyed masterclass. How ‘restrained’ were the Lite supporters who rained down Bovril cartons of urine on the Hibs supporters on their lower tier enclosure?How ‘restrained’ were they in spitting on the Hibs support and throwing coins, lighters and golf balls at them? How ‘restrained’ were they when they threw their rolled tabloid makeshift catheters at them? How ‘restrained’ were they when fifty of their number attacked men, women and children as they queued at the turnstiles?How ‘restrained’ were they when singing that Lennon was a ‘Sad Fenian Bastard?’
As for the ‘worst refereeing performance ever seen at Ibrox’ Club 1872 should be connoisseurs having seen so many matches decided in Lite’s favour by dodgy refereeing decisions. If Ryan Jack wants to play football like a fighting cock one should not be surprised when his headbutts have consequences.
In reference to the ‘dramatic headlines’ there will be less of those as the entire press pack walked out of a Murray Park press conference as they took exception to being filmed. Keith Jackson, our award-wining journalist who is banned from Murray Park and Lennoxtown, summed it up accurately when he wrote:
“There is a sinister sub text to all of this. Ask anything too difficult and the club reserves the right to put it up online in order that the support can act as judge and jury. This sort of intimidatory tactic would be right up Jong-un’s street but it does not reflect well at all on those who are making decisions on Rangers behalf. It resulted in a mass walk out of football writers from Caixinha’s pre-match briefing ahead of Saturday’s visit from Hibs and it will most likely happen all over again when the media are ‘welcomed’ back to preview this weekend’s lip smacker of a match up with Hearts.”
As for Police Scotland responding to Hibs supporters, not one of whom was charged with assaulting a Lite player, 1872 conveniently ignored the 200 or so Rangers Lite thugs who invaded the park intent on violence. The Hibs fans were intimidated by the presence of Police Scotland cameras as they filed off their buses and trains for another urine-soaked matchday experience at The Ibrox Pissoir.
There was, on balance, one ‘GIRUY’ gesture by Lennon, as he raised his right arm and cupped his right bicep with his left hand, but this is as nothing to the tsunami of vile bigotry he was forced to endure on the touchline. Everyone saw Lennon being attacked at Tynecastle. Everyone read about two former public schoolboys knocking him unconscious when he was out for an evening with his partner. Then there are those drawn from the Rangers support who were jailed for sending bullets and bombs to Lennon. Some ‘enterprising’ Lite supporters on social media suggested that Lennon should be ambushed on the way home and shot. How ‘restrained’ of them.
Club 1872’s attempt to incite a police response is built on sand. They should take a closer look at the vile sectarian behaviour in their midst before castigating any response to it. It would seem that the headless chickens at Ibrox are not the exclusive preserve of those wearing light blue on the park.
Traynor’s sledgehammer approach to controlling the narrative has piqued the interest of the slippery shouldered Stewart Regan, who makes a habit of taking a vacation or attending a social occasion when real leadership is required. I make no secret of my admiration of the oeuvre of two of my peers, namely James Forrest and Paul Brennan. The latter wrote the following piece on Celtic Quick News:
” Yesterday, the SFA’s Professional Game Board met to discuss the SPFL’s request that they hold an inquiry into the goings-on in Scottish football, following The Supreme Court’s ruling last month on the legality of Rangers EBT use. The League, which represents all 42 senior clubs in the game, wants the national association to investigate the most serious governance events in the sport’s history.
You would think the SFA would be obliged to investigate, right?
Instead, the SFA are getting the band back together. They will sit down with Darryl Broadfoot, now the Association’s external PR, to calculate whether they can carry enough media support to get away with doing nothing at all.
Apparently, the SFA would rather solicit backing for inaction than carry out the wishes of their professional league. This is Scottish football in 2017. It is actually happening, right now.
Governance standards are non-negotiable. No national association can ignore the will of its professional clubs, on an issue as serious as governance, without major repercussions. If the acute situation we have witnessed in recent years is not bad enough, this lack of action puts the SFA on the verge of complicity and cover-up.
Some of the recent most senior office-holders of the Association itself are implicated in the scandal, both as administrators and financial beneficiaries. The question before members of the Professional Game Board isn’t just, ‘Do we do the right thing?’, it’s ‘Do we expose some of our friends and colleges to scrutiny? And if so, how far does the contamination spread?’ Those watching from within the game know, once Pandora’s Box is open, the actions of many others could be open to scrutiny. Don’t think evidence presented to Lord Nimmo Smith was not thoroughly rehearsed and approved by ‘the band’ before being put to the SPL Commission.
The SFA will instruct a cover-up in the coming days to protect their cronies, and in doing so will become complicit in the subversion of the level playing field in Scottish football.
The stink goes as high as the recent past-president of the SFA, Campbell Ogilvie, who worked with those on the Professional Game Board, and had administrative responsibility for contracts and licensing at Rangers during their EBT period. He was also a financial beneficiary of an EBT. The SFA will refuse the request of the SPFL to investigate these matters and attempt a cover-up.
When you have prima facie evidence of a governance issue, presented by your own league, involving your own past-president, you are obliged to open up to independent analysis. Failure to “promote and protect ethical standards and good governance” put the Scottish Football Association in breach of their duty as a member association of Uefa.
Fans will not accept anything less; clubs will not accept anything less. The matter will go to Uefa. It will go to government. It will go to media in England and beyond. It will go to court; those turning their heads today will be called to account. It cannot and will not be accepted. It will not go away.
There will be no cover-up to protect the guilty.”
Is it any wonder that a judicial review is required to rid our sport of these corrupt office-bearers. It might be easy to control the tabloids and build a consensus to move on, but sites such as this one, CQN and The Celtic Blog/On Fields of Green, with a collective monthly hit rate of four million, will take them to task.
I reserve the final word for the Rangers supporters who are boycotting The Daily Record due to their decision not to print the previous delusional diatribe from Club 1872. If this boycott is effective it will lead to the death knell of this title. The Celtic support have long abandoned the Record. They get their fix online. If the boycott does not control the narrative at Central Quay our award-winning journalist might have to throw his hat in at Clotted Weir’s Herald Group and write for Chris Jack’s Rangers Fanzine. Jack, who pulls in about £16,000 per annum for his haircut exclusives and his public interest feature on Bruno Alves paying his ‘leccy’ bill, might baulk at Jackson’s eighty large per annum. His empathy with the Lite WhatsApp group who rail against the inflated salaries of Caixinha’s signings might well be borne out from personal experience.