Monday, 30 May 2016
After the atrocities at Hampden last weekend where a horde of Hibernian ‘fans’ stormed the pitch, attacked Rangers players and staff and goaded rival fans, it is safe to say something of a hive has been stirred in Scottish football.
From the majority of fans in this bitter little hole trying to pin the blame on Rangers fans playing the victim, to everyone of an Ibrox persuasion rightly defending themselves against the ridiculous provocation this entails, it is safe to say a new bitterness has enveloped the game that was already saturated in arsenic.
The media have especially stirred the hate surrounding these calamitous events of nine-days past; from the Sun referring to the Hibs’ yobs as ‘fans’ who Rangers fans ‘retaliated’ against mere ‘goading’, to the Daily Record and Jane Hamilton’s remarkable flights of fantasy blaming the lethargic police response on Rangers fans deliberately blocking Strathclyde’s finest from accessing Hampden properly, we have had some ugly lies and falsehoods circling around this distasteful set of affairs within the Scottish press.
However, the Record’s Gordon Waddell went one step further over the weekend; he managed to blame Rob Kiernan and Andy Halliday for what Hibs fans did.
Despite everything we know, everything we have seen, all the evidence; Waddell pinned the blame on Kiernan and Halliday by saying Halliday kicked back and Kiernan ‘went back for more’. Beyond the staggering connotations here (that grown men should let themselves be attacked without any sense of self preservation) is the simple fact that the message this sends is to justify what Hibs yobs did.
Yes, Waddell conceded that their fans should never have done what they did, in storming the pitch and causing mayhem, but to then administer responsibility to Rangers players for being hit and wanting to defend themselves is a new level of gutter tabloidism and immoral opinion masquerading as ‘journalism’.
It is a new level of sick PC that argues that professionals should not hit back if assaulted – that they have some kind of responsibility to ethics if they so much as dare lift a finger when being attacked.
It must not be forgotten that Halliday himself was being protected by referee Steven McLean and his brave assistants, along with Bobby Madden who chased after another Hibs thug; ergo to pin blame on these people for surviving is something beyond the pale.
These guys, players, staff and officials alike, did what they had to to avoid anything truly nasty from materialising (as what did happen was not nasty enough).
They deserve praise for not beating their assailants up, frankly, rather than condemnation for daring to hit back.
I wonder if these journalists’ families would be happy seeing others condemn them if they defended themselves and their loved ones against a gang of Neanderthals.
When it comes to discrediting Celtic’s recent ‘achievements’ in the Scottish Premiership, Rangers’ chairman Dave King is not the only one to have expressed derision over their victory of five titles in a row.
As we know, the South African-based businessman recently pointed out:
"The nine-in-a-row concept is meaningless unless both clubs are competing against each other. Even though Celtic have won the last five titles it is still only one-in-a-row in terms of our rivalry — and that is what truly counts for both sets of supporters. I interact with enough Celtic supporters on my visits to Glasgow to know how much they have missed competing with Rangers. Celtic fans have missed that competition as much as we have."
Tuesday, 24 May 2016
In the past 24 hours we have seen Rangers confirm the signing of the biggest name we have since Croatia’s Nikica Jelavic, and maybe even further back, while over at the East End Celtic confirmed ex-Liverpool manager Brendan Rodgers as their new coach.
Whatever fans of both teams think of the other side, and my goodness have we not heard an opinion or two one way or another, you have to admit it has made next season’s Premiership the most interesting in many years.
And by many years, I even include pre-admin Rangers.
Rangers today confirmed the worst-kept secret in Scottish football; Joey Barton is now officially a Rangers player, although he will not formally hook up with the squad till late July.
It goes without saying this is a truly sensational signing, especially given Rangers’ recent travails in the SPFL – from Kyle Hutton to Joey Barton; how times have changed.
Incredible credit goes to Mark Warburton, David Weir and of course Frank McParland for sterling work in securing the former Man City anchor’s signature – but as the midfielder says himself;
This signing will be a major coup for manager Mark Warburton and will provide a much needed boost so shortly after our disappointment at Hampden on Saturday. It represents a real statement, signing players with proven experience and key leadership skills will help to bolster out exposed defence at the same time as providing vital insight to our younger players who will thrive under such guidance.
Monday, 23 May 2016
A short while ago, Hibernian FC finally got round to releasing a statement regarding the unpleasant events that unfolded after the final whistle of Saturday’s Scottish Cup Final.
It is disappointing that it took them so long to release said statement, given the severity of the alleged actions carried out by some of their supporters when the curtain came down on their first Scottish Cup win in over 100 years.
STV News’ Raman Bhardwaj has confirmed today that Rangers have released striker Nicky Clark, in what is expected to be the first in a long line of departures this summer.
The 24-year old forward never convinced in his three years at Ibrox, since joining under Ally McCoist way back when in 2013, failing to hold down a starting berth under any of the last four managers, McCoist included, and today’s news is an unsurprising end for a player who was out of contract anyway.