Dignity V Ignominy

Dignity V Ignominy

There have been contrasting fortunes both on and off the pitch for the Old Firm this season, never more so than with one half being in administration, while the other made a small profit, albeit a massively reduced one based on the second half of last year. That all said, one of the most obvious contrasts between Rangers and Celtic has been the conduct of their respective managers. One has encapsulated the very epitome of dignity, while the other has carried himself with a quite embarrassing level of ignominy.
The curious element is, based on their clubs’ performances, it would be rational to expect the club beset by administration to be the employer of the manager whose behaviour has left a lot to be desired, but that has not been the case. This blog will examine the respective performances this season of both Rangers manager Ally McCoist, and Celtic boss Neil Lennon.
The first concept to clarify is this is not a tactics and managerial head-to-head; it focuses explicitly on their performances in the media, their conduct pitch-side, and their general demeanour.
Let us start with their press displays. The first aspect to arise is that this comparison was ignited thanks to the ‘Old Firm Shame Game’ of the 2nd of March 2011 at Celtic Park in a Scottish Cup replay. The home side prevailed 1-0 but it was the sideline shenanigans which saw both clubs clash spectacularly, and in particular, an incident where Rangers’ then-assistant manager McCoist found himself in a conflict with Lennon after the full-time whistle was blown. The two initially shook hands, but Lennon held the back of McCoist’s head then pointed aggressively at him while saying something, then appeared to push him before others intervened. It would be absolute conjecture to speculate on the nature of this exchange, but it sparked said overall comparison between the two ever since.
McCoist and Lennon clash at the ‘shame game’.
Only two days later, an astoundingly unsavoury incident followed the aforementioned ‘shame game’ where two individuals of dubious state of mind felt the urge to send a pseudo-parcel bomb to Lennon at Parkhead. Lennon is an antagonistic individual, who has not carried himself conservatively throughout his career, but there is no excuse for this act of wanton violence, and those responsible were recently convicted. This does not reflect directly on the contrast of McCoist and Lennon, but it is worth considering it to whatever end.
So then, to contrast their displays, we can focus on numerous incidents of relevance, starting with Lennon’s recent 3 star performance. That is, his repeated offences against the laws of the game within around a week, where on 3 occasions he managed to incur the wrath of the Scottish game’s governing body.
The first saw his post-match description of Willie Collum’s ‘criminal’ decision to deny Celtic a penalty when Stokes took a fall in the box during the Co-Op Insurance Cup final against Kilmarnock. In light of Motherwell manager Stuart McCall’s one-match ban for similarly critical comments aimed at a referee, such a comment was incredibly ill-advised. Whether Stokes dived or was genuinely upended is not relevant – a manager calling a refereeing display ‘criminal’ shows a scant regard for courtesy or respect.
We can now look at how McCoist handled the same situation. Questioned by ESPN’s Darryl Currie at half time during the Motherwell match, after Sone Aluko had been incorrectly booked for diving by referee Iain Brines, McCoist said he was not overly sure about the decision, but maybe the referee had got it right. Clearly he knew it was an error, as everyone else did, but one of the differences between McCoist and Lennon is a respect for the officials who have a hard enough job as it is. McCoist also praised Brines for allowing him to come discuss the matter with him after the match in a civil manner. There is an unquestionable difference between both managers already.
Referee Brines who has personally witnessed the very contrast in OF managers this article discusses.
Lennon also got into hot bother, again relating to besmirching referees when he referred to Sunday’s match with St Johnstone: “maybe have a decent refereeing performance into the bargain”. SFA Compliance Officer Vince Lunny wrote to him asking for an explanation regarding his comments, as he did (belatedly) regarding the Cup final too. Contrast this with McCoist’s after-match comments about Brines display: “My argument was that I thought it was a penalty. I can understand the penalty decision because sometimes referees give them and sometimes they don’t.” No hint of smearing the referee’s display, just a dignified disagreement and acknowledgement of how difficult the ref’s job is.
The final incident to display the contrast between the two managers was the glorious Old Firm victory. Far from impressed by either his side’s display or decisions going against them, Lennon found himself sent from the technical area, a managerial red card if you like, for comments he apparently made to Iain Brines, who was fourth official during the clash. Managerial assistants Johan Mjallby and Alan Thompson took the reins for the rest of the game while their boss was banished elsewhere.
Now we focus on McCoist. After his side’s superb display, he stood in the tunnel and shook the hand of every Celtic player as they left the pitch. After all the controversy, he rose above the recent nonsense and gained the praise, in particular, of Sky Sports commentators Ian Crocker and Davie Provan who gushed about it and described it as a wonderful image for Scottish football. Compare this with recent El-Classicos in Spain where both sides have ended up in running battles pitch-side with each other.
So far I will admit a bias on my part – to highlight the dignity of Ally McCoist and the crass behaviour of Neil Lennon. I have, in the interest of fairness, however, researched for occasions of the opposite. Frankly, my search proved fairly fruitless but I did discover McCoist is not perfect – his criticism of the SFA panel who upheld Aluko’s 2 match ban for diving was aggressive and frank, and he clearly felt very strongly in contest of it:
            “The three gentlemen on the panel have effectively called my player a cheat and a liar, neither of which he is. What they’ve effectively done is they have said the player has cheated to get the penalty. It’s an absolutely incredible decision given that the referee is literally five yards from the incident. He has a better view than anybody in the stadium and they have gone not only against the referee but the player as well.”
Very strong words there.
And yes, I also found something fairly dignified from Lennon regarding Ally’s plight of administration at Rangers.
            “I have sympathy for my counterpart Ally for what he is going through at the minute. I wouldn’t like to have gone through that myself, particularly in my first season as manager.”
Unfortunately the rest of his comments suggested the above was delivered with a forked tongue.
            “If people want to point the finger if – and it’s a big if – we win the title then I will have plenty to say about devaluing titles, don’t worry about that. If you break the rules you get punished for it, regardless of whether it’s Rangers or anyone else.”
So much for the dignity.
While this season has been a quite abysmal array of horror and emotional turmoil, the one thing Rangers have shown, in their manager especially, has been dignity, while on the other side of Glasgow their manager seems more content with antagonising as many people as he can.
They may be champions elect, but I know who I would rather have as manager.

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  1. Haha! fans of Ragers (IA)and their fans spouting off about the lack of dignity, integrity and probity of those who played by the rules, even under supreme duress, duress which has encompassed a terrorism campaign against its supporters, players, employees and manager.

    Here's a wee clip to keep in mind the next time you meet Walter, Graeme, Ally, Brian, Richard and the countless other cheats that have played their part in the most glorious period in the ignominious Catholic-hating, reactionary, abhorrent history of your club:


    I await the "aw youse kafflicks are paedos" response. Maybe some of you can prove me wrong and put forward a decent defence of your and your club's record of utter criminality, sporting and moral. However I doubt it, and will say beforehand – enjoy wee Neilly's title party ya hun fuds.

    By the way, I paid about .05p in broadband VAT in posting this message. And that was more in tax than the putative, self-proclaimed Queen's Eleven have paid in tax in the past 20 years, each of which singularly failed to top the greatest achievement in Scottish football history – a bunch of Scottish boys in green and white hoops from all religious backgrounds conquering Europe in the sunshine of Lisbon through endeavour, attitude and no little skill.

    • What a twat you are. Rangers havent paid tax in 20 years? Next you will tell us celtic have never avoided paying tax?

      I take it we are just ignoring the IRA's terrorism campaign and that for years your supporters have sung songs supporting them?

      Thats good you continue loving the green toothed one. Im sure it wont be long before your fans are calling for him to be sacked again.

    • stupid hun, the boy makes a good point and aw you can say is AYE BUT YOUS ARE NO BETTER

      stupid deluded hun, i am glad fat sally is your manager as much as you lot are, so far he has had a worse record than john barnes, keep him as your manager

      fat sally is a legend for celtic fans so far!

    • mmm I hope you go to mass every Sunday pal, otherwise you aint a catholic. Plastic preachers!!!!!! not one of you posters go to mass I bet, guess what that makes you, yup you got it, you are no catholic. giruy

  2. Lennon has become a cancer within Scottish football. Due to his predictable criticism of match officials,particularly whe his team have not played well and subsequently beaten, all focus has been removed from any winning team. Especially 2 weeks ago when Killie won their first trophy for many years.Unbelievably, his tirade against referee Collum started before KFC had even received the League Cup, only a few yards away from the spot where Liam Kelly's father was being treated for what turned out to be a fatal heart attack.
    Lennon is the poster boy for the Scots Irish wannabes. Everyone who wants to milk sympathy and shame over the so-called "anti Irish/Catholic" racism which is supposed to be prevalent in my Country.
    I've followed Scottish football for almost 50 years and have never known anyone as rude,un-gentlemanly,arrogant,un-gracious dismissive,argumentative,disrespectful,bigoted and hated in our Game.

    • Haha! Lennon congratulated every one of the Killie players right after the game, singled out Kenny Shiels for praise and was entirely unaware (like the vast majority in the ground) of the tragic circumstances in the stand. In fact, he even paid his respects at Liam Kelly's father's funeral the following week.

      Still, don't let facts get in the way of your idiotic, pish-stained and racism-inflected drivel.

  3. " “If people want to point the finger if – and it’s a big if – we win the title then I will have plenty to say about devaluing titles, don’t worry about that. If you break the rules you get punished for it, regardless of whether it’s Rangers or anyone else."

    So much for the dignity."

    While I appreciate that you tried to be somewhat fair on both sides of the coin, I disagree completely with your sentiment here. "So much for the dignity." – I can't see anything wrong with what he said. As a Celtic fan, it does piss me off that Lennon is constantly in the headlines. Sometimes I agree with him, but it's just constant with him yeah. But I fully agree with him here. He shows respect and sympathy (whether you'll take it on Ally's behalf or not) for McCoist, and accurately retorts to these foolish Rangers fans that think this is a tainted title. The only taint on this title was brought entirely on yourselves. I have to simply say, get over it – stop ruining it for everyone else. It's like a child's mentality of "if I can't have it, nobody can"

    I fully agree that he can have something to say about tainted titles, with the scandals coming to light of Rangers cheating and spending money they don't have.

    That said, peace to you all whichever side you're on. All the best.

    • Spending money we don't have makes us cheats, then that makes every club in Scotland cheats including yours ya fud. Septic are in debt are they not so by your mental take on things have been spending money they don't have so when you win this tainted title to go with your 2008 Sporting integrity title where you made up a post season tour had games cancelled because a once bit part player died but call for the game to go ahead when a true club legend dies.

      Septic FC wouldn't know fair play if it jumped up and smacked them on their IRA loving arses.

  4. I want jelly and ice cream when ragers die

    DIGNITY from the ONLY club in world football to have a signing policy where every player had to be a protestant









  6. Enjoyable piece which seems to have touched a raw nerve with non-bluenoses. While the club goes thru various stages of collapse, McCoist has been solid throughout and for that I'm grateful.

    Can never understand why fans of other teams would want to read Rangers fans blogs…I've never so much as glanced at another team's news. Still, takes all kinds to make a world, I suppose, including the sad, lonely kind.

  7. With any luck sally mccoist will have a heart attack. Hes a little scummy cunt. NEIL LENNONS FENIAN ARMY!!! Championsssssss

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