I will not pretend that last night’s events have suddenly made me a non-supporter of the national team of Scotland. This has been the case, for me, since the SFA emitted a clear anti-Rangers bias, along with the SPL, and the majority of the rest of Scottish football made it clear it despised the club I love. So any boycott of the national team, for me, has not been a long-time coming. It was, however, based on club football, with my willing support to the national team provided prior to events last February.
However, the outcry regarding last night’s shameless incident at Easter Road affirmed my decision and has led to many fellow Rangers fans joining me and others in rejecting the national team and the body which governs it.
Quite simply, there is absolutely no excuse for booing a Scotland player if you are a member of the Scottish support.
Ian Black, uncapped until now, must have felt honour and pride beyond words at manager Craig Levein’s selection of him. It would have been tainted slightly at the national gaffer’s admission that Black would not have been selected had the full squad been available, but that said, many players are aware they are not first choice for club/country and accept that. I guess it just does not help when your manager announces publicly his lack of faith in you.
So Black, nevertheless, came on as a substitute last night; and was roundly booed by most if not all sections of the home support. The words abhorrent, disgusting, despicable, and vile do not do justice to the nature of this act.
Ian Black was booed because he is a Rangers players, nothing more. Last night’s ugly scenes brought to a global scale the scandalous persecution Rangers have suffered in Scotland since going into administration. If it was not clear to the rest of the footballing world just how loathed Rangers are in Scotland these days, eyes have been well and truly opened.
I have seen three incredibly pathetic and weak ‘excuses’ thus far as the reason why Black was booed. The first borders on embarrassing; Ian Black was booed because he used to play for Hearts, and this match was played at Easter Road, home of their Edinburgh rivals Hibs. Almost plausible theory. Until, that is, one takes into account that Andy Webster and Christophe Berra were also playing and of course, also used to ply their trade at Gorgie. So, that theory holds no water.
The second excuse was as ludicrous as the first; so appalled were supporters at Levein for selecting a player they did not consider good enough, they felt the only way to deal with their emotions was to boo him viciously. Rather than support roundly, as they did back in the day when the ‘limited ability’ Kirk Broadfoot was selected, this time the player gets abuse, rather than support from fans eager to encourage him.
And the latest excuse, coming from journalists who should know better (or who may have agendas), is that Ian Black is just an unpopular player who is booed at all grounds. Well, what these journalists seem to overlook is that while this is ‘acceptable’ (if petty) in club football for opposition fans to boo ignominious players of other teams, it is entirely a different ballgame when it is for the national team and these supporters are now supporting the team the player is playing for.
Let us face it – all of these excuses are bare-faced lies. Ian Black was booed simply because of the team he now plays for. If any other Rangers player was to play for the national team, they too would be roundly booed.
The bigotry Charles Green described against Rangers is now clear for all to see. The SFA/SPL/National team/clubs in the SPL and almost all-non-Rangers supporters appear to have joined in unison in outright hate of Rangers.
This hate started as jealousy, which is understandable when you see a team at the top of your pile and you cannot shift them. However, the unbridled hatred which erupted thereafter was surely inspired by the newco vote. Clubs were given a chance to hurt Rangers and let their jealousy blind them to financial responsibility; and they took that chance. Since then, the spiral has gotten deeper and Scottish football, quite simply, now absolutely despises Rangers. It is not enough that the club has been exiled to Division 3, most Scottish fans will not be happy unless there is no longer a Rangers in existence at all (something Rangers fans and staff will never let happen). The potential doom for Scottish football as a result of this is completely irrelevant to the majority.
Now it has poisoned the national team.
Scotland and Rangers no longer mix. The Burley regime alluded to this but nowadays goes just a bit deeper. Rangers fans find it extremely difficult to hold any affection for the national team, albeit there are those in the fanbase who commendably manage to put their own feelings aside and support their country always. The majority, understandably cannot do this; it is hard to support alongside those who hate you.
So, what will be the next shambolic episode in this continuing sorry tale?