I have deliberately kept my counsel on the Andy Halliday incident until now, for knee-jerk reactions emotionally charged delivered soon after an event are often riddled with bias and a cloudy mind.
As is now ‘legendary’, Halliday appears to have been given a second yellow card for merely celebrating Rangers’ superb second goal, a card which obviously led to one of the most farcical sendings off in recent memory.
It has been widely mocked in football circles, with, naturally, the most sensible views coming outwith Scotland; not least of all former manager and now Sky Sports’ pundit Ian Holloway’s straight to the point observation over the incident:
“What is football coming to?”
In short, this episode continues a long-running narrative which, even to the most paranoid supporter, has enough evidence to give its existence sincere credibility. That narrative appears to attack Rangers and everything associated with the club, a theme which has run since before 2012’s admin, and which saw that dark period escalate it to the present day where there is now a real tangible agenda which victimises Rangers.
Feel free to call me paranoid, or a fantasist – I have heard it all before, often from fellow Bears, but even my most ardent critics and Rangers’ most staunch enemies would admit the agenda against the Club, even if only to themselves.
Let us just rattle off a few obvious examples:
- Motherwell fan attacking Lee McCulloch with an umbrella. A Rangers’ supporter would have been jailed for it.
- Motherwell fans invading the pitch and goading the away fans in the same match. Again, Rangers would have had the book thrown at them.
- A trio of Rangers fans apparently arrested for a democratic right to free speech in objecting against the facial recognition policy being proposed at Scottish football grounds.
- Andy Halliday’s comical, ludicrous, farcical red card for simply celebrating a goal.
- Nathan Oduwa being targeted violently on the pitch and his assailants being let off with a mild booking.
- Celtic fans chanting ‘up the ra’ and anything else they like at Parkhead, and no action being taken. No threats against them.
- Nathan Oduwa castigated widely in Scotland for using skill in a football match. Skill. Something Douglas Costa did two weeks later to wide acclaim against Leverkusen.
- The BBC, a state public broadcaster, attacking the Club when it is supposed to be completely impartial given it is funded by you and I.
- And the 7-year old Rangers fan bottled after last year’s Old Firm clash at Hampden? Nothing. Not a thing.
There is a clear and present theme running here, a theme of clear targeting – Rangers, more than anyone else in Scottish football, are being hounded. Rangers fans more than anyone else are being held to task while their peers get away with almost everything.
Yes, there is a supposed investigation underway into Celtic supporters’ behaviour at Stranraer, but expect that one to disappear pretty quickly.
The reality is evident from these numerous incidents, and thankfully we have organisations like the Union Bears and Vanguard Bears who continuously defend the Club and its supporters from agendas like these.
Because no one else in Scottish football will.
NB: The Herald today apologised for the conduct of one Graham Spiers, who made some unfounded claims about Rangers’ board. Those who label this article ‘paranoid’ may wish to read that apology.