Celtic manager Brendan Rodgers has indirectly encouraged violence in Scottish society by staggeringly endorsing a repeat of the scenario of 1999’s Old Firm shame game where Rangers won the title at Parkhead before the home crowd lost the plot.
The Celtic boss believes his men should be allowed to play against Rangers for the fixture which will win the Parkhead side the title, but in a bizarre show of being out of touch with reality, seems unaware of the gravity of the very reason why such things will never happen again in Scotland if the power is there to prevent it.
“I think it’s sad for Scottish football and it’s sad for society in Scotland. In probably any other country in the world, they would look to play the game and showcase your football and country on telly – whether it was Real Madrid v Barcelona, Manchester United v Manchester City or AC Milan v Inter. But for some reason we can’t do that here which is a sad indictment of the world that it is here at times. But if it’s one they want to do, then they should do it and put it at an appropriate kick-off time and trust that people can behave themselves and play the game and show it as a great advert for Scottish football. Don’t bury your head in the sand and hope things don’t happen.”
For a Northern Irishman well aware of Scottish football and the goldfish bowl of Glasgow, his remarks are absolutely astonishing and show an incredible ignorance of what happened in the 90s when multiple arrests were made, Hugh Dallas was struck by a coin by livid home fans, one fell from the stands, and general chaos led to one of the most shameful afternoons in Scottish football history, all because home supporters couldn’t handle what had just happened.
In reality, this must never be allowed to happen again – and to encourage events which caused it to be repeated, Rodgers has demonstrated an incredible disregard for common sense and indeed human life in the name of pointscoring and bragging.
“Let’s live and learn. I know they are trying to avoid what happened in 1999 but it’s been a long time since then. You have to show that football and society has changed for the better and you can make it work. Hopefully they will do that – if that’s what they want to do and not just try and avoid it. Scotland is a wonderful country with passionate supporters so make it a great advert – let’s not run away from it.”
He is actually right that it is sad that it’s the case, but he can blame his own supporters for that. He is also right that it’s a long time since then; it’s a lot worse now, with far more toxic things having happened in Glasgow, Scotland and Britain since then to make people even angrier now than they were at the end of the 90s.
We wouldn’t ever want Rangers to win the title at Celtic ever again either, incidentally – it is simply asking for trouble.