We’re used in this country to seeing some unpleasant intentions aimed towards Rangers. The past seven or so years have seen an escalation in the nastiness targeted at our club, and while no one likes us and we don’t care, we also feel the urge to defend ourselves against those who would hurt us.
And one such is Peter Hartley. The Motherwell captain, probably getting the reaction from the likes of Ibrox Noise and others that he wants, has proudly boasted about enjoying watching former Fabio Cardoso weeping on the turf with a broken nose against Motherwell’s Ryan Bowman in a genuinely appalling incident which smashed the Portuguese’s noggin and laid him out for weeks.
And Hartley, keen to ensure the ring and stench of violence continues, eagerly admitted his side won’t show Rangers any respect on the pitch this weekend and has inferred willing to play dirty to get a result.
Compliance officer Clare Whyte is already in due process of investigation of the comments, but not only are these utterances clear baiting, they cross the line of acceptability.
There can be a real underbelly of filth in our game, and Hartley appears to have thrived on adding to it.
We get feistiness, we do. We applaud stoking the fires and saying something edgy in the build up to a match, to create more fervour around it.
But actually acting like a football fan who cheers when a player goes down injured and downright getting off on blood and tears running from his face is a cerebral viciousness and cruelty we thought well below professional footballers on any level.
Even as a troll, even as bait, this comment was utterly diabolical and we’d expect Ms Whyte to take serious action against Hartley for it.