Following up on Scotland manager Steve Clarke’s announcement of Ryan Jack’s inclusion in his latest squad, Ibrox Noise got thinking both about Clarke himself and his ignominious relationship with Rangers, and with his amusing change of tact the past few days.
Let’s not forget for one second here this is the gent who smeared Rangers at the final match of last season by acting like a bitter little man saying ‘bye bye Rangers’ in the direction of the fans.
An extremely undignified way to go.
Some might say it was a just response to sectarian chanting in his direction – sorry, but it isn’t. This stuff has to be dealt with by the authorities and by the club, not by significant figureheads of our game picking up a microphone and slagging off half the stadium.
And he clearly was still in wee club Killie mode at that point too, responding in such a childish manner.
But now he’s Scotland manager, and suddenly he’s completely changed philosophy.
Look how he refers to Rangers now:
“There are other people get it from the Celtic fans. It’s not a one-way street. It’s two different sides, two different clubs, two fantastic clubs, but they have to do a little bit more to stamp it out. Rangers have reacted very well to it. They’re trying their best, as I’m sure the people at Celtic are.”
Blatant and outright praise (forced or otherwise) for Rangers and our club.
He then goes even further:
“I’ve been back at Ibrox since – no issues whatsoever. I had some wonderful supportive letters from Rangers supporters and not too many disruptive letters.”
It’s curious just to see the man who, only three months ago goaded our supporters after beating them, now mostly praise and constructively comment on them and our club.
Clarke has undeniably been a victim of some Rangers fans’ poor conduct – we are not sweeping bigotry, sectarianism or any other kind of attack under the carpet. But his own responses last season did not help matters at all, and perpetuated the myth that only Rangers fans have this problem element.
Eventually he was pressed into conceding it’s not a Rangers-only issue, but a social west of Scotland problem too – in fact, the majority of Scotland has this somewhere. The north is plunged into an Aberdeen-originating hatred of all things Rangers, so it’s not isolated to the Glasgow and Edinburgh area.
But Clarke was far too inconsistent in whitewashing other clubs’ issues while highlighting Rangers.
Now, as Scotland manager, he’s having to change his position somewhat.