The difference between Rangers and Celtic on the pitch grew closer yesterday, and indeed some would certainly argue the Ibrox side maybe matched or even overtook their East End rivals in the course of the afternoon.
However, the difference off the pitch between Rangers and Celtic fans could not have been laid more bare over the past four days following the difference between the response to James Tavernier’s horror night in Berne last Thursday, and Celtic’s Ryan Christie’s misdemeanour v Livi (not to mention Jordan Jones’ indiscretion v Celtic).
Let’s have a look at all these in turn:
Jones, following an overall horrific Old Firm for Rangers, came on, did brightly enough, but then inexplicably threw himself into a dreadful tackle, and got an instant red plus prolonged absence from the side through injury and suspension as a result.
Then recently Tavernier had a horrendous night effectively gifting Young Boys the 3 points on the night with some calamitous defending. It was genuinely rotten play and called the captain’s armband into question.
Neither of these attracted any abuse from fans. Criticism, yes, tonnes, but no abuse.
Celtic’s Ryan Christie yesterday got himself red carded for a stupid studs-high challenge – Celtic lost the game and the attacker was forced to close his social media account due to fan abuse.
See the difference?
We’re not claiming Rangers fans are angels – any regular to this site knows we call out our fans when they make mistakes, and they do make mistakes. We’ve backed the board on condemning the idiots who sang overseas and kept costing the club. So we’re not hypocritical here.
But we really cannot remember too many occasions one of our players was forced into coming off social media due to the abuse of his own fans.
And that appears to be the difference – while Rangers fans have plenty history for bad behaviour, little of it appears to be aimed at our own players. Even when they make mistakes, and they do make mistakes, fans appear to draw the line at abusing them.
Criticise, yes, castigate, absolutely – but smear and slur with foul language and launch a volley of abuse?
That’s more the Celtic Way we think.