Tuesday, 17 May 2011

Why can't bigoted idiots stay away from our game?

[This was originally posted before Blogger had its hissy fit a couple of days ago. Now it's back!]

Another three events today sadly showed again the brain dead bigoted idiots rife in certain parts of Scottish football.

First, a Hearts fan is arrested and charged in connection with the assault of Celtic manager Neil Lennon at Tynecastle last night. Then, this morning, two men were arrested in connection with sending bombs to Lennon, Celtic's QC Paul McBride, and Trish Godman, a former MSP and Celtic fan. Finally, this afternoon, another suspicious package arrived at Celtic Park.

I'm an Aberdeen fan. I have no love for either half of the Old Firm (or Hearts, for that matter.) But I know that these idiots aren't representative of either Hearts fans or Rangers fans.

Sectarianism is often referred to as "Scotland's secret shame." Actually, it's not as rife across Scotland as it may be in Glasgow and the West - I grew up in Fife not understanding why the Old Firm couldn't stand each other, had no real idea what an Orange Order march was, or why the "Fields of Athenry" could be seen as anything other than an Irish song. Even so, it does pollute much of Scottish life.

I'm not sure that there's much more Rangers & Celtic can do. They've worked hard to try to rid their crowds of these twits, to varying degrees of success - Rangers still have a bit to go and were recently fined by UEFA for fans behaviour. Maybe though, the Scottish football authorities need to look more not at financial penalties, which, frankly, don't affect fans, but instead consider points penalties - 6 or 9 at the minimum. That's a penalty which the fans understand, and which will hurt their pride.

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