OnThe ShouldersofGiants responded to one or two tweets I had made regarding my interpretation of events at Kilmarnock.
As ever, we value the right of reply to anyone who wants it, and this piece is much more enlightening than probably anything you’ll hear, read or see in the SMSM over the next few days as the old Two Cheeks of the Same Arse argument gets an airing,
It is important that we see ourselves as others see us, for only then can we truly see our faults. More importantly, as far as the bigger picture is concerned, it perhaps shows just why there is a two cheeks of the same arse argument in the first place.
It may be that in order to fight the good fight against corruption and to move our game forward we need to treat the towns in Scotland the same way as we treat the cities of Europe. And behave accordingly.
By the way, he went to the same school as me.
Try to read this with an open mind, and it will give you something to think about.
Ghandi, in the quote above, has a point.
As a Kilmarnock fan, I left Sunday’s match with Celtic at Rugby Park not only disappointed at the result but also angry at some of the scenes I witnessed around, and inside, the ground on the day. Perhaps, I was a little more sensitive than normal because I’d taken the plunge and decided to take my young nephew along to his first Old Firm encounter and I’d specifically chosen this game rather than one against the other ‘Ugly Sister’ to ease him into the unique protocols and rituals of these particular fixtures.
I did this for a number of reasons.
Firstly, as a Killie fan, I’ve never enjoyed the distorting effect of the Glasgow giants on the Scottish game but I’ve always had a particular distaste for Rangers and everything the club stood for. Culturally, politically and sociologically, I’ve always had more in common with the ‘green’ than the ‘blue’. And, although, I have acquaintances from both sides of the chasm, I only have actual close friends on the Celtic side. Indeed, one of my closest friends (not a celebrity, an ordinary fan) is so well-known amongst the Celtic support that it’s almost impossible to walk into an Irish pub with him, anywhere in the world, without the first round appearing magically on the bar.
Secondly, I’ve attended too many Hun hate-fests to want my nephew exposed to the vile behaviour of what always seems to be such a sizeable proportion of the Rangers support, rather than a few moronic individuals.
In short, I just believed that he would have a better experience going to watch Killie vs Celtic rather than Killie vs Rangers.
Despite this, I know that some people reading this will still reject it as some kind of bitter rant from an institutionalised, west of Scotland bigot who has bought into the pro-Masonic, anti-Catholic narrative of the corrupt Scottish media/football authorities/political elite… and all the other usual bollocks.
However, I’m not talking to them. I’m talking to those that care about their club and who are able to think for themselves.
Which brings us to Sunday.
Those of you who have been to Rugby Park will know that it is situated in a relatively nice residential area. Unlike most other football grounds in Scotland, it is not in an industrial or commercial area, with limited housing close by.
It is, then, not a suitable place for grown men to be urinating in the street like cattle.
Christ, it would be bad enough at any ground with children and women milling about but, after parking my car on Dundonald Road, we witnessed one old man (clearly a pensioner) emerging from his house to remonstrate with a clearly drunken Celtic supporter relieving himself on to the fella’s driveway. He was told to “Get tae fuck back intae yer hoose or Ah’ll be pishing on you, ya auld cunt.”
Surprisingly, perhaps, none of the ‘greatest supporters in the world’ who witnessed this scene said anything to their fellow supporter or apologised on his behalf to the old guy.
As I walked past, perhaps stupidly, and definitely (I admit) sarcastically, I told him that although we “might not be as cultured as Baillieston or Shettleston, but we do have toilets inside the ground at Kilmarnock.”
When he threatened to boot my seven year old nephew’s arse, I stopped and turned only to be eased away by another Celtic fan (presumably his mate) who assured me they’d sort him out and get him into the ground. Fair play to the boy for intervening but, personally, if my mate was so blootered he was behaving like that, I’d have put him back on the bus.
Inside the ground, I spoke to the other season ticket holders around me about the incident. Two had come to the ground from the opposite direction via Rugby Road and they claimed that there were half a dozen Celtic fans pissing in the street at that end of the ground. I have no way to verify these claims because I didn’t witness them but I have no reason to disbelieve the people who told me either.
My nephew then got his first look at the Green Brigade gathered at the north-east corner of the Chadwick Stand. Now clearly, there’s some diversity class that I’ve missed during my police and teaching career (and believe me, I’ve been on a few) but I fail to see the psychological imperatives that provoke seemingly grown adults to ponce about in paramilitary fancy dress (including some in face-masks) as if they are the Second Coming of the Visigoths (or, indeed, the Huns).
In my police experience, it really was the quiet ones you had to watch. Those that feel the need to portray themselves as some kind of rampaging, revolutionary people’s army are clearly inadequate in some way, needing the protection and anonymity of the herd to be a ‘face’ (especially if they’re too scared to actually show it).
I truly hope, that to most decent Celtic supporters, these people are considered an embarrassment to the Club.
I can just about understand the Green Brigade’s need to chant pro-IRA slogans as a response to the jingoistic British nationalism and vile sectarianism of Rangers and, perhaps, Hearts fans. To feel the need to do it at Rugby Park – whose supporters don’t give a toss about such matters and where it is a redundant gesture – is verging on the deranged. If you want to support a football club, just do it. If you want to be a hero in a glorious struggle against overwhelming odds, put your money where your muffled, hidden mouth is and toddle off to Palestine and take on the Israeli army. At least there, you’ll be doing us all a good turn.
Of course, they then compounded their ludicrous behaviour by setting off flares inside the ground. To indulge themselves in this way is just a further expression of the entitled attitude that fans of both Old Firm clubs have that they’re big enough to do whatever they want and there will be limited, if any, reaction from the authorities. A bit like pissing in the street, perhaps.
Then we had the coin-throwing incident…
Social media, including this site was awash with conspiracy theories from Celtic fans.
It happened in front of the Kilmarnock dugout; which means it was in front of a home stand; which means it was a home fan; and the authorities probably know who did it so are deflecting attention away from that.
Look! Look! You can see the Butcher’s Aprons hanging behind Boyd near the dugout.
Now, I know that Killie fans have a reputation for being critical of our team but this, I believe, would be the first instance in our history of us throwing coins at our own players.
And ‘Butcher’s Aprons’ at Rugby Park? Give me a break!
Of course, it soon became clear. That ‘dugout’ is disabled seating at Rugby Park. In front of the Moffat Stand. The Moffat Stand filled with Celtic fans. And the Union Jacks were nothing more offensive than security tape.
Aah, but; aah, but… Boyd brought it on himself by warming up in front of the Celtic fans. Yeah, there’s nothing more infuriating to a died-in-the-wool Bhoy than an ageing, slightly-overweight footballer in a tracksuit doing some stretching exercises. Not antagonising anyone. Not making any gestures. Stretching.
Really, Celtic apologists; get a fucking grip! Perhaps what actually incited the Neanderthal coin-thrower were the chants of ‘Dirty Orange bastard’ and ‘fat Orange bastard’. But that clearly couldn’t have happened because – as we all know in Scottish football – only the Rangers fans are bigots…
These conspiracy theories also ignore the fact that all subs at Kilmarnock warm-up at the goal ends of the stadium – home and away players. And this is the first instance, I can remember of any of our players or away players having coins thrown at them as they warmed up.
It is a similar incident, I suppose, to the fan who threw a Bovril at Eamonn Brophy after he’d scored about two weeks ago. Who was that against? Oh, yes. Rangers. That’s fine company you’re keeping.
I have very few complaints about the game itself. Celtic were, marginally, the better side but were running out of ideas and didn’t look like scoring until Broadfoot’s fully-deserved red card reduced us to ten men. One small point, though. If Broadfoot’s red was because he endangered an opponent, then how much more dangerous was Brown’s tackle on Taylor in the first half – a two-footed lunge, both feet off the ground, and studs into the calf of Taylor’s planted, standing leg.
Never mind, though, those are the decisions you have to accept as a supporter of a non-Old Firm club.
I don’t even have any massive complaints about the Celtic supporters who jumped the barriers at the Chadwick Stand when Brown scored. I can understand the euphoria of a last minute goal.
Except that the last time you graced Rugby Park with your presence, Stuart Finlay scored a last minute winner. We were exuberant. We were euphoric. We didn’t feel the need, however, to jump onto the pitch to show it. But then, of course, we are not the ‘greatest fans in the world’.
What I did have a problem with was the dozen (or thereabouts) morons who decided they needed to get involved from the Moffat Stand at the opposite end of the ground. Here, however, I agree with this site that the stewards and, particularly, the police did not react quickly, or effectively, enough. That aside, the rotund gentleman who waddled up the pitch, with the crack of his arse showing as his trackies nearly tripped him, is very lucky it was a laid-back Stevie O’Donnell he wandered up to and gave a wanker sign to. The ‘photography fan’ who wandered about the pitch for 90 seconds getting selfies with Celtic players was also in danger of creating a response from home fans that could have erupted into a much more serious incident. If your fans want to excuse this behaviour then fine, go ahead but please, in future, spare us the sanctimonious claptrap about how you are very different from the Sevconians.
The Celtic players, too, should have a look at themselves in the cold light of day to consider whether they reacted to these provocations in an appropriate manner.
And the broken seats? Again, it’s merely exuberance. Presumably the same exuberance after the ‘Stuart Finlay game’ that led to broken seats.
Then it was a design fault. A sign of the poor standards at Rugby Park. Well, I sit in the East Stand. Seats of the same design. Same gaps between them. And, believe it or not, we do score goals at Rugby Park – including last minute winners (have I mentioned Stuart Finlay?) – and I have yet to see the ‘exuberance’ of the Killie fans damage any seats. The fact that it is becoming a regular occurrence for the Celtic board to get the chequebook out after visits to others’ grounds should tell you everything you need to know. Again, a startling resemblance to our friends from Ibrox…
You know, whether you believe me or not, I’m speaking as a friend.
And a friend should tell you when you’re going wrong. So that you can be better. If you want to be better. And that means, I’m afraid, calling out your own supporters when they get it wrong. It might also mean, and I realise how difficult this might be for some, grasping the nettle that is the Green Brigade.
Celtic fans – real Celtic fans – it’s over to you.