IT WAS a blink-and-you’ll-miss-it moment, but it was there on our TV screens for all to view.

I was watching STV News on Friday evening when up popped the image which caught my eye. It was a graphic which appeared behind the presenter as he delivered the up-to-date information from the ‘Old Firm’ camps.

The reporter was laying the groundwork for Celtic’s game against Hearts on the Saturday and Rangers’ match against Kilmarnock at Ibrox 24 hours later.

IN THE BACKGROUND…Brendan Rodgers takes second place to Connor Goldson in the STV News as reporter Raman Bhardwaj gives the up-to-date info on the Glasgow teams. 

Having worked in newspapers for almost three decades, I am well aware of the importance of eye-catching design on a page. I was gainfully employed by the Daily Record and Sunday Mail over that period and part of my duties at both journals was to draw up pages and make sure everything was presented in the correct order of value.

In tabloids, presentation is utterly crucial. The use of headlines, photographs and words is paramount to catch the attention of the reader. Over the years, I’ve tried to explain the importance of display to a casual buyer.

If you are just one of many titles on a newsstand vying for the focus of a browser, you need to get it spot-on. Your brain will instantaneously tell your eye what it likes even before you have a clue what you are looking at.

I’ve often used the example of watching the movement of someone in an art gallery. There can be a row of, say, ten images side-by-side on a wall and the person will walk along the line as they view the art. Some works will be dismissed in an instant, but one or two will hold his or her gaze. Some may even be thoroughly scrutinised.

Why? That’s the million-dollar question, dear reader. Some critics insist Picasso was a genius. Others argue he was an old phoney.

Anyway, to get back to slightly more down-to-earth observations, let’s have a look at the graphic displayed by STV. Connor Goldson is to the forefront with Brendan Rodgers in the background while the Rangers emblem dwarfs that of Celtic.

SCREEN STAR…Brendan Rodgers speaks to the media ahead of Celtic’s game against Hearts.

By the way, I am not anti-STV, I don’t see snakes under every rock and, please remember, images have nothing to do with the presenter, on this occasion sports reporter Raman Bhardwaj.

At the Sunday Mail, we had one of our reporters banned from Ibrox because of a back page headline. Our scribe tried to explain the situation, but the exclusion remained in place for months until peace broke out.

I wrote that particular headline which was found so offensive by the Light Blue hierarchy. The idea for the feature was also mine. As sports editor, I had asked the reporter to pen the article which he did to his usual excellent standard.

It was a tale about Russia international defender Oleg Kutznetsov who had been signed by Graeme Souness from Kyiv Dynamo for around £1million – big money in 1990 – and the injury-prone individual hung around for four years, making only 35 league appearances.

I worked out how much he had cost per game, taking the purchase fee and his wages into the equation. I can’t remember the exact figures, but, as you might imagine, they were fairly eye-popping. The brown brogue brigade didn’t appreciate the public being informed of the true cost of the disastrous transfer when we flagged it up hence the bar on our blameless reporter.

I digress, my friends. Without being churlish, I have to say the STV image was erroneous and misleading on so many levels. In newspapers, you would always give prominence to the team whose fixture was either imminent or clearly the more important.

The significant positioning of Goldson ahead of Rodgers was lost on your humble scribe. The only way the Rangers player should have pushed the Celtic manager into second place in the pecking order was if he was the centre of a massive storyline. Something like a £100million move to Real Madrid or something like that. Highly unlikely, I think we’ll agree.

The news on the player was that he would miss the remaining five games of the season with an injury. Remember, please, Goldson had already been dropped to make way for Leon Balogun, so it wasn’t exactly an earth-shattering revelation.

Making the situation a tad more puzzling, the Rodgers interview was up first which would have made you believe his image should have been given the stature it required.

Plus Celtic were playing the following day and Rangers 24 hours later. You could also throw in the fact Celtic were the Premiership pacesetters with a three-point advantage and were current champions.

I can’t help it, but these little things are almost like subliminal advertising to my tired old eyes. There may be a simple explanation for the TV graphic. I’ll never know.

Maybe it’s the only way to afford Rangers top spot in the billing when they are up against Celtic.


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