I looked into the world of Scottish football betting yesterday. Betting on Celtic to win the Scottish Premiership is less rewarding than putting your money in an interest bearing account, which, I suspect, is an approximation of what bookmakers will do with any such bets. In short, our league is not so much a sport as a secure investment.
Betting gets really interesting if you meander onto what is referred to as the Without Celtic market, or who will win the league if Celtic are taken out of the equation. Favourites are Aberdeen, closely followed by Motherwell and then Dundee United and Hibs (hmm….).
Can you imagine what a league title like this would do for these clubs? Aberdeen, Motherwell and United actually vying to become champions?
Some hold a notion that Celtic are the great benefactors of Scottish football, which is dependent on you and me for the occasional home game and TV money. This is rubbish. Celtic inhibits Scottish football more than we can imagine. We are a competitive poison making it impossible for historically significant football teams to thrive.
Keeping a clean sheet away from home is an achievement for any team. Doing so twice, in Europe, and winning both games, is outstanding for St Johnstone. Well done. I can only imagine their absence from the top of the Without Celtic betting chart is a result of bookmakers anticipating their run to the Europa League final in Turin will hinder their league challenge.
I have to express my sheer delight at yesterday’s pronouncement by the chief executive of Rangers International FC PLC, Craig Mather. We can be confident of this guy’s credentials and that he is worthy of following in the footsteps of Charles Green, Tommy Cooper and other comedic greats.
Mather issued a statement on the club’s web site noting punishments handed out to Hearts and Dunfermline for entering administration were different from the punishment handed out to Rangers International’s predecessor club (the player registrations and current penalties Newco Rangers were allowed to inherit) – for a completely different series of offences.
Those penalties were imposed for a variety of misdemeanours, including failure to declare the club appointed a director who had been struck off, failure to comply with stock market rules and multiple counts of bringing the game into disrepute. The SFA disciplinary panel responsible for the penalties found that “only match fixing in its various forms might be a more serious breach”.
Would you not feel a wee bit embarrassed by this? Mr Mather asks for clarification but I suggest we don’t trouble him by directing him to the aforementioned SFA panel’s ruling. Better that he operates in the version of reality he is most comfortable with, and that he keeps his followers away from looking into the real issues……..
To that effect, our thanks to all the media outlets who unquestioningly reported the Mather comments without hint of irony, apart from those pesky online types at STV, who had the temerity to address the question. Cease and desist immediately.
Flag Day tomorrow, another historic moment in Celtic history. Get in early, or late afternoon, as it happens. Hoping to see some of our new guys make their claim for a start in Sweden.
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