Going by the looks of the photographs coming out of Romania today Ronny Deila and his players will be going a culture shock; the Stadionul Marin Anastasovici isn’t the Camp Nou, our more familiar European haunt.
The industrial surroundings should set a tone for the players, though, and industrial performance is required tonight, where the attributes of effort, attention to detail and strength of character are required.
Astra surprised many of us at Celtic Park last month. After their capitulation to Dinamo Zagreb they were supposed to be the whipping boys of the group, but they can play and extended Celtic more than any domestic challenger would be able to.
A victory would be an enormous boost to our season, and to the development of Ronny’s first Celtic squad. Question is, are we ready yet?
Ignorance of causality
Sometime between when the link between tobacco and cancer was suggested, and when it was proven, cigarette manufacturers mocked the research by pointing to a study which linked dental hygiene with cancer.
A perfectly valid piece of research found that – in their sample – the group who brushed their teeth daily had less cancers. In any research you would expect random links, which is why the medical industry requires many studies before concluding on a linkage or treatment.
Yesterday Community Safety Minister, Roseanna Cunningham, told the Scottish Parliament that recent years has seen decreases in religious hatred crimes at football, which she attributes to the Offensive Behaviour at Football Act., which she informed us we spend £3m per year enforcing. That’s a lot of police overtime to pluck fans out of their beds at 4am.
I respectfully disagree. Ms Cunningham is blind to causality. Top flight football in Scotland these past few years is a completely different place than it was previously. The change had nothing to do with her government’s “horribly drafted” [Sherriff Richard Davidson] legislation.
She knows this, of course, but the landscape has changed over the last year. The Scottish Government received an independent report on the Act in December last year but refused to debate it in Parliament or at committee. This is unsurprising as the issue could have been toxic at a sensitive time.
Jim Murphy yesterday pledged to scrap the Act “right away”, adding “Sectarianism is a deep rooted and hate filled long-term problem in Scotland. It was allowed to fester and grow over many decades. Shamefully it was celebrated by a minority and silently tolerated by far too many”.
No other political party supported the Act, so it will not survive a change of government, but going by the polls that day could be a long way off. That £3m per year is lubricating a lot of wheels, but the real cost is the politically motivated criminalisation of the non-intolerant innocent in order to “equalise” them with the absolutely intolerant.[calameo code=000390171eccf1f8cf962 lang=en page=118 hidelinks=1 width=100% height=500]