Prof Leitch: politicians are reason you ‘can’t go to Celtic Park’


I listened to a Scottish Rugby podcast with Jason Leitch, recorded earlier this week, where they discussed the reasons that appear to lie behind why the Scottish Government in their treatment of football is out of step with European countries, like Germany, France, Netherlands and others, but in-step with the Westminster Government.

Professor Leitch rhetorically posed the question you and I have discussed recently, “Why can I go to the pub and I can’t go to Celtic Park.”  Through analogy, he explained that the Government were able to permit some activities, not all.  That has never been in dispute, during a pandemic, you cannot allow all activities.

What has not previously been confirmed is why the Scottish Government has shadowed the (frankly abysmal) pandemic response of Boris Johnson’s Westminster government, instead of acknowledging the clear and undisputed scientific evidence that drives public policy among our European peers.  Professor Leitch placed responsibility for this squarely with his political masters:

“How you then make choices between sport, versus retail, versus hospitality; that comes down to decision making, by politicians, taking the best advice they can from the financial people, the public health people, the social policy people and making choices.”

Clearly the Scottish Government listens to financial, public health and social policy people before making decisions, so do Boris Johnson and Donald Trump, this allows them to act sincere, it does not make them any good.  But when Europe takes one path, which is consistent with science, and Scotland follows Westminster, which has led to some of the highest rates of mortality in the world in both Scotland and the UK as a whole, we are entitled to ask, what is going on?

They do not have a different virus in Dortmund than we have in Glasgow.  In both places, it spreads significantly more indoors than out.  It is inhibited by adherence to clear and monitored hygiene and distancing rules, like those in place at football games across the Continent, and it spreads where consistent enforcement of these rules is unmonitored – like pubs.  The difference is the politicians, not the virus.

I know this is ‘just’ football, and our consequences are nothing like the care homes fiasco, but government policy needs to shape up pandemic response in all areas.  It is not easy, but if decisions are too onerous for people in Edinburgh to get their heads around, stop following a clown in London and watch what is happening in Europe: fewer deaths, fewer infections, industry specific responses.

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  1. I wonder how they put that 4 together , hunbelievable ,especially watch out for AR2 , Mr Madden’s side kick and former schoolboy best pal.

  2. theBHOYfromU.N.C.L.E on

    With no fans present he can cheat without the pressure that a full house brings.

  3. RON BACARDI on 9TH OCTOBER 2020 8:28 AM



    Re Patsy Gallacher, his pub in Clydebank was The International Bar. Sadly no more, it was part of the demolition for the Shopping centre.



    *Mrs TT had an uncle who used tae work in pubs when he was younger. One day a wee mhan fae Clydebank came down tae see him, told him his pub was losing money and would he come up and work for him.



    Knowing who it was he was delighted and up he went. One day the wee owner came in with some of his cronies, bought a round and went tae walk away, Joe stopped him and asked who was paying for it. The response was this was his pub and he was entitled tae free drink.



    Joe’s response was this was why he was losing money and if he wanted tae continue down this road then he wasting his time and going back down the road tae Dumbarton. Needless tae say Patsy paid up and as far as I know never had anymore freebies.



    Mrs TTs auntie told me that many years ago after Joe had passed away and that was the night of the Harry Hood hat trick against deidco.



    The only time I was ever in the International was when we played the Bankies in the quarter final of the LC in 1971. Although I often stood at the bus stop opposite waiting for a bus tae Duntocher or Clydebank Tech.

  4. COTTISH businessman Stuart Gibson has made a £5million investment in Rangers to become the fourth largest shareholder at Ibrox.



    Documents lodged at Companies House earlier this week showed that £8million worth of shares in RIFC plc had been allocated and Gibson is the main money man behind the transaction.



    Gibson – who was born in Paisley and now operates in the Far East- previously provided a £1million loan to Rangers and has now stumped up a further £4million in cash to secure an 8.27 per cent stake in the Light Blues during the latest Ibrox share issue.


    The property tycoon is the founder of the Redwood Group and is currently the co-CEO of ESR, a leading real estate firm that operates in China, Japan, South Korea, Singapore, Australia and India.


    His significant Ibrox investment comes as George Taylor, Douglas Park and George Letham also put more money into their boyhood heroes to further strengthen Rangers’ financial position.


    Chairman Park – who has put a further £700,000 into Rangers – now controls 13.23 per cent of the shares in RIFC plc and is the second largest shareholder behind former Ibrox chief Dave King, who own 22.06 per cent through New Oasis Asset Limited.



    Taylor and Letham control 10.45 per cent and 4.89 per cent respectively, while fan group Club 1872 are the sixth largest investors with 5.36 per cent of the issued capital.



    Taylor’s investment has risen by another £1.5million, while a further £500,000 has been handed over by Letham at this stage and more rounds of fundraising will be forthcoming at Ibrox over the next few months.


    The investment from Gibson is a show of his commitment to Rangers after he was brought to the table earlier this year and a further sign of the backing of the existing Light Blues money men.


    The Gers board were granted permission by shareholders to issue new shares at the Annual General Meeting last November as every Resolution put forward was overwhelmingly passed.


    The AGM was to prove King’s final once as chairman as he stepped down from his position in an emotional farewell.


    Park has filled the role of chairman since King resigned as a director in March and will now look to guide Rangers through the Coronavirus pandemic with the backing and financial muscle of his fellow Ibrox investors.

  5. Yet more tiresome mindless sh#te from our esteemed blogger turned resident epidemiologist. I honestly think that a sizeable number of CQNrs log in more for the interaction amongst contributors than to read Pauls latest SNP are bad tantrum. We get it…you dont like the SNP and you think you know better than hundreds of doctors, specialists, scientists, politicians and others who have spent their lives getting to the positions of responsibility that allow them to make these decisions. Should have just told them to forget the decades of education & training and just write a football blog instead!


    Paul, how about you revert back to posting Lawwell’s latest musings or even (whisper it) your own thoughts on our team and players…maybe just leave the childish rantings aside for a few days, eh?

  6. The Battered Bunnet on

    Last word from me before beer o’clock



    Yesterday 597 people were admitted to hospital in the UK with Covid-19.



    That’s the same scale of number as were admitted in the second and third week of March, the last week before lockdown.



    The nature of this virus is that the numbers are baked in weeks ahead of reporting revealing the extent of infection.



    People showing symptoms for the first time today were (on average) infected 6 days ago. They’ve been infectious to their contacts for around 3 days already.



    The people being admitted to hospital today first showed symptoms (on average) a week or more ago, and were infected the week before that.



    Those who died today were admitted to hospital (on average) ten days ago, and infected two weeks before that.



    With the Chancellor announcing a new furlough scheme today to run for the next 6 months for workers in sectors required to close by law – eg Hospitality – you can draw fairly reliable conclusions about what’s coming down the pike in the coming weeks.



    Please, take care of yourselves and your loved ones, and Stay Safe for the rest of us.







    It’s Paul’s blog.



    You must be SNP good and can do no wrong, I’ll claim my scobby prize.







    In our youthful days on a Friday night I would head down Kilbowie Road to the Seven Seas with my brothers. Started off at The Atlantis, then down to The International Bar, and on to the Seven Seas. Then round to the Chinese Restaurant in Alexander Street at closing time.




    I guess Paul is as frustrated as the rest of us. He worries about our club and our society, as do I.


    Totally understandable.



    We all have different perspectives, but as a Celtic family, we are one.



    Cheers and HH.

  10. weebobbycollins on

    Hairlikespaghetti…wipe away your tears of boredom and stop whining…it’s pretty pointless!


    Like it or not, it’s Paul’s opinion and it’s his blog…

  11. Timmy7


    Best wishes to you and your wife for a speedy recovery.



    Buddy Morrisey



    Valid point re said countries, however the one thing they all have in common and which Scotland does not, is that they are sovereign and can decide their own policies and control their borders.




  12. Paid £130 (or £260 for my wife & I) to have a private Covid PCR test, earlier this week, guaranteed results in 48hrs.


    which allows us to fly off on holiday tomorrow to Antigua ( 8 current live cases as of last week 2nd with no other reported cases since – 107 cases in total since outbreak began & 3 deaths).


    The negative Covid PCR test, allows us to get on the BA flight, and entry to Antigua, where we can be randomly selected for testing again at $100 per test.


    ( BA did not offer flight or holiday cancellation- they did delay holiday by 24hrs and 1 night less)


    Flown down to London Gatwick this afternoon, on a jam packed EasyJet flight, with face masks and hand sanitising as flight precautions


    Didn’t stop numerous adults on the flight removing the face masks to have their flight drink 😡 Throughout the journey

  13. Paul67 et al



    Well there’s Europe and there’s Europe. Hungary has no restrictions but Spain and Portugal have no fans. Netherlands too. And what of Germany? Well it is true that in theory they allow up to 20% of capacity in football grounds, but only if the number of Covid 19 cases has been fewer than 35 per 100,000 in the local area during the previous seven days. Glasgow has had nearly 250 per 100k in the same period to October 7. Virus might be the same in Dortmund Paul, but local levels of infection are not. Indeed they vary within Germany itself as do restrictions. Apply the same standards in Glasgow now and no supporters would be allowed inside Celtic Park.

  14. Ron when at Clydebank Tech I had heard that the Atlantis was a current bun shop so we opted for the pub across the road, no often though I hasten tae add as college students on day release we could have been disciplined and lost our jobs.



    After the big storm of 68 I was sent tae John Browns for storm damage repair. Unlimited overtime and a spot bonus just for showing up. On a Saturday dinner time we would head over tae Connollys, good pub.

  15. ernie lynch



    “The goal isn’t to have a couple of thousand through the doors, it’s to have 20,000+.



    If the government said 2,000 were allowed but absolutely no more until the pandemic is over Celtic would in all probability just carry on without spectators.”





    Neither you nor I know what the eventual upper safe limit (or goal) is but we do have a clue as to what the initial goal was.



    That was to allow a number in – anywhere from 500 to 2 or 3,000 dependant on hte size of the host stadium and to be allowed to show that this could be done without covid risk increasing or significant public disobedience of regulations.



    3 Sports trials were allowed at Murryafield, Pittodrie and Dingwall that showed this could be done. They showed this could be done and earned the right to rol out Phase 2.



    Phase 2 would have been to allow all SPFL stadia to trial similar small scale attendances – maybe for 3 or 4 matches. If during that 2nd phase, there was a significant increased risk of Covid outbreak caused by that, or s;ackness appearing in the obeyance of regulations, then it could have been shut down and the industry would have no one to blame but itself.



    But if it had succeeded , as Phase 1 did, then the next step would have been tweaking the upper limit, for sure. You can bet your bottom dollar it would never have been tweaked in one step from 1,000 to 20,000 in attendance. We are canny, careful Scots and we don’t work that way. We don’t go from a small scale trial to anything goes (or one third of anything goes); that is just a scare tactic to justify banning it all.



    You are right in one regard; the clubs would not make any money from this. As TBB said {and the Scottish Footballer Supporters Association- which is a wing of the Tartan Army- if you ask me) agree with him} lower league clubs have a higher dependency on gate income alone and their needs were being promoted in advance of the Senior game. So we would offer an allowance to a sector of the football industry which few people are interested in supporting, where they would have great difficulty in enforcing adequate sanitation, providing stewarding and providing adequate distancing (far less enforcing it), and where there would be less media scrutiny to ensure compliance. we would be guillty of promoting a higher risk of Covid Outbreak than if we allowed fans entry into Easter Road, Celtic Park or the Dilapidated Edwardian Block Toilet.



    I can understand your difficulty with this. The over-riding perception is that our club is only interested in our money so it is cheaper for them to run with no spectators than with a number that does not cover the costs of staging a spectator game in safety.



    And yet our club asked for just such an uneconomic outcome. It asked to be allowed to demonstrate it could provide a safe experience for a small crowd. You, and many of our political masters feared that, if we give them an inch, they’ll take a mile. So, better to ban all attendance than risk a growing demand for ever increasing attendance allowances. The thinking behind this appraoch is that football fans are stupid and football clubs are just a daft unnecessary pastime. It is a patronising, snobbish and self-centred approach which comes close to “we’d be better off if football didn’t exist”.



    If the clubs ahd been stupid enough to demand 20k attendances before they had proven their ability to work with much smaller numbers, the Scottish Government would have cracked down and set limits and we, the supporters would understand, just as pub goers can understand, that customer failure was more at fault than government dictat.



    We are a significant community. We are economically important, and we are culturally important and we pay taxes (most of the clubs do). We merit being given equal consideration alongside other small to medium sized economic activities. it may well have become a moot point in the current growing climate where more extensive lockdown measures are needed but it was a reasonable, evidence-led request in the first place. And we were turned down flat without adequate explanation and , certainly, without the appliance of science.

  16. I see the Sun correspondent tried hard today to get the O** F*** game canceled during hte press conferencebrcause of the risk of house parties.



    That risk would be much mitigated were the game to be available live on a readily seen platform such as the terrestrial stations.



    Would Sky be willing to forego its bought coverage for the greater good of avoiding Covid spread?



    Answers on the back of Rupert Murdoch’s heart or soul, please

  17. SETTING FREE THE BEARS FOR RES. 12 & OSCAR KNOX,@ 5-50pm ive read your post a few times now, and dont know if your advocating a return of spectators at games in their thousands, or just a couple of hundred please enlighten me.H.H.

  18. BP



    The initial request was for a number between 500 and 2000 to be accomodated in our Senior club stadium, dependant upon size.



    Moving beyond that, depends upon successful completion of that Phase 1.



    It will be done gradually and I doubt you would see CP at one-third capacity until around a dozen such trials with smaller numbers had been achieved

  19. Back to Basics - Glass Half Full on




    The following is just my opinion.



    I’ll repeat that.



    The following is just my opinion.



    Some disappointing stuff on here today.



    Debate and disagreement are obviously healthy.



    Some of the rancour on display is over the top.



    And opinion presented forcefully as fact.



    It’s not a hustings.



    No one’s views are on trial.



    It’s only a blog.



    Now when the football posts break through, or even when none football views are eloquently expressed and then respectfully contended …



    … it becomes more interesting and more enjoyable.



    Hail hail



    Keep The Faith




    I wonder whether those contracting Covid in the current developing outbreak might be less severely affected than those in the initial outbreak due to having received a lower initial viral load as a result of the preventative measures currently in place?




    The Atlantis wax very mixed. Nearest pub was The Cleddans at top of Kilbowie hill. Still going.

  22. Celtic’s bounce game gives valuable minutes to returning stars. Celtic team v Motherwell …


    Bain, Ralston, Welsh, Hjeldi, Laxalt, Soro, Brown, Henderson, Dembele, Harper, Griffiths


    A youthful Celtic side, blended with experience beat the Well 2-1. Griffiths scored along with forgotten right-back Anthony Ralston.


    Returning striker Leigh Griffiths, who netted on Sunday, got 90 mins alongside Diego Laxalt – Neil Lennon keen to get the Uruguayan left-back up to speed ahead of the game versus Rangers.


    But importantly, there were minutes on the pitch for Scott Bain, Ismaila Soro, Karamoko Dembele, Olivier Ntcham and Scott Brown.

  23. HAIRLIKESPAGHETTI , its paul brennans blog his site, what would you do if he said feck it ive had enough,,im closing the site down, just be thankful paul has a thick skin and can take all the insults, take a step back and think before paul created cqn where did we all go,.H.H.

  24. The Battered Bunnet on




    Certainly the measures in place have kept the rate of growth considerably below last time out. Rt was estimated at between 3 and 4 in March pre lockdown, versus about 1.5 just now. It was doubling every 3-4 days previously, and is now 8-11 days, buying a little time to apply hard brakes.



    I think your suggestion about viral load is interesting too. Masks, distance etc all assist with that, and it’s as good a straw to clutch as any right now. Certainly if you’re going to be infected, you’d prefer as little a dose of it as possible.



    Also worth noting that a lot of the cases are in known clusters – halls of residence for example. It’s easier to close down a cluster if you can identify the location and the individuals at risk.



    Also also, the course and outcomes of the infection are population dependent. London had a higher prevalence but a lower fatality rate than ‘older’ parts of the country last time.



    But, the numbers lately cast a pretty pessimistic shadow across the few straws within our reach.



    Stay safe.

  25. weebobbycollins on

    So you two drones are suggesting that nobody can voice an opinion that differs to Paul’s? Good to know…


    Drone 2 here…it’s all about differing opinions, that’s the idea of the blog…


    “Yet more tiresome mindless sh#te from our esteemed blogger turned resident epidemiologist.”


    That’s not an opinion, that’s an insult…and that’s my point.

  26. weebobbycollins on



    “So you two drones are suggesting that nobody can voice an opinion that differs to Paul’s? Good to know…”





    Drone 2 here…it’s all about differing opinions, that’s the idea of the blog…





    “Yet more tiresome mindless sh#te from our esteemed blogger turned resident epidemiologist.”





    That’s not an opinion, that’s an insult…and that’s my point.

  27. Seems there’s been a covid outbreak on a cancer ward in Edinburgh. Up to five people have died.



    Something seriously amiss for that to have happened.

  28. Turkeybhoy @2:35pm


    Maybe not shutting the pubs at 10 and now altogether where people are adhering to the rules would be better than people just having garden/house parties where no one gaf 😉

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