I’m not taking the SPFL- face recognition plan too seriously but that’s not to say the politics behind the suggestion should be ignored. Scottish football has no hooligan problems, compared England or the Continent our game is orderly and sedate. Until recent years there was no such thing as a flare problem, and offensive signing was a thing of the past.
All that changed when the SNP government got involved in 2011. Two managers shouted at each other after a game, three Rangers players were ordered off, and First Minister, Alex Salmond decided a summit was necessary to reign in the game’s wilder elements. What utter tosh.
Three weeks later, Justice Minister, Kenny MacAskill congratulated fans on creating a great atmosphere at the League Cup Final, which was notable for the re-emergence of the previously eradicated Billy Boys song. At an instant MacAskill rebased what was acceptable behaviour at Scottish football.
Since then the game has been trying to put the genie back in the bottle. The arguments were rehearsed in the CQN comments pages and elsewhere, “They are congratulated by the Government for singing The Billy Boys and we can’t sing about nationalist politics”, or words to that effect. Songs which had disappeared from the Celtic support lexicon were soon back and remain. Incalculable damage done by two incompetent clowns.
Since then the Scottish Government and a very small number (very small indeed) of senior officers at Police Scotland decided to subject football fans to the kind of surveillance that would make a military junta of a banana republic blush.
It’s a mess. Officers on the ground readily complain in private, all other political parties pledge to repeal the Offensive Behaviour’ Act, while sheriffs line up to mock cases arising from the Act. Football has been left to pick up the pieces left from a Scottish Government created problem. The Government refuse to accept any liability, will not repeal the Act and having celebrated a new, low, standard for spectator behaviour, seem quite happy with the situation.
Scottish football was doing very well before the Government decided to rebase what is acceptable behaviour. No football authority will succeed in any endeavour if the government is working against it. What the SPFL did was make a clear, if clumsy, attempt to return the problem to sender – the newly disinterested in football Scottish Government.
When one becomes six
I’ve scoured the internet today but cannot see any complaints about Celtic’s alleged “one up front” tactics. This season hasn’t gone to plan, but we’re making an incredible number of chances and scoring a remarkable number of goals.
One up front leaves space for, what is in effect, two wingers on each flank, and an attacking mid able to work inside the box.