Today the truth for you, your fathers and their fathers


Your fathers, their fathers, and their fathers before them, have walked away from football grounds thinking the game in Scotland was skewed in favour of another team.  As a club founded by immigrants, with our historical support drawn largely from some of the poorest sections of society, for decades Celtic-friendly people were underrepresented in the professional classes, the very classes those who administered and refereed our game were, and still are, drawn from.

No one believes more than me that times have changed.  That immigrant community gained equal access to all professions years ago – yes, including referees.  The prejudices which, perhaps not surprisingly, developed in Scotland when an incessant flood of around 800,000 immigrants poured into the country over a few short decades, have moved on.  Our society is not without prejudice, but it’s others who are now targeted most.

Football decisions made by referees are difficult to prove to be deliberately unfair. I have no doubt that Celtic suffered unfairly in this regard for decades, but I see little evidence of it now, and even if there was, it is impossible to tell the difference between incompetence and bias.

Conclusive evidence of what we were up against was established in 1999 when an independent SFA Commission heard a complaint from Celtic that Jim Farry, the Association’s chief executive, deliberately delayed the registration of Jorge Cadete, meaning the player was unable to play for Celtic in a cup game against Rangers.  The Commission upheld Celtic’s complaint and Farry was sacked for gross misconduct – even back then holding a torch for due process.

That incident came at the end of a difficult period to be a Celtic fan.  Rangers had violated one of our cherished records, Nine-in-a-row, was matched, not by wonderful athletic achievement, as Celtic did, but by the might of the cheque book.  Fergus built a stadium, left us a little over £2m in debt and taught the SFA a valuable lesson.  In short, he put Celtic on a level playing field with everyone else in the country.

In August 2000 an almighty game of football reset all the dials.  Celtic scored six against then champions Rangers.  We won the league by 21 points, won the Scottish and League cups, our first treble in 32 years.  On and off the park, we were better than a team who only a few years earlier seemed light-years ahead of a sorry looking Celtic.

Rangers responded by flooding more cash into their football squad, this time using Employee Benefit Trusts. In February last year Celtic Quick News was first to raise the question that these EBT payment might not have been registered with the SFA and SPL. Within three weeks the SPL commenced an investigation into the question, which found Rangers had a case to answer. The league set up the Commission which will report at noon today.

This is the most important decision in Scottish football history with implications for past and current directors of the organisations which run our game; people who were legally obliged to ensure rules were applied fairly, thoroughly and evenly.

It has implications for the Rangers group of clubs and for the international reputation of Scottish football, but none of this matters to you and me.  We want to know if we were watching a level playing field for 11 years, or if the game was rigged.  I can’t think of a more important decision in the history of British sport.  There has never been and will never again be a decision which casts a shadow on 14 trophies, ‘won’ allegedly by a team playing by different rules to the rest.

The First Tier Tribunal decision last year and forthcoming Upper Tier Tribunal are sideshows.  This is the main event, second only to Lisbon in importance to Scottish football.  I am confident the decision will go against the group of clubs.  If it doesn’t, we should not demean ourselves by slipping into paranoia.  This is an independent commission, anyone who tells you otherwise is deluded.

My only concern is that the scale of punishments which would be appropriate for a guilty verdict are, frankly, so enormous, I expect every available opportunity to mitigate the sanctions to be exploited.  This is a black cap verdict, but despite their impartiality, I don’t expect the Commission to dress sombrely when signing the decision.

A bottle of expensive fizzy stuff is in the fridge, in case we need to toast all those generations who, unlike us today, never had the opportunity to nail the truth.
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  1. ArranmoreBhoyLXV11 on




    One of those.. ” where were you when.” Days



    Boruc down for several hat tricks and Lenny too!!

  2. I’m now starting to be less interested in the punishment. The removal of the tainted titles is now all that matters. Let the records show, cheats cannot prosper.

  3. So harsh it is during Lent, and I have given up booze.



    I fancy some Champers if they are rightly stripped of their titles

  4. If LNS finds deadco guilty but spl/sfa decide not to strip titles etc. Will Celtic and other clubs that have been cheated from the trophies and remuerations pursue this through court.




  5. .



    Your fathers, their fathers, and their fathers before them, have walked away from football grounds thinking the game in Scotland was skewed in favour of another team.



    Hey..My Father doesn’t do Walking Away..:O)



    Summa of SonOfAH*nCSC

  6. Celtic_to_the_core on



    Fingers crossed we all get to celebrate justice today. You are correct in that the enormity of this decision and its potential consequences will be felt for generations. So much so that although I am in work, I cannot concentrate!


    I have already told my colleagues drinks are on me at lunchtime down in deepest Cheshire if justice prevails and we get another 5 titles at noon! Man Utd, Man City and Liverpool fans are now all wanting justice too ;-)


    Hail Hail



  7. imaginger



    Like putting off payment for an EBT,you should have put Lent back a couple of weeks.

  8. Sorry Paul67 i do not accept the SFA is above board



    Not so long ago we had Peat SFA president, Ogilvie SFA Vice president, Smith CEO and Dallas as the head of referees……………… that is not an SFA that i in anyway can support, i still dont and until the old is completely swept away i will hold that view

  9. If Rangers are found guilty i would love it for Paddy Power to get themselves a great bit of publicity by saying…….



    Anyone finding an old Paddy Power betting slip from the cheating years (5 titles and relevant cups). Stating the winner of relevant leagues and cups would be anyone other than Rangers can now collect their winning from Paddy Power.



    Just a bit of fun but it would get the hoards in a frenzy

  10. If Charlie my Pop and Bill ma Da are looking down today Paul they will know that I am as they were A Celtic Man and your article is the one I have been waiting for and I am sure they would agree with me when I say Disband The SFA and start anew with a body and men that the supporters of all clubs can choose and trust as much as you can trust any man in power…



    Mon the Nimmo..

  11. The Battered Bunnet on

    That’s a wonderful piece Paul. Hits the notes perfectly.



    Was the Game rigged?



    It’s a binary: Yes or No.



    If it was, How, by Whom and to What Effect.



    The eminent make up of the Commission is such – a Law Lord (Scots), a High Court Judge (English), and a QC of long standing in Sports Law and Arbitration (English) – that their impatiality must be accepted as beyond question.



    To think otherwise would inevitably lead to giving up the day job and getting into a life outside of the constraints of the law. I’m thinking perhaps of running molasses into Canada, or perhaps it’s modern equivalent, counterfeit handbags into North Korea.

  12. Paul 67 , a giant of a post,I am watching the clock and will 12’0’clock ever come and thinking of “the Faith of our Fathers”


    Thank You.



  13. 67Heaven ... I am Neil Lennon..!!.. Ibrox belongs to the creditors on




    What a powerful summary of what we all feel, and have experienced …….. We know what went on, and they know …….. The punishment should fit the crime, and the ‘record’ needs to be be put straight……our resistence is about to be vindicated……



    …..but will they learn from this …..???

  14. Paul67



    A lovely bit of writing as usual. However, I’m afraid that today’s verdict and the ensuing appeals proces are about to show that things haven’t actually changed that much after all.

  15. Celtic_to_the_core on

    Still cant concentrate……is it midday yet? ;-)




    Mon the Nimmo……

  16. For me , first and foremost , the LNS enquiry must confirm that R***gers fielded ineligible players. From that it follows that every game where this occurred they cheated.


    Yes I would love to see titles stripped and cups taken away but as Paul says I just dont see it happening.


    We will know, indeed , the world will know they cheated. If the rules regarding sanctions are not followed it will merely also confirm yet again that rules dont apply to them.


    If LNS confirms they cheated this will be a GREAT day.

  17. Paul67


    “fizzy stuff”




    Difference between optimism and pessimism ……… you are ready with champagne and I have Alka Seltzer.

  18. Just read Lenny’s post match comments from last night.


    He sure knows how to pee off his players.


    He appears to be having a go at Stokes and Commons – again. As for his “if we don’t have Gary……..I truly despair.


    Meantime the defence he chose were shambling. Izzy fast asleep, Ambrose a bombscare and Joe Ledley, who needs game time and was superb on Sunday, dropped to the bench. Joe, imo, makes Izzy such a better player by covering for him as he bombs forward.



    Sorry, Neil,your post match comments wrong. Graceless again in saying Celtic should have won when, I believe we were outplayed by a fired up opponent – no more comment there Mullet.



    Am seriously beginning to doubt Lenny for the first time if he thinks that’s a way to motivate a team.

  19. Paul67



    Is there a potential case for small shareholders of Celtic to bring an action against RFC in either it’s old or new corporate entity if it transpires that a fraud has been perpetrated which would have adversely affected the value of our shareholdings ?

  20. 67Heaven ... I am Neil Lennon..!!.. Ibrox belongs to the creditors on

    ernie lynch



    09:25 on 28 February, 2013



    Guilty verdict followed by admonition.






    I fear you could be right ……..even though the punishment should fit the crime

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