This week has been a rerun of the aftermath of the 2016 Scottish Cup Final, when Hibernian humiliated Newco, resulting in a media narrative against them being prepared and distributed to the masses.
The Herald yesterday ran the line “Police have consulted prosecutors about Scott Brown’s behaviour during Sunday’s Old Firm game.” This bears no relation to what happened and lacks credibility to anyone who witnesses key events at Celtic Park on Sunday.
Police asked prosecutors to review three items:
1. The melee involving around 15 players at the end of the game.
2. Ryan Kent’s punch on Scott Brown.
3. Alfredo Morelos elbow on Scott Brown.
Watch the melee again. What police officer in their right mind would look at 15 players grabbing, dragging each other to the ground and ripping clothes, as Scott Brown looked with his hands by his side, then limit comment to Scott for smiling at grown adults?
You can make your own mind up why the newspaper report contained no mention of Kent or Morelos assaults being reported by police, that information was not selected for you to read about.
Instead, the headline screamed, “Police consult prosecutors over Celtic captain Scott Brown’s ‘goading’ at Old Firm (sic.) match”. Inaccurate, misleading and selective.
In the greatest act of mitigation in history, the same article asserts that Scott Brown was “pushed to the ground by Ryan Kent”. Pushed. To. The. Ground. Pushed! Honestly!
Everyone knows this is factually inaccurate. Scott Brown was not pushed by Ryan Kent. Scott Brown was punched by Ryan Kent. This is as clear a case of victim blaming as I have read. Deliberately misreport the assault while running a headline blaming the victim for goading.
The actual police quote in the article read, “The actions of the players involved are for the relevant sporting authorities to address.” This happened and three players will serve suspensions. No Celtic player had a case to answer.
Monday’s edition of the same newspaper took a more sinister tone, suggesting Celtic’s ideal managerial candidate “may as well have described Neil Lennon right down to his ginger hair.”
What does “ginger hair” mean in this context if not Neil’s Irish Catholic ethnicity?
Be clear: Celtic could not care less about the ethnicity of any of their staff. Celtic fans come from all walks of life across Scotland and beyond. It is not a club supported exclusively by one community; its success is a consequence of welcoming all. We even have some who once ‘walked’ in July as season ticket holders.
In the years after Rangers liquidation, these pages were full of comments hoping that we never play Newco, not for the football, which we can enjoy, but because of the metaphoric rubbish that is left on our doorstep.
They have a business model which their chairman made clear is dependent on stopping Celtic. Failure in this respect threatens their viability and this makes Celtic and our players vulnerable when they punch, elbow or lash out through media briefings.
Scott Brown was not pushed he was punched. He was not reported by police, a group of at least 15 players were reported, with only two individuals named, neither of whom was Scott. This attempt to intimidate him will fail.
He will lead us to nine-in-a-row next season, but unfortunately, you are going to read more of the same, as the media briefings from Ibrox become ever shriller.