The Shame Game – 10 Years On

Ten years on from the infamous shame game, take a trip down Amnesia Lane with our match report and Hackwatch review as it appeared in issue 194. You can decide for yourself how much has changed over the last decade.

At the time of writing the tidal wave of moral outrage that followed this game was still lapping around, but am I the only one slightly confused by quite how we have become part of the ‘disgrace’? 

Celtic finished with 11 players on the pitch, played some decent football, scored a goal, hit the post and won the game. On the other side we had three players booked, all for challenges, none for dissent or abuse of the officials. No complaints for Wilson and Majstorovic, but Brown could feel pretty hard done by, especially at it means he misses the next round. 

Meanwhile they had a player spoken to after 41 seconds for a tackle from the back, the same player booked after 28 minutes for persistent fouling and then sent off another 8 minutes after that for a horror show lunge at Izaguire. 

From that point we had Rangers players manhandling the officials, barging into the Celtic medical staff as they tried to get to injured players, racing the width of the pitch to scream at the fourth official and the home bench and so on and so on. 

As for the Rangers claim that Celtic coaches were winding people up on the pitch – well what was the Rangers manager in waiting doing when he began screaming into the home dugout or when he spoke to our manager at the end? 

And in any case, anyone who has ever played competitive sport will know that the psychology is all part of the game; cricketers call it sledging and say it’s all part of the game. When it’s directed at a Rangers player the Scottish media call it disgraceful and call for an enquiry.

Of course a lot of the moral ire was also directed at the crowd and I certainly wouldn’t claim that everyone in green and white behaved like an angel, but the amount of nonsense spouted really needed addressing. 

For no other reason than it makes a good noise and you can dance to it, the Celtic support, led by the Green Brigade, have adopted an early 80’s syntho hit to sing at the games. The only lyric change is the inclusion of the word Celtic in favour of the word Baby. No politics, no issues, just a bit of fun at the game that everyone can join in with.

The hun response? No Pope of Rome. Hate, hate, hate. Make no mistake about it there was certainly sectarian bile at this game and it all came from the south east corner where the away fans were – because that’s all they seem to have.

Anyway, to the game itself.

Beforehand we knew a couple of things for sure; Celtic would be without first picks Ledley and Forster, but more importantly, they would turn up with a new tactical approach to surprise us. 

Well, Zaluska came in and did the little he had to do without any fuss while Ki performed well in place of Joe Ledley. 

Meanwhile, it’s certainly fair to say that I, for one, was surprised by the Rangers tactic of almost complete surrender. It’s true to say that they had injury problems before the game, but it’s also equally true to say that when they decided to play with only El Hadj Douchebag up front instead of Healy that told us everything we needed to know. It doesn’t matter if you think Healy is duff – he’s a forward. Douche isn’t. He’s a tube.

The first period was played largely in their half. Any brief excursions in to our territory were swiftly dealt with, but Rangers’ main tactic seemed to be to get Whitaker up in support of Douche at every opportunity, which made it such a crying shame that he should get himself booked for persistent fouling after 28 minutes only to pick up a 2nd yellow minutes later. 

At that moment their already shaky game plan fell apart as did their tenuous hold on discipline as first Douche barged into the Celtic physio for no good reason before deciding to confront the fourth official (what did he have to do with it?) and the home bench. Their soon-to-be grandmaster then got involved (but was physically restrained by the man with no surname). 

All this, of course, was Neil Lennon’s fault.

The second half followed the same ‘procession towards the Rangers goal’ formula that had been shown in the first half, only this time we managed to get in behind them. 

Izaguirre made the break, rounding Foster and finding Mark Wilson with the cross. Wilson proceeded to hit the finest shot of his career, which would have found the corner of the goal if Papac hadn’t got his head in the way (more on that in a minute). Sadly for plucky cup underdogs Rangers, their captain promptly knocked the rebounded ball straight back to Mark Wilson who produced a more typical thumped into the ground effort this time around. Naturally this one bounced over the ‘keeper and in. Thunderous acclaim for goal machine right back.

Meanwhile, back on the goal-line Sasa Papac is wondering how all these people got into his bedroom and why is his skull being circled by a legion of tweeting birds?

Yes, it was a brave block on the line but it might be some time before he realises Rangers are out of the Cup.

For the rest of the game Celtic were happy to keep the ball, certainly try and score another goal, but no real need to force the issue. 

They on the other hand lost it. Bougherra could consider himself lucky not be sent off for stamping on Hooper’s ankle and the statistic of four yellow cards in the last 15 minutes (including a second yellow for Bougherra) tells its own story.

The final pantomime of Douche throwing his jersey to the crowd was sheer comedy. It should have come flying back out, such was his contribution to the Kinning Park cause. Maybe somebody is drying the dishes with it, even as you read this.

Ref: Callum Murray 8/10. P
ARDON? Well the only big decision he got really wrong was the booking of Brown, that asides he called it pretty well as proved by the fact that Rangers were moaning about him after the game and claiming that things have changed since Dallas and McDonald were removed. Fancy that.

Richard Gough decides it’s okay to kick Neil Lennon in the head

On Wednesday March 3rd 2011 Celtic beat Rangers 1-0.

Steven Whittaker’s sending off on 36 minutes was the cue for Rangers players and management to lose the plot.

The photo above is a former TV quiz panelist’s reaction to the Celtic manager speaking to the 4th official about a Rangers player (Diouf) assaulting the Celtic physio.

You might be surprised to see this image as the Scottish media have for some reason, that can’t have anything to do with bias or spin, not publicised it, preferring to report the soon-to-be Rangers manager’s tantrum as “Neil Lennon getting involved again”.

What was also reported widely in the Scottish media as “Neil Lennon getting involved” (including in the BBC highlights) was El Hadji Diouf running 60 yards from the centre circle – assaulting the Celtic physio on the way – to confront the Celtic manager.

Work out how that equates to “Neil Lennon getting involved”. I can’t.

A quick rundown of the “flashpoints in the game”

– Whittaker (Rangers) sent off

– Bougherra (Rangers) grabs the referee’s arm in some crazy attempt to prevent his team-mate being sent off

– Diouf (Rangers) assaults Celtic physio

– Diouf (Rangers) runs 60 yards to the Celtic dugout to confront Celtic management team

– Ally McCoist (Rangers)has to be physically restrained from attacking the Celtic manager

– Bougherra (Rangers) is booked for a deliberate and cynical career-threatining foul on Gary Hooper

– Bougherra (Rangers) sent off for using excessive force against Commons

– Bougherra (Rangers) engages in a fit of histrionics and yet again physically man-handles the referee

– Kyle Hutton (Rangers) attempts to take Scott Brown out of the play and is booked

– At the final whistle Diouf (Rangers) receives a second yellow card for sarcastically applauding the referee three times and then offers the referee his jersey

– Diouf (Rangers) walks over to the Rangers support in an attempt to throw his jersey into the crowd and has to be restrained by police

– McCoist (Rangers) and Lennon (Celtic) have a verbal confrontation on the sidelines.

A couple of observations about the above list.

1. Apparently walking onto the pitch of your great rivals to wave and acknowledge your own fans was a heinous crime and an act of outrageous provocation back in 2004 if your surname happens to be O’Neill, but appears to be only a minor matter barely worthy of comment in 2011.

2. The very man pictured losing the plot above and seen on camera making his snide remarks to the Celtic manager was, unbelievably, one and the same who just the day before made this statement – “Why wind people up when you don’t need to? That’s my opinion on it.”

Changing their opinion on things is a bit of a habit down Ibrox way isn’t it? When’s the season extension due again? Dignity indeed.

It is not necessary to understand the general picture, but you may want to count and compare the Rangers misdemeanors against the Celtic ones. Of course it was only too depressingly predictable (or tiresome as a certain SFA official might say) to be confronted with media headlines about “O*D F**M SHAME” the next day.

You are the editor: number 2 – the Sun. Which picture of Ally McCoist do you choose to accompany your double page spread about the ‘pitch bust-up’? A thoughtful pose next to mentor Walter Smith, or Ally going berserk? Give in…?

This is bad enough, but despite the litany of shame perpatrated by Rangers players and officials listed above, the Scottish media tonight have decided to round on Neil Lennon making him the focus of the story.

Darryll King on Radio Clyde says the root of all the trouble is Celtic having a “controversial manager”.

Apparently receiving death threats and being repeatedly the victim of assault makes you “controversial” and completely to blame for your assailant’s crimes.

Even Graham Spiers has been got to, agreeing with one particularly rabid caller that Neil Lennon has brought all of this on himself.

But the most disgusting example of bigot apology and doublethink came from former Rangers captain Richard Gough.

Gough’s credentials for working in the Scottish football tabloid media are impeccable – he used to play for Rangers and is only slightly less partisan in his views than Mark “Goebbels” Hateley.

After misleadingly describing the McCoist-Lennon confrontation as “Neil Lennon getting involved yet again”, Gough claimed to know Neil Lennon personally before going on to basically perform a character assassination on him, with the usual “he brings it on himself” claptrap packaged up in the language of “he gets under people’s skin”.

By way of some contrast, the impeccably objective ex-Rangers captain then offered a glowing character reference for his good friend “Alistair” exonerating him for his actions in the face of whatever outrageous provocation the media have now created out of their febrile imaginations.

Mr Gough then criticised Neil Lennon for coming onto the pitch at Ibrox in an “inflammatory” manner to applaud the Celtic fans. 

Mr Gough said nothing about the headcase Diouf’s histrionics in front of the Rangers support that night so presumably condones that.

He then pipes up with the Walter Myth, that you never see the man with nosurname do anything like that. Well, maybe not to applaud fans, but certainly the Myth has entered the field of play many times before, for example to berate Connor Sammon and referee Steve Conroy resulting in a charge of “adopting a threatening and aggressive manner”. 

The Myth also has previous for berating the fourth official.

But why let all that get in the way of a convenient Myth?

This is enough to have us reaching for the sick bucket but then Gough astonishingly offers the case of Alan Shearer kicking Neil Lennon in the head back in 1998 as some sort of proof of the Celtic manager’s poor character. “It shows that he gets under people’s skin” according to Mr Gough.

So there you have it. All players now have free reign to go about booting each other in the head on the proviso that the victim has “got under their skin”.

Incidentally, Alan Thompson was sent off in 2004 after squaring up to Peter Lovestodive who needless to say fell to the ground spectacularly when no contact was made. “By the letter of the law Thompson had to go. The act was violent and agressive even if he never made contact” was the opinion of the Scottish media to a man and woman.

Yet, here we are in 2011, and the Laptop Loyal are full of mealy mouthed excuses for the tantrums of spoiled and beaten Rangers players and officials, and we have one of them saying it’s OK to kick Neil Lennon in the head because “he gets under people’s skin”.

This is the calibre of “neutrality” and objectivity proferred by Radio Clyde and their counterparts at Fake Radio and Radio Shortbread who are little better. Clyde should simply go the extra step and get a flute band in to play musical interludes between each rabid perma-rage Rangers supporting caller. We know they want to and their priority constituents would certainly love it.

By the way Mr Gough’s scandalously biased comments were brought to you courtesy of the BBC, the national broadcaster funded by the taxpayer, who love nothing more than to crow about their reputation for impartiality, whilst every Radio Scotland broadcast is positively bursting at the seams with ex-Rangers players and self-confessed supporters queuing up to criticise Neil Lennon and Celtic in general.

Neil Lennon was unfairly and squarely blamed for imaginary death threats to referees back in October, as according to our discredited media, he  “provoked” Celtic fans into a state of frenzy against our bedraggled officials by having the temerity to make the most mind-numbingly obvious statements in reply to their questions, and for having the gall to be lied to by a referee.

Well, who is then to blame for the bullets sent not just to Lennon, but to other Celtic players, a much more serious threat than one made up by Daryll Broadfoot or from some drunken halfwit over the phone? 

Who has been responsible for whipping up the neanderthals with access to live ammunition by validating their vile prejudice by providing the excuse that Neil Lennon “get’s under people’s skin”?

God forbid, but if anything sinister should happen to Neil Lennon then the spineless apologists for the bigots in our Scottish media should be in the dock.

Tony Hamilton

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s