Glasgow Weasels

Dear Sir


I don’t know who Hugh Macdonald is, but if you read his article Real Facts of SPL Battle Lost in Hot Air  in the style of Alex ‘Candid’ Cameron, it sounds horribly convincing –  not as an argument, you understand, but an exercise in pompous self-regard.   Last weekend’s Sunday Post made the methodological error we expect of foolhards, but for The Herald to suggest that the St Johnstone v Dundee game would be less of a spectacle should Celtic and Rangers find any other League willing to give them house room isn’t clever.  


If Hugh MacDonald thinks that such games would be (even) less meaningful than is current, the context of a 10 or 12 team League whereby at least half the teams would enjoy a decent chance at winning something would add five times the significance.   Livingston and Aberdeen would have been fighting a title decider, the UEFA Cup spot would have involved Hearts and Dunfermline and whilst I’m not so naïve to think that Partick would certainly be playing Inverness Caley in the Cup Final, it’s a mouthwatering prospect.


He is also suggesting that the standard of football would be far worse if Celtic and Rangers left.    He finds the standard shocking even though the Old Firm are still with us, so might he not pause for a second and consider there may be a causal connection?   Or to put it more bluntly, the rest of the football’s rubbish because teams have to take account of Celtic and Rangers.   We’re never going to beat them for skill, not in the long run, so we create untalented teams that can stifle, and they end up stifling one another.   Instead, he’s saying that things are so dreadful in spite of the unrequited (and shamefully unacknowledged) beneficence of Celtic and Rangers to which he refers, and things can only get worse.   Well, thanks, wir olGlesca buddies – how can you stand being so good to the bunch of ingrates that the rest of us are?  


The ten clubs he patronises so sweetly may well be munchkinesque, but if I remember aright from the making Of The Wizard of Oz, all the midget actors and actresses were creating their own merry Lilliput Babylon behind the scenes whilst it was the Big People who  bickered and broke down and cried.    It’s Celtic and Rangers who have seen the big silver city on the hill, and had the doors of Oz been opened wide, you wouldn’t have seen the Yellow Brick Road for Old Firm dust.    There are many of us who would love to see a competitive Scottish League attracting a wider range (and a greater number) of supporters, as well as a Scotland side packed with first-team players and not Old Firm bit-part players previously poached from munchkinland.   Hearts were the last team to give Celtic and Rangers something to think about and had 20% of its Cup-winning team extracted by Rangers within the year as a reward.   


Us little people are fed up with the unpleasantness outside and inside the ground when the Old Firm come to town.   We have to sit and listen to songs of triumphalism, defiance, bigotry, hatred, even – especially – on the rare occasions they are beaten.   We despise Glasgow police and stewards who pick on away supporters (from “provincial” clubs, of course - Glasgow being the capital of Scotland) because they’ve never had the guts nor the official directives to deal with their ain folk.   No-one likes you, and we don’t care.


Either Hugh MacDonald is being a good servant of his paper and turning up the gas a little beneath the debate even though he doesn’t believe what he’s saying, or he really doesn’t know how much the Old Firm phenomenon and its lickspittle apologists are loathed; but if he read Kevin Williamson’s piece in the Herald last week, or any of Stuart Cosgrove’s mighty words in the Daily Record, he might be enlightened.    Sadly, every correspondent who has written in favour of the move - Ian Bell in Saturday’s Scotsman was the latest – has acknowledged that the likelihood of this happy scenario coming to pass is negligible.   Some unhappy compromise will be reached, whereupon St Johnstone and Dundee will continue to serve up untasty fare, no new fans will be attracted to a stale old product, Celtic and Rangers will continue to bomb out of Europe.   Fact is, they can’t afford to stay in Scotland and satisfy the ambitions of their rich backers.   And they can’t afford to leave it because their poorer fans would lose all sense of affection and attachment to the clubs which have allowed them to lord it over the rest of us for so long.   Imagine staring in the mirror and having to see yourself as you really are…


He is entirely correct inasmuch as the real deal concerns money far more than the idealists’ dreams of a more virtuous world, as Arnold Kemp put it so neatly in The Guardian - but, he went on, it’s hatred that makes the tills tinkle.





A Well-Wisher