Bitter Tears

NeilMcCann_1774832wIt was Michael Hutchence who sang “Bitter tears taste so sweet …”

I thought of that line last night watching Neil McCann fragment in the Sky Sports studios, following Celtic’s 3-0 win in Perth.

He lost the plot completely, and it really was something to see.

Yet, it made me wonder; this guy can’t stand us, and he doesn’t hide it.

Why do we still allow him inside Celtic Park?

Last night he was at McDiarmid Park, but he’s been at our home ground and done this on many occasions past and he will doubtless be with the Sky team when they turn up on many occasions to come. After last night’s display, I don’t think he should be allowed in the front door.

I realise the irony here, that I, who penned 4000 words on the failure of Celtic’s strategy and called for the departure of Peter Lawwell only the other day, should be calling for someone to be expelled from our ground, but I think you all know the difference.

This is a guy who gets into the ground for free, and in fact is well paid for sitting there, and for no reason at all, except that he doesn’t like us much, decides, with every chance he gets, to take a piss on the fireside rug. That’s what he did last night, in calling Derk Boerrigter a cheat.

I am all for free speech, and in my view McCann should be allowed to exercise that free speech in any way he likes. He’s been on the telly, he’s had newspaper columns and he’s had slots on the radio too. I salute him in all of this. It takes skill, of some sort, for a semi-literate halfwit to carve himself a media career on this scale. I say bravo.

Where I have an issue with it is where he, or indeed anyone, spews blatantly anti-Celtic nonsense and expects to be allowed to continue doing it from our front room.

It happens too often. There was a time, before social media made their lives difficult, when the media in this country could tell barefaced lies about Celtic, and those lies would gain their own currency because there was no-one to refute them.

Everything has changed in that regard.

Thinking on McCann, and engaging in a discussion about him on Facebook, I was then reminded of Hugh Keevins comments at the weekend, about his heading to Celtic Park for the unfurling of the league flag on Saturday coming, and I must say, I felt a little stab of anger there too.

Keevins was banned last season, and not before time, for something he wrote in his miserable column in the Record, and to the best of my knowledge he has never apologised for what he said or the manner in which he chose to say it. If he turns up at the weekend he should be told to do his reporting from the car-park.

Over the last few years he has made many offensive remarks about our club on the radio and in print. His patronising, smug attitude is all the worse as he is, easily, one of the most ignorant and inept football “experts” in this nation of 5 million people.

His anti-Celtic spiels are so expected as to have long since become tiresome. When asked, last year, to pick a story that stood out to him from his decades long role with our press he picked one about being banned from the Celtic Club as his career highlight.

And why was Keevins chucked out of the Celtic Club? He was chucked out for writing diabolical slurs against our manager, Kenny Dalglish, and about the Celtic supporters from Bairds Bar, after Kenny had decided to hold a pre-match press conference there. Why did he decide that had to be done? He did it because his comments at the previous sit-down with the media had been twisted, and spun, distorted so much that all actual meaning was lost, and he thought these people needed to be dragged out of their wee cocoon and into the light.

They didn’t like it one little bit. Keevins ranted, on the following day, that his life had been put in danger and that Dalglish lacked class. He then tried to turn up for the next press conference, this one held in the Celtic Club in London Road, and a big bruiser named Finbar O’Brannigan told him he was not welcome. Keevins is the only person who thinks being made persona non grata is an honour.

Now, more even than then, these people are operating on the public stage, and some, like McCann, have a tendency to forget that, and carry on as before. Well, they can say whatever they like on that stage, but they do it in an era where we all have right of reply, and where their words can be scrutinised and dissected like never before.

We don’t let them away with anything anymore.

The question is, why do Celtic? Why do they let these people insult us, and then offer them a platform on which to stand? Constructive criticism is fine, but what Neil McCann did last night bordered on character assassination.

His demand that the video review panel scrutinise the penalty kicks made him sound as if he wanted the match result over-turned, UEFA style. His statement about wanting to see our Dutch winger hauled in front of a disciplinary panel for diving is shocking, and he ought to be carpeted for it himself.

McCann was a winger. Do you think if we scrutinised his career we wouldn’t find a few examples of going down softly? He is Mr Integrity all of a sudden, but this is the guy who trousered an EBT and then squirmed when asked about it. “I only signed one contract at Rangers,” he said, or at least only one that went to the SFA.

Tonight he did even more squirming, when forced to watch the Celtic goals. He spat the dummy right out of the pram and launched an astonishing attack on our team.

Someone said to me earlier that neither he nor Tanner hides their bias well. I’ve actually got to give them more credit than they deserve on this one, because in my view they didn’t try to hide it at all. They wore it front and centre, with no shame whatsoever.

I watched the game on Sky, so I saw this for myself, but I’m told that Radio Scotland was just as bad, and that’s far worse, because whereas Sky is something we pay for, by choice, the BBC is a national broadcasting company which we pay for by law, and as such it is supposed to be impartial. If I wanted to listen to anti-Celtic nonsense I would download a Sevco fan podcast.

For years BBC Sports Scotland attacked us with aplomb. When Rangers was fined by UEFA it was the national broadcaster who led the “campaign” to have the governing body investigate Celtic fans too, the support which had won a UEFA Fair Play Award only the year before. Theirs was the station that once employed Jim Traynor, one of our most vocal enemies, and where Gordon Smith defended the singing of anti-Catholic songs. Theirs was the station that campaigned most vocally for an extension to season 2007-08 in order to benefit Rangers, and blamed Manchester on “Chelsea fans.”

Through all of it, Celtic allowed their people into our ground on a regular basis, and let them continue to attack us from inside the walls, even when some of it went way beyond criticism and plumbed the depths. Their treatment of Neill Lennon in later years was a case in point. Every journalist who penned the words, or echoed the sentiment, “he brings it on himself” should have been banished from our stadium forevermore. None were.

There are some things you just shouldn’t allow.

The media here in Scotland remains a small-minded disgrace, made up of people for whom a better career choice would have been becoming stenographers or PR men. They only get away with this appalling standard because our top clubs continue to indulge them as if they were still important.

Those who can’t be objective, who let their dislike for us spill into the job, who renounce even the pretence of objectivity and put their bias out front and centre are not journalists and they should not be made welcome in the press box as if they were. Their companies should be told those individuals are having their credentials revoked until they can get a grip.

Faced with being locked outside, their usefulness to their employers gone, I suspect you’d see a sea-change in their attitudes pretty damned quick.

It wouldn’t be before time.

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James Forrest

James Forrest is a writer and blogger from Glasgow, and the author of two books, Fragments and Believers, which are available on Amazon.

28 thoughts on “Bitter Tears

  • 14 August, 2014 at 2:31 am

    I remember well being told about the event in the Celtic Club (I,m a longstanding member) I was at work that day,what people may not know is Finbar,s family life was made hell after the incident.The bottom feeding/gutter press followed his wife and children about,tried to interview friends, looking for any type of nonesense,dirt,sleeze on him or his family……..Press…….don,t get me started !

  • 14 August, 2014 at 2:36 am

    Yeah Tam, they dug up all kinds of crap about the guy after that. It was shocking.

  • 14 August, 2014 at 3:03 am

    I was angered too by McCann’s attitude and remarks about us.
    what surprises me is the fact that his background is a Celtic one.
    even though he played for rangers he and his family were Celtic through and through and even up until last year he got on well with Neil Lennon so i hoped that Celtic were still his team but after last night’s showing that clearly isn’t the case and he is a wee hun. His family have probably disowned him and maybe that’s why he is so bitter.

  • 14 August, 2014 at 3:17 am

    Celtic fans should just cancel their subscription and advise why when calling through! We should be bringing it all in-house anyway!

    McCann is a joke figure, as most of the Scottish media or Scotsmen in the media are!!

    Agree we need to be proactive in dealing with the obvious bias, although I think we have been saying this for sometime now!!

    Oh and great read as always mate! HH YNWA COYBIG

  • 14 August, 2014 at 5:32 am

    Spot on James

    McCann may well have been disowned by his family but he was actually disowned by 95% of the population of Port Glasgow. He was never a proper celtic fan, always liked to play football but never a regular at CP. His brother Eddie, however, had more talent in his toenails than he ever could have dreamed about and was always a true diehard tim. Sadly Eddie fell down on the social side of life and a potentially great player was denied to us. I think he is bitter that celtic never gave him the chance to be the hero of the Port (just wasnt good enough) and that the people of his home town knew he was the talentless one and never, ever let him forget it.

  • 14 August, 2014 at 6:48 am

    I think McCann has been bottling that up for a few years now.It is free reign now that we have a foreign manager and i expect the bile to continue. Would McCann have spoke like that if Lenny was sitting next to him?

  • 14 August, 2014 at 8:31 am

    I see today you’re all for ‘free speech’ yet yesterday you cut off the comments of those who replied to your bitter rant about the club.

    You may believe in free speech, but only for yourself.

    How MSM.


  • 14 August, 2014 at 10:03 am

    McCann is a football version of Wormtongue.

    The bile that he spewed last night indicates some underlying issue that is eating him up.

    I seem to remember him as a serial diver at both the diets and the full fats, and if I had the skills I would make a compilation of such cheating and post it prominently on the web along with details of his EBT.

    Let’s hope someone will.

  • 14 August, 2014 at 10:09 am

    What McCann failed to mention was that Derk was running at pace, therefore even the slightest touch would unbalance him, easy penalty.
    Why Celtic entertain the zombie media is one of lifes true mysteries. HH

  • 14 August, 2014 at 10:19 am

    I’ve been of the opinion for a long time that Celtic should not put up with this. Question is, what can we do about it to get the club to listen?

  • 14 August, 2014 at 11:19 am

    James, I think you’re being a little over the top with this article. It was actually the presenter who mentioned that Derk should go before the disciplinary board. I agree that McCann went a little crazy about “the dive”. I actually found it a little amusing. In Derks first game last season against Ross County McCann actually lauded his performance.

  • 14 August, 2014 at 11:34 am

    I watched the game last night and Boerrigter dived. Diving, regardless of how commonplace, is a form of cheating. Just wanted to point that out.

  • 14 August, 2014 at 12:05 pm

    Absolute garbage Carntyne. Unless a comment is blatantly sectarian I publish every single one. Even lies like that.

    You have until later tonight to go back and read through all yesterday’s 40 odd comments, the bulk of them negative, find your own and post an apology for that slur, or you’re banned.

    As this article makes clear, criticism is fine. But this is MY house, and no-one takes a piss on the living room carpet.

    Stick to posting on the Daily Record website, Alan. Give THEM the credibility of your “wisdom” instead.

  • 14 August, 2014 at 12:13 pm

    Wonderbhoy, we were watching a different game. Penalty every day, any day.

  • 14 August, 2014 at 12:45 pm

    McCann is still carrying a grudge after we snubbed him and signed the other St.Stephens High pupil Steven Fulton. Don’t ban him this only gives him the opportunity broadcast and in turn become the ‘ offended party’ just like Legia are trying to do. Phone Sky when he’s on and get your complaints registered.

  • 14 August, 2014 at 1:03 pm

    You’re right K McTaggart.

    That’s why he went to Rangers, that and the ebt money of course but even they found him out before too long; bitter wee man!

  • 14 August, 2014 at 2:13 pm

    Agree with every word james; you are such an eloquent ranter!

    Come independence, all the huns will return to living in darkness under some big rocks, leaving the good guys to take over the running of the country, including the MSM!

    Is that not the concern?

    They outnumber us here, they hate us, most dont even know why. They need to be educated otherwise but there are no plans to do this; it’s not part of anyone’s agenda. Scotland needs a truth and reconciliation commission but instead we are fed lies and half truths to justify their hatred of all things they associate with catholicism.

    Football mirrors scottish society and it’s not a pretty sight!

  • 14 August, 2014 at 2:25 pm

    Good to see that Uefa have stuck to their rulebook, wish they could send some people over to show the SFA how it should be done.

    McCann (one man I could never tire of punching) may well be correct that he dived – lets face it McCann should be able to tell a dive with his record for the same thing, for that matter I don’t think the St Johnstone shout had any merit either

  • 14 August, 2014 at 3:52 pm

    Maybe, so opposed to any particular ill feeling toward Celtic,

    Neil looked at himself in the mirror over the summer, pondering why he was the longest serving Sky employee with a scottish accent, still never to be asked to contribute on commentating on English football…

    Perhaps it was simply down to his determination to make a real media career for himself, knowing he is due to lose his job as assistant manager very shortly due to meeting less of the job specification criteria than Gordon Smith and the Chief SFA role.

    Perhaps, during those long stares in the mirror, perfecting his side parting, as he held his comb aloft as a pretend microphone, he reluctantly ruled out his analytical skills due to his lack of ability in being able to use the english vocabulary correctly, as he stumbled from sentence to sentence using the wrong words, phrases and context from a real life ‘only an excuse’ sketch, so he decided his only option to stand out from the crowd was to be brash, bold and hard hitting.

    Unfortunately, due to his lack of all the previously mentioned abilities, he was unable to identify the correct context and phrases to use, for a correct situation….

  • 14 August, 2014 at 4:42 pm

    I think it would set a dangerous precedent to start banning reporters that didn’t tow the party line, and favouring those that do; that way lies succulent lamb press releases. No one benefits from that and it makes the club look shabby and small time. Isn’t this also perhaps the type of thing that Peter Lawwell might quite like, what with him being a control freak and all?

    Welcome them in, so long as they are being professional and voicing an opinion, so what? Don’t let hubris and cocky arrogance be the motif of our club too.

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