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.
(On Fields of Green badly needs your support as we enter our own transitional period. If you can make a donation, we’d appreciate it. You can do so with the Donate button at the top or the bottom of whatever device you’re using. Every support we get is massively helpful.)