This is what happens when Celtic are doing when. When we’re playing football and things are going right. When there’s no hay to be made out of bad performances.
Some parts of our media go looking for anti-Celtic controversy.
They invent it when there is none.
I read what John Collins said over the weekend, and it’s very clear what he was trying to say.
He meant no disrespect.
He even used those exact words in the statement he gave.
Which of course, the hacks have roundly ignored.
Their narrative is that he was being disrespectful.
That he was knocking the standard of Scottish teams.
That he is arrogant and that our club is arrogant.
Like I said, this is what they do.
Was Collins wrong about what he said?
Of course he wasn’t.
His crime is that in the spur of the moment he was more honest than was good for him.
He talked about Scotland having lower quality teams and players than those we will come up against in the Champions League; who could possibly deny that is a stonewall fact?
In politics, they call this “the un-spinnable crisis”.
In real life we call it “telling the truth.”
The first guy the media went to of course was Derek McInnes, who I like as a manager but think has a gob that is way too big and a tendency to slag Celtic whenever the opportunity presents itself.
His reaction to this was typically hysterical, but then the media had been counting on that.
In my view, he was set up just as badly as Collins.
They knew exactly what he would say, and how he would go off on one.
They wound him up like a kid’s toy and, of course, he reverted to type.
He talks about Collins’ comments as “disparaging.”
He talks about how Collins “has a lot to say for an assistant manager” which, of course, is not disparaging in any way.
“I think what he said is a real slap in the face to the rest of the league,” he said. “It’s not what you want to hear, to be honest.”
He said this shortly after confirming to the hack who asked him the question that he hadn’t actually heard it, that he was getting information second hand.
I’ll tell you, just for the record, what I think’s pretty ridiculous.
McInnes, and his comments, coming just a few days after his own brand of tactical genius saw Aberdeen drop their best player at home for a Europa League tie, only to end up throwing him on at the end of the match to chase the game.
In short, he should probably stick to getting his own house in order instead of headline chasing just for the sake of it.
I found his next comment particularly witty though, because of the head-nodding reverence they’ve been given by our press.
“He’s entitled to his opinion. But if it was that easy they’d win the treble every year.”
Now, forgive me if I’m wrong but isn’t the media which is blowing this spectacularly out of proportion the exact same group which has consistently called Neil Lennon a failure for not having done that when he was manager?
Aren’t they the ones who said much the same about Ronny last year?
Aren’t they the people who have been patronising the rest of Scottish football for the last three years with this “Celtic don’t have a challenger and won’t until Sevco are back in the league”?
Maybe it’s just me who thinks the scribes have no goddamned right to take exception to Collins’ comments when they’ve said the same, and worse, repeatedly, over and over again?
No-one at Celtic expects fair treatment from some of these people.
But when they can’t even get their stories straight, when they betray themselves with stunning hypocrisy such as this, it kind of makes it hard to defend any of them when clubs show them the door and tell them they aren’t welcome.
Their role is to report the news, not manufacture it.
Andy Walker, speaking on Sky not long ago, said Collins had been “incredibly naïve”.
Which I agree with.
Because despite JC making it clear that his comments were not intended to be disrespectful he ought to have known our hacks are a generally untrustworthy lot, capable of any mendacity and would spin them that way regardless.
Walker then went on to repeat McInnes’ remark about the comments being “disparaging” although he clearly knew full well they weren’t intended that way.
Then, a mere two seconds later, he said Celtic were “miles and miles better” than any other side in the country, and were rarely tested here at home.
He followed that up with a spiel about how weak the SPL is without Sevco.
And we’re supposed to take this stuff seriously.
Then there’s Graham Spiers, who only last week said that Ronny Deila and his team, despite winning a double last season, haven’t proven anything themselves and will only be considered a good team when they play in the Champions League Group stages.
Being lectured by this lot, for “running down Scottish football” … seriously, it is like receiving family planning advice from Tom and Joan Bradford.
Where do they get off?
Their conduct is disgraceful at times.
Yesterday, following an excellent return to the Celtic team, capped off with a wonderful goal, Tom Rogic was accosted by a hack who actually asked him about the Celtic defeat against Morton in September 2013 … not surprisingly, the Australian responded with the appropriate level of contempt.
Ronny Deila defended his assistant manager today, reminding the hacks that if anyone has earned the right to talk about Scottish football it is the guy who has 58 caps for the national team, won things as a player in Scotland and France, reached a European Cup semi-final with Monaco, has managed twice, been a director of football and as a coach won a League Cup with Hibs.
Yet, if you’re following the media’s hysteria, we’ve to believe has no right to say what some of them – with no qualifications in the game whatsoever – spout on a daily basis?
So today, and for the rest of the week, they’re going to every press conference hoping to get someone who’ll say what an evil man John Collins is, what a terrible person, what awful and offensive remarks are these.
Funny that no-one bothered to do this when Mark Warburton said playing Hibs in the Petrofac Cup was simply part of Sevco’s pre-season preperations. We’ll get used to that in due course … his getting not so much an easy ride as a free one.
John Hughes has been asked.
But he understood where Collins was coming from.
Stuart McCall (and where did they find him to ask? The dole office?) was asked and agreed with what Collins had said.
They got Paul Hartley to offer his two-bob worth and got Jackie McNamara to express his surprise … but they’re looking for outrage, for someone to suggest a period of purdah for our assistant manager if not outright stoning to death.
Tom English says Collins’ comments were “refreshing but flawed”, but defends his right to his opinion.
Which must be nice for JC … especially when English himself has written far more disparaging stuff about Scottish teams, and not too long ago, and is one of the media’s most notorious pushers of the “Celtic have no challenge until Sevco are back” line.
It is pathetic.
But it’s what we’ve come to expect.
Ronny Deila calls this “a typical media circus.”
He’s been here long enough to know.
And as we all know, you can’t have a circus without a few clowns.
There, the media always plays its part.
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