When I read in a newspaper how someone has said “I don’t have all the answers but …” I generally think that we’re about to be lectured by someone who thinks he does.
Today Neil McCann is imparting his “wisdom” to the rest of Scottish football, and as per usual it is arrogant, myopic and centred on one club.
I don’t know about you, but I can only take so much of this “Celtic and Scottish football” needs a strong Rangers” guff before I want to throw up.
Even if it were true, the entity to which the second part of the sentence refers is gone three years now, whether you believe in the Survival Myth or not. The inability of people in our media to acknowledge that – or perhaps just to accept it – continues to stagger me.
How many words have I written on this subject?
Thousands, certainly. Tens of thousands. Hundreds of thousands perhaps.
That’s a good sized novel right there, something with about 500 pages, and that’s just my output.
Other websites have weighed in, and not just Celtic ones.
Those of Hearts fans, Aberdeen fans, Dundee Utd fans, Motherwell fans, Hibs fans … and on and on.
All have had their say and they’ve all written the same stuff; that the era of the duopoly is over, that this is good for Scottish football and that it is arrogant at best for people to simply assume that if Sevco climbs out of the Championship (and doesn’t suffer an administration or liquidation in the process) that they will be Celtic’s main challengers.
It ignores so much evidence. It denies all reality entirely.
McCann’s “interview” is proof of the poverty of our press.
He resurrected that old chestnut about summer football, as if there is even one word that hasn’t already been written or said or published on that subject. According to the press this issue is now “back on the agenda” but the last time I looked McCann wasn’t an official with the governing bodies, who are the only people who are in a position to do any such thing.
Summer football would be nice. But how many times do we need to revisit it?
It’s not going to happen unless the clubs vote for it, and they’ve passed up many a chance to do it over the years.
Maybe it’s a Scottish thing.
Maybe we just can’t get behind the idea.
Maybe we prefer to see football played in the mud and the rain.
McCann has always baffled me anyway. Quite how he landed a gig on the telly in the first place is quite amazing. His commentary is obvious, his biases shocking and his looking for controversy where none exists is the hallmark of the headline chaser.
Last week, he was busy telling every media outlet who would give him airtime how Danny Wilson was a fantastic signing for Sevco, and had he left it at that there would have been no problem.
But McCann went further and said Wilson had chosen the Ibrox club over clear interest from Celtic.
There was just one problem with that, of course; it wasn’t true.
Celtic fans have a long history with this guy and the way he has a pop at us every chance he gets.
This site wrote an article about him after his gurning, spiteful performance on Sky Sports after Celtic had beaten St Johnstone 3-0 at Perth, on the opening day last season, when Derk Boerrigter won Ronny Deila’s team a penalty and was then the subject of one of McCann’s tirades.
McCann’s demand for a video review panel was granted.
It ended up in a disciplinary case opened against our player.
I said at the time that he ought to be banned from Celtic Park fpor that little stunt.
I value free speech, but that only goes as far as the front door of my house,
My view was that if McCann and others want to have a pop at Celtic every chance they get it would be better if the club didn’t let them do it from our own front room.
He had another mad rant a few months later, accusing John Guidetti of “conning” a referee, a move which prompted Celtic’s manager to praise the standard of refereeing and make it clear how little he cared what the hacks and the pundits say.
McCann had been demanding that the SFA do the Swedish striker. When that didn’t work he said Celtic would have no choice but to carpet him in house because otherwise Deila was a hypocrite. Ronny ingored that, because those comments are simply unworthy of a response.
On top of his nonsense about summer football this morning, McCann was also pontificating on how little money there is in the Scottish game, longing for the days when every club was in debt, overpaying sub-standard players.
We can see why he hankers for those times; he did alright out of them.
He was at Rangers during Murray’s years of crazy spending and mad salaries, and he then found himself at Hearts when Romanov was running up the wage bill to the levels which almost wrecked the club last year.
Two clubs at which he played, both of whom ended up in financial trouble.
He was but one player on their books earning more than he ought to have.
Few other eras in the history of our game here have so healthily rewarded those with so little ability.
He was also the recipient of a very generous EBT, valued at £500,000.
Can he really be so dense that he doesn’t understand that this move away from insanity has put the Scottish game on its best financial footing in years?
Oh I know I moaned last week about Celtic and our transfer policy but whereas we can afford to spend a little more the rest of Scottish football has adjusted to reality … and it’s no coincidence this has happened since a certain club from Glasgow went to the wall.
People sometimes talk like Murray’s arms race with Celtic affected only our club. it didn’t. Every other team in Scotland, many of them benefiting from the same relationship with HBOS as he had (but which we, notably didn’t) found themselves chasing dreams.
The consequences of it lasted years.
That McCann doesn’t realise this, that he doesn’t get it, is all the more reason the football world should simply ignore him when he’s on one of his rants, but I guess someone, somewhere, is sitting nodding and reading him and saying “I agree with that”, although who that person might be and why they are allowed The Daily Record in a secure unit I don’t know.
It’s the final bit of his interview that grates the most though, and I’m sure it’s not just me who feels this way.
He’s talked, as many before him have, of the need for an Ibrox club in the top flight, for the “good of the Scottish game” of course, and to “challenge Celtic.”
He even thinks that league reconstruction would be an acceptable way to get that outcome.
I’m sure that the fans of clubs outside of Glasgow, looking at these comments, will be purely and simply furious at the sheer presumption in his remarks.
You might as well suspend Scottish football right here and now, because the biggest issues have already been decided.
Celtic will win the SPL without a ball even being kicked and Sevco will win the Championship.
They will improve so dramatically that next season is a foregone conclusion as well, and so the rest of our sides better learn to adjust.
I mean seriously. This is what the man is saying.
I am well past sick and tired of this kind of crap, and if that’s how I feel as a Celtic supporter, I can only imagine how the supporters of the rest of the clubs react when they are written off or dismissed as irrelevant.
Ask the supporters of Hearts and Hibs, who must have borne the last close season with gritted teeth as they were told their clubs would simply be swept aside.
Ask the fans of Motherwell, who turned up at Ibrox for the play-off final first leg with the whole of the Scottish press engaged in an orgy of anticipation for the coming season, having already made up their minds that Sevco would be in the top flight.
The simple fact that McCann and others have yet to grasp is that the Ibrox team isn’t automatically going up this season either.
Hibs and St Mirren and Queen of the South and Falkirk and others will make that a hard, hard task for them and that task will be one hundred times harder if people at Ibrox believe all this nonsense about going back to “where they belong.”
(Here’s a hint for any Sevconians reading; you’re a NewCo that rose from the ashes of a liquidation. Where you belong, therefore, is the graveyard. That’s why we call you zombies after all.)
Should they make it – and that’s a big if – McCann and others are in for one Hell of a shock, because “challenging Celtic” would be a big enough ask on its own if we were the only team in this league (as some hacks appear to think.)
Sevco isn’t remotely ready for that, and it will take years before they are.
I’ve said before that when a genuine challenge to Celtic does emerge – and one will, it has to – it will not be from this city but from Edinburgh or the north of Scotland.
I would welcome that challenge, of course, wherever it comes from.
But if it comes from, say, Aberdeen or Hearts we’ll know, at least, that it’s built on solid foundations and not on the old methods, the ones Neil McCann seems to be touting, the ones Dave King speaks about with forked tongue.
Whether he’s serious or not, that’s largely unimportant.
What he’s talking about, what McCann wants to see, is a return to the old order, to the old way of doing things, and it’s high time the SFA got serious about Financial Fair Play and forced clubs to spend only what they earn, instead of leaving the door open for another bout of financial madness which does the game no good at all.
The coming season is going to be just as important for what happen off the pitch as for what happen on it.
We have a new head at the SFA, and he deserves to be given a chance, to see what kind of ideas he brings to the organisation, and what changes he makes. Introducing FFP would be a Hell of a start.
In the meantime, we’re going to have to listen to idiots like McCann, pontificating on the need to keep the balls round, to make sure we don’t lose sight of the importance of goal nets and to speculate on whether we’d do better if the pitches were multi-coloured and split into zones. (FIFA were asked to consider that some years ago. If it helped Sevco in any way the Scottish media would be all for it, so watch this space.)
Scottish football needs a strong media, as much as our media appears to need a strong Sevco.
It’s nonsense like the stuff McCann is running out today that reminds us – as if we need it – that we’re about a million miles away from having one. Our press are a joke. Our “standard of journalism” continues to not only scrape the bottom of the barrell but bore right through it.
Thank God for the Internet Bampots.
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