There was once a time when the Old Firm derby was feted as the “best derby on the planet”.

I’m usually loathe to use the term Old Firm, because as far as I’m concerned, like most other Celtic fans, that title died alongside the old club that played out of Ibrox.

So effectively, the Old Firm derby died in 2012.

When the rivalry was resurrected in 2015, it was not titled, by any media outlet at that time, as the Old Firm derby.

Steve  Welsh/Getty Images Sport

So, out of the ashes of the Old Firm derby, the Glasgow derby was born.

The resurrection of the Old Firm came in tandem with the survival lie.

But that’s a story for another day, and one which I’ve written about before.

Today, I want to focus on the deconstruction of a derby.

A deconstruction which has led to the destruction of the biggest selling point of our game.

In Spain, El Classico is considered one of the best and most intense rivalries in world football.

Alex Caparros/Getty Images Sport

Like our own derby, it’s intensity is very much formed on the politics and beliefs of Real Madrid supporters and Barcelona supporters.

It is one of the biggest selling points of La Liga.

Do you think or imagine that the Spanish Football federation or the LNFP would stand for this product being diluted, reduced or tampered with in any way?

I think you know the answer to this.

Then again, both governing bodies in Spain are highly professional.

Over the years, the rivalry between Liverpool and Manchester United has been one of the most intense out there.

It has, however, become less intense in the last few years due to the retirement of Alex Ferguson and the massive influx of television money into the English game.

Clive Brunskill/Getty Images Sport

Money seems to be taking the passion out of the game south of the border.

Having said that, do you think the FA or the EPL would stand for this product being tampered with in any way?

You know the answer here too.

Since the 2017/18 season, there has been a steady decline in the quality of the Scottish game’s best product.

This has not been orchestrated by Celtic, the SFA or the SPFL.

While Celtic are not an authority in our game, the SFA and the SPFL are.

Yet they have stood idly by and allowed the complete deconstruction of our best product to be carried out by the Ibrox side.

As it has steadily declined over the last 5 years or so, they have done nothing to halt this slide.

Nor have the mainstream sports media.

They, as always, have tried to implicate Celtic in this as much as the Ibrox side.

None of this is down to Celtic.

Not one single facet of this situation can be laid at our door.

Well, if you want to blame us for winning too much at Ibrox, then maybe you can lay some of the fault at our door?

Because that’s the only crime we have committed in this situation.

The simple reality here is that the Ibrox side became sick of being handed their arses on a plate on a regular basis when we came to their ground.

They could not handle the spectacle of 7,000 of our fans celebrating our victories at their ground.

It was the ultimate humiliation.

Christopher Furlong/Getty Images Sport

So, under the guise of prioritising their valued supporters, and supposedly making more season tickets available to them, they effectively locked Celtic fans out of Ibrox.

In reality, the Ibrox side are sore losers, they always have been.

Having loss after loss at home rubbed into their faces by 7,000 gloating Celtic fans just became too much.

Step one in the deconstruction of the Glasgow Derby, was to only offer Celtic 700 tickets to attend matches at Ibrox going forward.

10% of the original allocation.

This gave Celtic no option but to follow suit.

The intensity of the supporter rivalry was diluted and dialled down several notches due to the lack of a sizeable away support.

Like or not, the mixture of both supports at each ground made this fixture.

This is clearly evident when we meet each other in the cup competitions.

Both sets of fans realise this and the ordinary fan on the street, whether they’re of a Celtic or an Ibrox persuasion, pines for a return to the old derby format.

Yet it continues to deteriorate.

The SFA and the SPFL continue to do nothing.

In the last year or so, well documented incidents which have compromised the safety of both Celtic staff and supporters, have occurred with frightening frequency.

Glass in Joe Hart’s goalkeeping area.

Celtic physio Daniel Friel had his head split open by a glass bottle.

Celtic supporters getting glass bottles and cups full of piss rained down on top of them.

Weapons hidden within Ibrox with the intention of using them on Celtic supporters.

Yet the SFA and the SPFL would not step in.

Celtic were left with no choice but to take action themselves and refuse their ticket allocation from Ibrox, citing fan and staff safety as their rationale behind this decision.

Prior to this, Celtic had tried to reach an agreement to return to a full 7,000 ticket allocation for the Broomloan end.

Mark Runnacles/Getty Images Sport

The belief was that safety in numbers would ensure a much better atmosphere and fan experience.

The Ibrox side refused.

Step two in the deconstruction of the Glasgow Derby was complete.

Celtic were left with no choice but to refuse to offer 800 tickets to the Ibrox support.

As a result, no away fans were now permitted to attend the Glasgow Derby at Ibrox or Celtic Park.

This has completely destroyed the derby as a spectacle.

Ian MacNicol/Getty Images Sport

The atmosphere has become totally flat at these games.

The away team has no support to drive them on.

A once great fan rivalry is now a shadow of what it used to be.

The new entity from Ibrox cannot cheat like the old one.

But it will use whatever tactic it can to gain an advantage.

Most sentient people know that they will firmly rely on a hateful home support to drive them on in two home fixtures next season.

A full season of no away support at any League derbies next season will further diminish this product.

Yet the SFA and the SPFL will continue to do nothing about it.

They have allowed our biggest selling point to be destroyed.

We can no longer say we have the best derby on the planet, and our authorities gave it up without so much as a whimper.

You would not see this kind of behaviour in any other league in Europe.

Yet in Scotland, it is deemed as completely normal.

Because one team wants it that way.

And it isn’t Celtic.