While I was trawling through the papers today, I came across an article in the Sun from a couple of days ago.
It was in relation to John Reid’s time as chairman of Celtic between 2007 and 2011.
Reid was not the most popular chairman to have taken that position at Celtic, his political leanings and his endorsement of the war on Iraq made him deeply disliked by some sections of the support.
Having said that, he was replaced by someone who will probably go down in history as the most ineffectual Celtic chairman of all time.
When asked what his most cherished memory as a Celtic supporter was, Ian Bankier was incapable of providing an answer.
So ineffectual was Bankier, some people reading this blog might not even remember him.
I often struggled to even remember he was there.
On occasion, I’d see him appear at a press conference and I’d say to myself, “Jesus, Ian Bankier, is he still there?”
During the bulk of his tenure, it was the C.E.O. who called all the shots.
The man who now has his job, of course.
And I think we’re all acutely aware of Peter Lawwell’s presence in the building once again.
Board lovers think the likes of myself view him as some sort of pantomime villain.
Believe me, I view him as something much more serious than that.
Peter Lawwell represents everything that holds Celtic in stasis.
Everything that prevents our club from moving forward.
And as long as he is chairman of Celtic, nothing will change.
Which brings me back to John Reid.
At our recent AGM, when questioned about the current record breaking run the Ibrox side is on when it comes to the concession of penalties, Peter Lawwell and C.E.O. Michael Nicholson thought it was appropriate to joke about the situation.
Don’t get me wrong, I enjoy a good laugh as much as the next guy.
I’d even go so far as to say their attempts at stand up were actually quite amusing.
But that’s not the point.
What is the point, is the fact they pretty much chose to ignore the real issue at hand, and that’s the fact that the Ibrox side have gone 70 games without conceding a penalty in the league.
Such is the extent of the controversy this run is causing, that some in the SMSM have broken ranks to actually speak truthfully about it.
BBC journalist, Richard Gordon, wrote a compelling piece on it in the Press and Journal on the 2nd of December.
It has been well covered by many a blogger besides me, so I don’t need to go into much more detail on it.
If you haven’t read it yet, you can use the link provided above to access it.
My own personal opinion and that of Joe McHugh, is that he edges towards the full story, but then pulls up short.
Joe believes it’s a decent start, a small step forward.
As Celtic fans, we have learned never to rely on the SMSM to provide us with the real stories in Scottish football.
The REAL controversies.
Strangely enough though, we’ve also learned never to rely on our board to tackle these issues head on.
Put simply, if they weren’t willing to tackle the events of 2012 head on, they’re sure as hell not going to tackle something as minor as the Ibrox side rarely having a penalty given against them.
Their attitude is, we keep winning, so this isn’t an issue.
That’s all well and good, as long as we keep winning.
What happens if we don’t?
In 2012, it was discovered that the Ibrox side had an unfair advantage by fielding improperly registered players through the unlawful EBT scheme.
Players they could not have otherwise afforded if they had to pay the correct taxes on their earnings.
This allowed them to compete with us, and win titles they should not have won.
They won 3 titles in a row during this period.
I’ll put this in plain language, if you are safe in the knowledge that you will rarely, if ever, concede a penalty, is that not an unfair advantage to your team?
Nobody else in the Scottish Premiership is afforded this advantage.
In fact, every other side in the Scottish Premiership suffers because of this unfair advantage.
Our board, who see this as some sort of joke, are not willing to question it.
John Reid was willing to question referee Dougie McDonald’s decision to rescind a penalty he had given to Celtic in 2010 against Dundee United.
So incensed was Reid by this decision, that he demanded McDonald be sacked.
Not only did he demand his sacking, he also went after the SFA.
Here is the account of what happened:
The situation intensified after assistant ref Craven told the press that he and the other officials on the day had lied to Celts boss Neil Lennon about what led to the decision being overturned.
McDonald had told the referee’s observer that Craven had drawn his attention by shouting “Dougie, Dougie” into his earpiece, the version events that was included in the official report.
But Craven disputed that he’d initiated the discussion leading to the penalty being overturned and ended up resigning.
A war of words ensued, and then SFA head of refereeing Hugh Dallas was even forced to deny being involved in a cover-up regarding what took place at Tannadice.
Reid called for a full scale review of the SFA itself in the wake of the whole controversy – and insisted that McDonald could no longer continue as a referee.
He was quoted as saying: “If the SFA had any sense of their own integrity, they should look at it again,” said Dr Reid.
“His position is completely untenable. The SFA’s position on this issue is also untenable.”
Following an investigation, which proved that McDonald had lied through his teeth in relation to his actions leading up to the penalty being overturned, the gutless SFA deemed he’d ultimately reached the correct decision.
Of course he had.
He got away with just a warning.
But John Reid’s actions at the time proved he was willing to take the SFA on.
He wouldn’t stand for bullshit.
At the time of writing, the farce still continues at Ibrox today, after Kevin Clancy awarded the home side with yet another penalty.
No prizes for guessing what for….
Yes, another shirt pulling incident.
Which VAR Steven Kirkland reckoned was worth another look.
That’s now 8 penalties awarded to them in 5 games.
If you thought the fact they’re having none given against them was suspicious, you should be getting even more worried about how many they’re getting awarded.
Especially with them due to come to Celtic park in 3 week’s time.
But in our board’s eyes, there’s nothing to worry about.
It’s all great for a bit of banter and a laugh.
Meanwhile, nobody asks any questions about the fact they never concede any penalties, or the fact that James Tavernier has now scored 60 of them since joining, including 8 in the last 5 games.
Maybe if John Reid was our chairman, questions would be asked?
What’s it going to take for people to actually start asking serious questions?
A dubious penalty which decides the outcome of the upcoming derby?
Or a blatant foul in the box, but no penalty awarded, which denies Celtic the opportunity of a win?
Because there is a very real danger of that happening now.
Simply because nobody has asked any questions up to this point.
When you see the referee and the Video Assistant referee for this next derby, which will no doubt be specially selected by the SFA, then you’ll see the clear and present danger.
There’s almost an air of inevitability about it because the warning signs have been ignored up to this point.
Ibrox supporting referees know they can get away with this now.
Do you think they won’t jump at the opportunity to continue that trend on the 30th?
And if they do, do you think Peter Lawwell or Michael Nicholson will do anything about it?
Don’t hold your breath.
They’ll probably just laugh the whole thing off.
Nothing to see here.
Move along now.
Make no mistake, we’re gone beyond the point of farcical now.
It’s just blatant.
And everybody sees it but our board.
Oh, they see it alright, but they just choose to ignore it.
John Reid would not have ignored it.
But that’s what we’re reduced to now.
Wishing we had a chairman who would actually call out bullshit when he sees it.
We can dream on.