Rangers fans celebrated wildly after the club won their 55th league title on Sunday, but the Scottish Government appears ready to hang us out to dry…
I was a bit hesitant to write about this topic, truth be told. One year of COVID-19 restrictions down the line and you’ll get a bit tired of writing about it, as much as I’m sure you get tired of hearing about it. Indeed we’ve covered it on Inside Ibrox many times this last 12 months on topics ranging from impact on European fixtures to laughing at Celtic about their post-Old Firm-drubbing Dubai bender. Little has changed in Scotland since then, except for the most recent name on the Premiership trophy.
With Rangers winning their 55th title, a world record no less, and stopping the Hoops from completing their much trumped 10 in a row, you’d expect there to be just a bit of celebration going on. I’m not making excuses here, it’s perfectly normal and natural for any club’s supporters to show public signs of well, support. Celtic fans themselves enjoyed a good riot or two while sitting between in the denial and anger stages of grief.
Bears have had to suffer a decade of humiliation, of not being able to fly the flag and wear the colours, to sing the songs with a loud and proud voice. We’ve been beaten down, literally, by the government and the system which failed us just as much as the owners. So for those in light blue this past Sunday, meeting in defiance of social distancing measures in Glasgow, this was an outpouring of relief and emotion – the light in the darkest tunnel imaginable.
I’m not defending it, it certainly was a break of lockdown, but one boozy night of celebration that was totally predictable and would happen with any club in any country should necessitate the usual verbal slap of the wrists and we move on. The SNP, of course, are having none of it.
Now it’s not my style to call into question the motives of a government who handed Celtic the title over Zoom last season, despite them not actually winning it. Further, though it’s not outside the realms of imagination, I definitely won’t bring up the fact this storm in a teacup appears to be timed coincidentally to push ongoing stories of SNP sexual misconduct down the front pages. You feel free to draw your own conclusions on those topics.
Today, Deputy First Minister John “the hills have eyes” Swinney, a man unquestionably with more on his head than in it, has reigned in SFA and SPFL chiefs for crisis talks regarding the Old Firm match in a few weeks. All this done in light of the weekend’s events. Mere threats of further action, it appears, were not the end of the story.
Let’s not beat around the bush here, this is a serious overreaction by any metric and even worse when one considers who it’s coming from. This government is so quick to condemn Rangers, yet the Scottish people are wondering why the reactions seem much slower on the vaccination program and on a return to normal life. Scotland is being left behind because the SNP are focusing their energies on punishing football fans, especially Rangers fans, while other parts of the UK fly ahead with vaccinations and ending the lockdown.
Make no mistake, the Gers are the scapegoat here regardless of for what reason. One boozy night of celebrations and it will be hung above us that, somehow, we are to blame for the Coronavirus pandemic restrictions loosening at a slower rate than the British norm. Maybe we shouldn’t have given them the ammo, but to take it out on the club blaming even Steven Gerrard himself, and threatening our remaining fixtures, beggars belief.
People got up out of their homes on their own, if John Swinney and his ilk thought for a second even one Bear less would have been in St George’s Square – had James Tavernier himself phoned round asking them to stay home – he’d be wrong. This title win was about so much more than just winning the title. It transcends football and sport, it’s vindication, deliverance and a ray of light in the darkness of COVID. That’s something worth celebrating and something worth writing about.