Sunday, April 6, 2014
Fun at the fitba with Leigh Griffiths and The Rangers!
Scottish football has been all shook up but some things have stayed just the way they always were. Such as... Rangers fans bringing violence and aggression to another city. A Celtic player indulging in dumb but dodgy politics. On the bright side, Raith Rovers have won more games at Easter Road in 2014 than Hibs have and one of them was against a Rangers' side who were marginally less violent than their fans outside.
With Rangers, you know where you are. They don't just have some dodgy fans, they have them in the thousands. At least. As I've mentioned before though, some teams and their fans see themselves as occupying a moral highground when it comes to attitudes to bigotry and racism. Celtic and Hibs are probably the proudest wearers of the golden halos in Scottish football.
Having moronic fans is one thing but having highly-paid professional players indulging in anti-social and racist behaviour is another. Celtic have been here before with Scott Brown's infamous fotie-op with the SDL. Hibs have been there with Derek Riordain and Leigh Griffiths. Now Celtic have Leigh Griffiths on their hands.
What will they do? Both clubs make a lot of their origins as clubs formed by immigrant refugees. To have a major first team player singing anti-refugee songs in a pub with racist fans of another team must surely see his ass exiting the door.
Some Celtic fans such as Glasgow-born Phil MacGiollaBháin make much of the bigotry of others. Is racism only unacceptable when aimed at those who claim Irish descent? MacGiollaBháin condemns Griffiths but only makes a meek demand that Celtic 'take him on about it'. As observed, Griffiths has form on the racist front and seems to find it difficult to keep out of trouble in other areas too.
Sadly, if Celtic do let Griffiths go, it seems as if many Hibs' fans are only too willing to take him on again. Most Hibs fans on the Hibs Net forum condemn his behaviour but seem to happy to take back a prolific goalscorer. This isn't much of a moral highground.
Scottish football has progressed though a significant minority still shit in their own backyard.
In recent years, I've started attending Hearts' games again after a long absence, mainly to support the club that became the local team of my Irish and Catholic great-grandmother and her sons. At first, the cross-community aspect of the Hearts' support was a joy to behold. I can remember the bad old days when significant numbers of fans would shout or sing songs that were offensive in one way or another. But here were fans of all colours presenting a genuine cross-section of the Gorgie Dalry community with many Asian, Eastern European and Chinese Scots. There were also families and more women in attendance than I remember years back.
Unfortunately, at my next derby game I was forced to confront a pair of fat and ageing bigots who repeatedly shouted anti-Irish abuse at the Hibs' players. There's always one or two dickheads who spoil the party. I later heard from a Hibs' fan that one or two of their supporters had shouted 'Paki bastard' at Hearts' Mehdi Taouill - a French Moroccan.
Fighting racism will be a never ending battle. There will always be someone who feels the need to impinge on the freedom of others. What matters is how we deal with it.
Paying a racist ned a small fortune just because he can score goals does not deal with it. If education is the answer then a spell of unemployment will give him the message.