Desperate Measures to Stop The Ten – The Battle Lines have been Drawn

“If we have to resort to these sort of tactics to become competitive over the course of a season against Celtic then we fully expect the footballing authorities to do their duty and act accordingly.

“A blind eye should be turned and we don’t expect to have to defend our players so publicly in the aftermath of games. The referees decision must at all times be upheld, unless of course he got it wrong at which stage we expect the compliance team to accept our robust tactics should not be undermined as to lead to Celtic gaining an unfair advantage by simply having better players and said decisions should then be overturned at the earliest opportunity.

“Next season Celtic intend to try and win their 9th consecutive title, we expect everyone to do their footballing duty and support us in our struggle to stop this footballing travesty from occurring.”

A statement from the Rangers didn’t say last night.

They might not have said it but the Jon Flanagan yellow/red/2 game ban/no ban situation is in my opinion the start of what Celtic will face next season as the go for the 9.

Just imagine what is ahead if we get that 9th title and proceed towards the 10.

Celtic have already been quoted across media as calling the whole issue a “huge embarrassment for Scottish football” after Jon Flanagan performed a Houdini act to avoid a two game ban for an elbow on Celtic captain Scott Brown during Sunday’s Glasgow Derby.

Flanagan received a yellow card during the game but a retrospective ban was issued and the offence deemed violent conduct when reviewed by Clare Whyte the SFA Compliance Officer. The Rangers then challenged that decision and as such an independent panel was convened who then rather strangely dismissed the case.

(Clare Whyte is the subject of an online petition to have her removed from post with her schooling background, just as has happened with Willie Collum, being brought into this sectarian motivated intimidation).


And the Rangers without even a red neck on show then added to the whole story with their own wee caveat, it would appear designed as a warning shot to the original decision makers.

An Ibrox spokesman said with a straight face, “Obviously we have concerns about the process but we are happy that the correct decision has been upheld.”


Aye really. You couldn’t mark that lot with a blow torch.

Listen I’m not going to get into the ins and outs of the decision itself as it’s all be done to death and I’m fairly sickened by the embarrassing nature of it all. You can read more about it on The Celtic Star in this unmissable article below:

Not Fit for Purpose, SFA – ‘We’re a laughing stock,’ BFDJ, ‘It’s a pantomime now’

What we need to be looking at is how we handle ourselves as we move on. We need to be aware that this outcome is battle lines being drawn.

The Ibrox club have tried spending big on a manager and players, in particular in the January transfer window where they sensed an opportunity to pounce following their home win on 29 December.


What they didn’t count on was the rejuvenated way Celtic bounced back from this post Winter break via Dubai.

Celtic added a couple of bodies to the squad and their youthful pace and exuberance combined with a rested squad was like a shot of adrenaline to the title challenge and quest for the Scottish Cup.

Like a Derby winner rounding Epsom’s Tattenham corner, they found the extra gear that the thorough-breds often will when the finishing post is in sight. The Celts flew for home leaving their challengers in their wake slowing only momentarily at the furlong pole to soak up the praise raining down from the stands. Like a jockey lifting himself in his stirrups his whip in the air as he met the eyes of his backers, the title was won.

The Rangers it would appear are trying to manipulate and gain what they can to match us over the course of a season. They are now trying and achieving influence and advantage in matters of footballing governance, they want this weapon in their armoury.


It’s a Royal Blue version of marginal gains. This is their equivalent of steward inquiries being called for the smallest of offences in the hope the stewards will be intimidated and overturn the result.

They have spent a fortune in chasing our tails, they’ve failed miserably and know that spending alone, even if it is sustained may not be enough. Are they are scared by this? Are they now getting dirty?

Such visits to the steward’s room will be commonplace next season and we need to be ready to vigorously defend our club.

We’ve already had to use a Q.C to get a ridiculous trumped up charge overturned against Scott Brown as the authorities seemed to try and level the charges levied, when really what happened was the Rangers lost all discipline in Celtic’s 2-1 win at Celtic Park.


Instead of trying to address such a shocking disciplinary record they are trying to legitimise their use of these tactics.

The Celtic players can do their bit and they will. They’ll win their games. However when incident’s occur where our players are assaulted and the aggressor goes unpunished we need to be ready.


The Celtic board and management need to highlight injustices and call for the protection of our players, we cannot be seen to be silent when advantages are trying to be gained to undermine our progress.

The battle lines drawn now say by foul means or fair they intend to challenge on every front possible. We cannot assume now that honesty and endeavour on the football field will prevail. This Flanagan incident is evidence it will not be enough.

Peter Lawwell and the Celtic board need to have their eye on their ball in every game also. We need to be sure we are being treated equitably and fairly and when we are not we need to stand up publicly and shine a light on any of these attempted ‘marginal gains’.

Make no mistake this aggression will soon turn to desperation as we march towards the 9 and the 10. Desperate men will go to desperate measure to succeed.

If we thought it was bad before it will be nothing like what Celtic will face next season and the following campaign, this is just a taster. I expect it to be brutal on and off the park as favours are called in and they try everything in their powers to influence and engineer their way to closing the gap.

I think we can deal with it on the park, we have this season. As Jock Sten said “if you’re good enough the referee doesn’t matter”.

But off the park we need to be on the front foot we need to have our own Boardroom tactics ready to take on the Blue room.

The players haven’t been found wanting for 8 consecutive years. They’ve won their battles now I’m expecting the Celtic Board to stand up, be counted and fight our corner.

To quote Mr Stein again “Celtic Jerseys are not for second best, they don’t shrink to fit inferior players”.

Let’s hope this is the same for club suits and ties.

Niall J

About Author

The Celtic Star founder and editor, who has edited numerous Celtic books over the past decade or so including several from Lisbon Lions, Willie Wallace, Tommy Gemmell and Jim Craig. Earliest Celtic memories include a win over East Fife at Celtic Park and the 4-1 League Cup loss to Partick Thistle as a 6 year old. Best game? Easy 4-2, 1979 when Ten Men Won the League. Email

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