Remember those Aribo to Celtic, Connell to Rangers stories? Does the tail wag the dog?

WE ARE all used to it by now. Anyone who reads the Scottish football media during the transfer window will know that one of their most loved tropes is the ‘Rangers [sic]pip Celtic to [insert any player they sign]signature’.

Now, it’s not as if I’m sitting here crying into my cornflakes about this stuff, but I just find it astounding. And while I’m not making light of genuine totalitarianism, this endeavour of the Scottish football media to upkeep the delusion that the Rangers (2012) are beating us to signings reeks of the kind of cognitive dissonance that you find in authoritarian and totalitarian systems. Where entirely invented non-realities and superficial narratives that serve organised agendas are maintained and perpetuated, very effectively, by the media.

No, I’m not saying we live under a totalitarian system, but some of the techniques used by the media come straight from that playbook. It’s much more instinctive in this country and this concerns football and not mass social manipulation as you get in genuinely totalitarian or authoritarian polities, but the comparison with totalitarianism concerns the ubiquity of it all – the ceaseless pushing of these narratives across a broad spectrum of outlets.

Forget total football, this is totalitarian football. They attempt, often successfully, to turn fiction into ‘popular belief’.

Those who find this stuff fascinating will have known for a while that the media claim, repeated multiple different times by multiple different outlets (it was ubiquitous and has become accepted among the media and less discerning consumers), regarding Celtic losing out on Aribo to the Rangers (2012) was nonsense.

There was never any indication from Celtic that we were interested in Aribo, while his former manager at Charlton stated quite clearly that the only other club that had made a solid query about him was Brentford. Now Aribo himself has let slip that Celtic’s interest in him was entirely non-existent. He has confirmed that Celtic were never interested in him.

So the same outlets who have been banging on about how Sevco gloriously beat us to the signing of Aribo are now all doing u-turns all over the place, pretending as if it wasn’t them who cooked up this rubbish to begin with.

In very brief fairness to the media, there is every possibility that the Ibrox club’s PR squad are simply making this stuff up and feeding it to all-too-willing newspaper hacks. We all know of the history of Scottish football ‘journalists’ and their tendency to take any info that emanates from Ibrox as gospel unworthy of journalistic or even just mildly critical scrutiny.

In fact, forget the ‘PR squad’ and perfectly willing little journalist henchmen, Slippy Gerrard himself peddled the ‘Celtic wanted Aribo’ lie in one of his little deranged press conferences. Whether he was basing that on what the media were writing or whether he was basing it on the misinformation concocted by their PR team were saying is impossible to discern.

Does the tail wag the dog?

The People like to call us paranoid, but this entire narrative is explicitly anti-Celtic. There is a concrete example of how this is so. Way back at the beginning of silly season, the Rangers were linked with a specific player. He was young. Exciting. Attracting EPL interest and was scouse.

His name was Luca Connell.

Go onto Google and do the necessary searching, you’ll find Connell was linked by the media to the Rangers before he was linked to us.

Now, I have absolutely no idea if the Rangers (2012) were ever seriously interested in Luca Connell, but, by the media’s own standards, here you had a literal and concrete case of us signing a player that the media claimed the Rangers (2012) were interested in. Where were all the articles about how Celtic had ‘beaten’, ‘pipped’ etc the Rangers (2012) to the signature of Connell? Where were the questions about this in yesterday’s Media Conference with Luca Connell who will make his Celtic debut today against Rennes? Watch his Media Conference below.

You won’t find any. Not one. Not one question to Connell about why he chose Celtic over the Rangers (2012). None of the rubbish that has been spouted about our entirely false pursuit of Aribo has been applied to our signing of Luca Connell.

The reason you won’t find any of this stuff regarding Connell or any signing made by Celtic is because, shock horror, there appears to be a leading core, an advanced guard if you will, of ‘journalists’ in Scotland who have an obvious and pathological dislike of Celtic and/or a conviction to constantly portray our club in a negative light – almost always to the benefit of the Rangers outfit, formed in you’ve guessed it, 2012.

In a country determined, to some extent, by ethnoreligious chauvinism, it’s hardly a huge surprise that many of the hacks that comprise our hyper-Unionist, British-loving media want their beloved Queen’s 11 to rule the waves again against the Celtic upstarts. Not every journalist, pundit or writer, of course. But a significant little cabal.

The Aribo-Connell contrast proves this. It’s pathetic.


Sam is a regular contributor on Celtic Noise, the friendly fans forum where all Celtic Supporters are welcome. Signing up is quick and easy so why not join in the Celtic chat today?

Sam has given us a Google Challenge – search Luca Connell and Rangers there is plenty of articles linking the now young Celtic Star to the Ibrox club. This from Scottish Sun on 19 May...

“Rangers among clubs ‘interested in Bolton’ starlet Luca Connell with Norwich and Southampton also keen. The 18-year-old made 12 appearances for the cash-strapped outfit and is likely to leave following their relegation…” and there are many others too. Check it out for yourselves.

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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