Even if the Celtic Board have had nothing to say on yet another controversy that impacts the club, the Celtic support and the club’s fan media including The Celtic Star have not been slow in reacting to the outrageous double standards from the Scottish Government this week.
I was driving today when I heard Nicola Sturgeon talk about how her Government and the other devolved Governments in Wales and Northern Ireland should not be treated differently to England with regard to the furlough scheme. Few listening who had any knowledge of Scottish football would have failed to appreciate the massive double standards in this after her Government came out earlier this week to COMMEND theRangers after at least two of their players broke the Covid protocols at the weekend.
We reported on the anger from within the club on Monday evening but only had a quote from an unnamed source to give you. No-one was on the record on this one, until today. Step forward Neil Francis Lennon.
Celtic and indeed Aberdeen don’t expect any favours from the Scottish Government or any other relevant authority. But they do expect fair treatment and for any rule or decision to be consistent and apply to any other club the way it applied to the two clubs whose had players who breached Covid regulations without their clubs backs – Aberdeen players went on a pub crawl and one Celtic player, Boli Bolingoli sneaked off to Spain for an overnight rendezvous with a woman acquaintance.
Neither club, as employers, were aware of these indiscretions but both were severely punished by Nicola Sturgeon who dramatically produced a yellow card so she could speak to Scottish football in language we’d all understand. One more breach and she’d be reaching for a red card.
When at least two Rangers players attended a party at the weekend – the papers reckon that it was on Sunday night – and at two were issued with fixed penalty notices from Police Scotland.
So by the time we found out about this early on Monday morning it was clear that theRangers, like Celtic and Aberdeen had found out after the fact that their employees – professional football players – had broken the existing protocols.
Celtic and Aberdeen, despite having no culpability whatsoever, were immediately punished by the yellow card waving First Minister. Yet incredibly the Scottish Government instead of dishing out similar and consistent punishment to the Ibrox club, decided instead to COMMEND them for their handling of the situation.
So if the Celtic Board have been mute on this matter Neil Lennon has not. “We commend Rangers for taking such swift and decisive action in this instance, to protect the rest of their squad and wider public,” is a quote from the Scottish Government statement on the Rangers players breaching the protocols, at a time when the numbers of cases and the number of deaths are much higher than when the Celtic player and Aberdeen players acted equally as irresponsibly.
“I can’t comment on what theRangers boys did,” the Celtic manager said, as reported by Scottish Sun.
“What I can comment on is the reaction from the government, which I find bewildering considering the way they treated us after the Bolingoli incident.
“There seems to be double standards as far as we’re concerned. You’d need to ask the Government about that. The comments from their spokesperson, I found strange to say the least.
“We as a club did and I’m sure our supporters did as well. I’m not happy about it. We were thrown under the bus.
“We were subjected to, ‘Privileged footballers, yellow card’ and blah, blah, blah. We have been treated in one way and other clubs have been treated another by the Government. That’s unacceptable from our point of view.”
Many Celtic Supporters see the actions of the Scottish Government this week on what is in the scheme of things a minor incident, as a major own goal for the SNP. All Celtic and indeed Aberdeen expect is for all clubs to be treated fairly and in a consistent manner.
And don’t forget the rules are rule brigade in a Scottish Government department prevented Ryan Christie playing in the recent Glasgow Derby against theRangers despite Kieran Tierney being cleared to play for Arsenal.
When Nicola Sturgeon involved herself in Scottish football by postponing two Celtic and Aberdeen games as a punishment or a warning to others she laid down a marker. Her yellow card stunt was meant to get her message across in a way that football would understand. Today Celtic have a similar message for the First Minister – your Government has just scored an OWN GOAL.