The Old Firm derby is one of the most fierce in world football. Great for its colour, noise and passion, there is a downside side to the rivalry, which all too often rears its ugly head.
Yesterday was the latest installment in a long running sectarian saga as the Celtic players were subject to obscene abuse outside Ibrox.
A contingent of Rangers fans had flouted coronavirus measures to gather at the stadium and welcome the team buses. When the Celtic players disembarked and walked towards the main entrance, a number of people approached them and launched into a tirade of anti-Catholic and anti-Irish abuse.
Celtic were of course founded by Irish Catholic immigrants, primarily for the suffering Irish community in Glasgow. Such behaviour has no place in the 21st century and must be eradicated.
Cleaning up the problem will be no easy task, indeed such attitudes have been prevalent amongst a contingent of supporters for decades.
Over 30 years since these attitudes were on display among some at Ibrox, yesterday’s shameful episode showed up they haven’t gone away. If the sentiments expressed were about Jews or Muslims there would be a huge outcry. pic.twitter.com/YGT7FkCeBa
— Lisbon Lion (@Tirnaog10) January 3, 2021
The disgraceful scenes before the game overshadowed what was a great footballing occasion, and detracted from what should have been a day of celebration for Rangers fans. The ‘Gers went 19 points clear at the top of the table with a 1-0 victory. In the eyes of most followers of the Scottish game, they now have one hand on the SPFL trophy.