Saturday, March 31, 2012

Eyes trained on Traynor

It was revealed on @homebhoys on Wednesday, by @machrie72, that Jim Traynor had effectively been demoted at the Daily Record recently. No one on the panel had any idea of this and it was a great scoop. To have the mouthpiece of Murray gone would be a big coup indeed and you'd think, given the ongoing revelations from Ibrox, it would be justified. Problem is, it's not strictly true, although there's no way @machrie72 could have known this at the time, because Traynor is now becoming a bigger enemy of Celtic.

Traynor wanted to leave the Record but they wanted him to stay so badly that they offered him an incredible deal. No longer will he have to deal with the mundane side of management, the paper work and so on. The day to day stuff has gone but he still gets paid the same and he now has more time to work in the broadcast media and develop his own projects, such as the look at Scottish football that was recently on the BBC.

Far from being demoted, Traynor still has all his power just without the hasssle and this can be dangerous for us.

Cast your mind back to his "I'm a bigger Rangers man than you are" spat with Chick Young. That's the kind of mindset with more time on his hands and just as much power. Of course Traynor and the Record do not want you to know this but be under no illusions, Traynor's stock at the Record has risen a lot recently as his Rangers "exclusives" were a huge hit for the paper.

So everyone in The Celtic Universe be away, Traynor has not left the table containing succulent lamb just yet.

Friday, March 30, 2012

Planet Scotland

There was a despairing air around a lot of people I know today when the verdict came on the trial that involved an attempt to kill our manager. The fact is after the attempted murder aspect was dropped, and the hate crime motive was barely mentioned, most people now saw a guilty verdict as pointless.

I've thought about where Scotland is going a lot recently. I believe the people of Scotland are going to vote for independence in October 2014. I believe this will happen for two reason, The Tory Party have enforced the notion that they couldn't give a toss about the Scots(and many others) and Alex Salmond is the best politician in Scotland by a mile.

I should say I am not a supprter of the SNP nor have I ever voted for them. In fact I've voted for only two people in my life, Willie Black(Socialist) on numerous occasions and Margo MacDonald(Independent) once. The thing is that Scotland is on a course for independence, you can feel it, the old establishment has gone.

Or has it?

Right now, as a club, we feel under siege(again). It feels like Neil Lennon only has to say boo for every goose in the land to go nuts.Similary the kind of reporting that goes along side anything Neil says or does is comparable to that of someone like George Galloway. Words are twisted, dramas turned into crisis and a sense of deep hatred seems apparent from quite a lot of people any time his name is metnioned.

I'd like to think that in an independent Scotland that this will change. No one will be demonised for their beliefs, no one will be allowed prominent platforms in the press to spout hate and every culture will be embraced. The thing is, on the whole,  most Scots people I encounter are absolutely brilliant folk, love a laugh, don't take themselves too seriously and would do anything for anyone. That said there is a sinister element in Scotland that influences a lot of facets of the establishment and, although nowhere near as powerful as it used to be, it's still there and still fighting.

Today's conclusion of the trial should make people think, what actually happened in this and how would I feel if it happened to me and mine? It should not be overlooked nor be about football rivalry. Football rivalry is me and my mate going at it back and forth on Twitter all day, seething about this, that and the other.

It's not about killing and maiming, and everyone should be allowed to express their own culture.

That's my hope for Planet Scotland.

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Time to wake up

I've stayed off the net since Sunday as to be honest it only raises the blood pressure. There are tons of things that annoy me post games like Sunday and I am going to get a few off my chest now. First of all, folk who re-tweet or quote Rangers fans, what is wrong with you? Why do you think anyone of a Celtic persuasion is is interested in anything they have to say? Don't you hear enough of their bile?

Secondly, does anyone seriously think we are ever going to be allowed to just cruise to a title? Where you been the last century? The establishment will try every trick in the book to derail us, don't you get that yet? Haven't you realised that we would be as well getting a man sent off in the tunnel at Ibrox such is the certainty of it happening now?

Also, see when officials are criticised, decisions they have made and so on, why do folk say "Aye but we were shite as well?" Don't you understand that it's pretty hard to play in an enviroment where you know you're being shafted? You honestly can't see any connection?

Of course teams can play badly, players can have off days, that's football, but the amount of tripe I've read and heard about Sunday is staggering and folk need to wake up, we were allowed to play from about 80 mins, after they had established a numerical advantage of two players and a three goal lead and guess what? We almost got a fucking draw out of it (and I firmly believe we would have had Calum Murray not rounded off a day of cheating by blowing far too early for full time)

Supporting Celtic is not about being all "right on" and cow-towing to folk in your work or boozer, it's about standing up for who we are and what we are all about. Last week we congratulated Kilmarnock on a win achieved fair and square, this week we need to be beside our manager and we need remember that no one outside Celtic Park wants us to win.

We are all Neil Lennon.

Thursday, March 22, 2012

When the nerves kick in



Just over two weeks to go to the Book Launch. The first batch of books are out to bloggers and journos alike and, so far, the response has been very positive. Of course you can never be fully confident and everyone knows if you tell someone 99 times that you love them and once that you hate them, most people respond with "Why do you hate me?"

I've been very grateful to shows like @oaocelticnews and @btwcelticshow for the platforms to plug my stuff vocally and @celticnetwork11 through written means. It is via these mediums that you try to get your message out the best you can. It does get easier. After I started writing again, the first show I was on was The LostBhoys, just over a year ago now, and there is absolutely no doubt that it changed my life. There is also absolutely no doubt that I was very nervous before it. Thankfully Chris McGuigan who does the interviews is very much a guy I relate to and he made me feel very comfortable.

When I did that show I had about 30 followers on Twitter, and at least 15 were hookers, within two days I had 150 and it just kept rising to what is now over 3000 which is overwhelming and very humbling. What it also does though is it helps you shape the work you are putting out. With instant feedback available you can find out what works, what doesn't and what folk want more of. With that in mind I already know what my next two projects will be. The first, out in November, will be a novel. It has a big Celtic theme in it and is a big leap for me. The second, this time next year, will be back to my more tradtional type of stuff. Then after that I intend to take a time out from writing books(hopefully just before you are all sick of me)

For now though, with the new book out on April 6th and the Book Launch on April 7th, the two things keep going round your head, will folk turn up to the Launch and will folk actually buy the book. There really is nothing more you can do other than promote them and hope for the best. I don't have mega publishing companies behind me or vast sums for advertising campaigns. What I do have though is some incredibly strong friends who help me immensely and without them, none of this would be possible.

I've spoken to lots of the Celtic Family in my life but in the last year probably more than ever. It gives you an energy source that can be used to create and I love it.  As I always say, stuff like this will never be universally embraced, which is why the folk who do embrace it mean the world to me.

And calm the nerves hopefully.

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

A long journey to Ibrox on Sunday

Good show on @homebhoys last night, very much beginning the healing process after Sunday's debacle. We have all been there before of course. We have all witnessed debacles that we thought we'd never come back from, my all time worst being Raith Rovers on November 27th 1994. I felt numb after that game, humilated. After Fergus had took over, this was supposed to be the start of the fight back and we had fallen at the first hurdle. In the semi final that year we took 38,000 supporters to the semi final v Aberdeen. This was after five years of winning nada, zilch, zip. So to do that and then win that game, only to lose to a first division side in the final, was truly horrific.

There have been many other debacles of course, and the closest to that Raith game, for me, would be Fir Park on May 22nd 2005. To this day I still do not know how we contrived to lose that game and that league. The thing that is common about debacles of this nature is that you'd give anything to be able to bounce back immediately from them. You're plunged into such despair and subjected to so much ridicule that you wou'd walk over broken glass to give all your detractors one big "Fuck you".

Well what do you know but we have that chance. On Sunday, we could win the league at Ibrox. I'll repeat that "Win the league at Ibrox" . Now on @homebhoys last night @harper1888 made the point that he did not want to win the league at Ibrox, he wanted it at home in front of as many of our supporters as possible. It's a fair point. There is though the historical edge to Sunday, we have not won a league at Ibrox since May 6th 1967, and pretty much every Celtic supporter alive wants revenge for May 2nd 1999 when Hugh Dallas delivered a title to his beloved. The only time in my life we have had the opportunity to win a league at Ibrox was May 14th 1983. Coincidentally this was the first time I ever attended Ibrox but at 2-0 down at half time, very little hope was given. Cue a memorable You'll Never Walk Alone and a stunning fight back that saw a 4-2 victory and, although the league was not won, that was the way to lose it.

So, there is a huge chance to lift the gloom on Sunday and if the players, especially the ones who took the afternoon off last Sunday, have anything about them at all, they will win the league at Ibrox on Sunday, regardless of results elsewhere, because part of our raison d'etre is to bury them at every opportunity.

And there's never been a better one.

Monday, March 19, 2012

Fair Play

Yesterday was an asbsolute sickener for everyone of a Celtic persuasion. By far the better team, by far the better chances yet we got beat. Whilst Willie Collum is as incompetent a ref as I've ever witnessed I don't believe he set out to cheat us, I just think he is absolutely hopeless at his job.

Credit to Kilmarnock, they had a game plan of eight men behind the ball for most of the game whilst to break with three men when in our half and it worked. Our front players allowed it to work by not working hard enough but still they got the goal, they won, fair play.

Fair play is somethig I thought about after the game, My attention was drawn to it by the Hearts-Hibs game earlier. See if the current situation in Scotland regarding Rangers has taught us anything it's that fair play has never been high on the agenda of Rangers or the SFA. Similarly if you are a Hibs supporter and are playing a team who won't pay the wages of their players, yet are allowed to sign the player who scores the crucial first goal against you, is it sour grapes to suggest that said player should not even be playing?

Fair play is an important aspect of Scottish football that has been lost by some clubs and organisations within it. Kilmarnock are not one of them, so fair play, again, to them for yesterday.

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Campbell's Soup

Andy Warhol once said that everyone would be famous for 15 minutes. Campbell Ogilvie has been famous at least that and infamous a lot longer. I first encoutered his name when it appeared on the bottom of Rangers tickets, hilariously as R.C. Ogilvie. At this time, when I first started to go to Ibrox(my first visit there was in May 1983) to watch Celtic Ogilvie sat on the Rangers board. He joined them in 1978 as general secretary and quickly scaled the heights required to get on at Rangers then namely that he didn't go against the policy of apartheid at Ibrox.

He was at Rangers until 2005 when he was eased out (why does thst scene in Goodfellas where they start finding bodies everywhere come to mind?) and it wasn't long before he was managing director of that other bastion of tolerance, Hearts.

All the while he was greasing the wheels of the SFA and when George Peat retired, Ogilvie took over as President of the SFA in June 2011.

This means of course that in the time period of the Employee Benefits Trust at Ibrox, Ogilvie had his hands on the purse. It also means that when the issue of "side contracts" was prevelant, Ogilvie had a rolled up trouser leg in both camps.

We learned today that STV have had two requests for interviews turned down, one directly from Ogilvie himself.

What does this all mean? Well we know Campbell is no soup taker, he's been up to his knees in it for as long as we can all remember.

The question remains though, did this employee benefit?

Monday, March 12, 2012

The Media Darlings

A good win for Celtic yesterday. Probably the hardest game we could have got and we took full advantage of the blatant thuggery of Robbie Neilsen. After spending, what felt like, days on the Megabus yesterday,  I got back in just in time for the Sportscene highlights and, as usual, the panel consisted of no one with anything to do with Celtic. Call me old fashioned but the two form teams in Scotland meeting in the quarter final of the Scottish Cup is the biggest game of the day isn't it? Not according to Sportscene. Paw Broon was wheeled out to sit along side Horace Nevin, probably to make Nevin look slightly less daft.

As they poured over the Motherwell-Aberdeen game very little was made of one of most shocking tackles I've ever seen. Keith Lasley tried to injure Fraser Fyvie. It was a horrible, disgusting tackle that should be punished further than the red card it did get. Cue Broon and Horace telling us all that Keith is a great guy, out of character and would never do that normally.

Seriously?

The lack of reality coming from most of the media in Scotland is astounding but not surprising. Most of their remit is to look after their own, that's why you'll see Lasley, like Steven Craigan, on Sportscene soon enough. That's why you'll see a desperate attempt to spin anything positive for Rangers fans. Same as Radio Scotland employing and giving platforms to people who time and again have been proven to be liars.

It was heart-warming to hear Neil Lennon tell that baffoon of a man Chris McGlaughlin why Celtic refused to speak to the media this week and there must be more of this. Too many media darlings can do whatever they want in Scotland and this culture is helping kill the game as a raft of nepotism and negativity engulfs the media but not in the game.

See one thing the media won't highlight was the singing at Fir Park yesterday. From the Motherwell end we heard "Champions League, when Rangers die" and from the Aberdeen end "Shagging a sheep, when Rangers die"

Now there's a bit reality.

Saturday, March 10, 2012

No hiding place for cheats

There seems to be a growing campaign to ensurre Rangers are punished as little as possible for what is now a mountain of cheating and illegality. A media in Scotland with no real clue what is going on, other than it being bad for Rangers so bad for them, have started to get on message in the last few days, the main culprits being the BBC with Liam McLeod and Chris McGlaughlin chief licksplittles. Tweeting constant propaganda will only get them so far.

I've little doubt that the SFA are as cuplable in all this, they turned a blind eye to the shenanigans for years, as they did with the policy of apartheid at Ibrox as well, and now Stuart Regan faces a massive test of his own, and by extension his organisation, credibility. Celtic supporters are watching, waiting for anyone to put their lot in with Rangers and a very real possibility exists of a boycott of Rygby Park on April 7th should any moves to allow Rangers Newco straight into the SPL bear fruit.

Have no fear that Celtic are ready to go turbo as well. Peter Lawwell and co have been criticised on this page many times but make no mistake, Peter Lawwell is the most powerful man in Scottish football and he hasn't even loaded his guns yet.
I read with interest on Twitter last night Gabrielle Marcotti share his thoughts on the whole thing, namely that Rangers and the SFA were as guilty as each other and his utter amazement in the number of good leads in the story that have not been followed up by Scottish journalists.

We know what we are up against, he does too now, and that's why the Celtic spotlight must shine brightest of all.

Friday, March 9, 2012

Court ruling brings new dawn for Tims worldwide

The news that the Old Castle Pub in Manhattan have beaten Premium Sports in court will come as interesting to all Celtic supporters who rely on feeds to watch games.

For too long Celtic supporters have faced uncertain times in North America with the NAFCSC pushed from pillar to post by all and sundry whilst they fought night and day to bring the games to the masses.
Amongst all this, after the deal with Premium Sports collapsed, there were threats from Premium to put their own bouncers on doors to stop CSC's watching games not supplied by them, a recipe for diaster if ever there was one.
Now Premium's vice like grip on the feeds has been released my hope is now that Celtic supporters, now with a much stronger hand, will be be able to watch ALL games at an affordable fee that can encourage growth and prosperity for all CSCs. Having seen the work the likes of Tam Donnelly does at committee level and the ton of work the likes of Chas Duffy and Jim McGinn do on the ground, it's what they deserve.

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Scottish football needs to take the blue blinkers off

Over the last couple of nights on the BBC there have been two programmes designed to get to the bottom of why Scottish football is on the slide. As soon as I heard about it it sounded like another jobs for the boys backslapping fest and I wasn't wrong. People like Jim Traynor, who have helped ruin the game, now suddenly want to tell us how to run it.

That's bad enough.

What was absolutely mind-boggling was the participation of people like Walter Smith, Frank De Boer and Giovanni Van Bronckhurst. All of them prattled on about where we are going wrong and yet no one, not one person, had the balls to turn round to any of them and say "You are the reason we are going wrong!" Can there even be a debate that Scottish football started going downhill in 1986? When Rangers started throwing money at players it sparked a feeding frenzy that many clubs have never recovered from.

Walter Smith had a wonderful idea. He said that we "Need to get back to ways of being able to attract players like Laudrup and Gascoigne again". Excuse me but is that not like G.Gordon Liddy saying "If only we could bug people again, we'd soon be winning elections once more"

If Scottish football is to change, then whole mindsets need to change and that includes stop putting people who clearly had an illegal hand up the ladder in positions where folk are supposed to listen to them.

Right now Scottish football has it's own Enron scandal going on, tales of money and excess without any morals whatsoever, and I wouldn't expect to see David Murray come on and talk fiscal prudence in the same way that Ken Lay gave up stock advice, and life, pretty damn quickly after folk knew what was going on.

We know what was going on, it's time everyone else admitted it,.

Monday, March 5, 2012

The Rangers Striptease

In 1919 the Chicago White Sox became kinown as the "Chicago Black Sox" when eight members of its team were found to have thrown games in the World Series. Olympic Marseille were stripped of its title in 1992/93 after financial irregularities in the club that season. Juventus were stripped of two titles won in 2005 and 2006 after a match fixing scandal.

What now for Rangers?

The SPL are investigating illegal payments to players, dating back to July 1998 when the SPL was formed, which if proven true will make a mockery of the entire existence of the SPL as an entity. Quite a lot of people are seething at this. Quite frankly there is a growing posse of journalists who see money and copy flying away from them as Rangers continue to be pushed closer to liquidation and they don't like it. People who really think that Scottish football will die without Rangers must have been born after 1986, or just don't want a Scottish football without Rangers. I've eyt to see any facts back up their arguments.

If this investigation proves once and for all that Rangers have been cheating since the inception of the SPL then all titles must be stripped and they must be banned from SPL membership. Any sort of free pass for Rangers will result in the death of Scottish football as a professional sport. Phil Mac Giolla Bhain said on @btwcelticshow on Saturday that this is our Watergate. He's right.

In the meantime will the SPL strip Rangers of all their SPL titles if they find a smoking gun?

It shouldn't be a tease.

Sunday, March 4, 2012

McCoist&fans sum up why they must die

Thoughts and prayers are with the family of Paul McBride at this time. You will have no doubt been unfortunate enough to read the glee that Rangers supporters have treated this news. It's not surprising but no less sickening.

Then there is Ally McCoist.

I fear for Ally's sanity. Ally would in the past been the one guy I'd have given a pass to when it came to them, primarily for his SCIAF work and his humility for Tommy Burns but lately he's been playing to the lowest common denominator and it's time he got a history lesson. He talks today of people gloating over Rangers demise, revelling in it even. He assures them that Rangers will be back on top "very soon" and that they will regret every having the audacity to ever slag them.

Fuck you Ally.

You were there through all the cheating, you rubbed our noses in it and your support went all round Scotland akin to David Trimble and Ian Paisley on Garvaghy Road.

All whilst cheating.

You were a good pal of The Great Tommy Burns, of that there is no doubt, yet have you ever once thought where that man might now had he not taken on a Rangers that was rotten to the core in corruption and financial doping?

Not a chance you have.

You milked it for all you could and you now have to pay the piper. Deal with it. You won't get our sympathy because you had none for us and couldn't wait to ram it up us at any given opportunity.

Remember when you knew "Wee Mo" was coming and how you chuckled?

Who's laughing now, Ally?