A word on the Scottish sports media...
Photo by Steve Welsh/Getty Images

A word on the Scottish sports media...

The Scottish sports media has come under much criticism in the wake of the police investigation into threats aimed at referee John Beaton.
Beaton has been resoundingly criticised for not sending Alfredo Morelos off last week in a trial-come-execution-by-media. Now he’s being bombarded with threats and has been forced to phone the police. But whilst the media have a role to play – to suggest it was the tipping point smacks naivety.
Football in Scotland is controversial. The Old Firm is volatile. Even to those in the country who don’t follow football, it still plays a big part in their lives. When buffoonery like this happens, they wish it didn’t.

Football in Scotland is a very passionate game. (Photo by Mark Runnacles/Getty Images)

It drives ordinary people to do some crazy, crazy things. It’s so much more than football to the supporters – and that’s part of the reason why we love it.
But absolutley none of this excuses knuckledragging behaviour. Some people forget that.

It’s also why there have been a maelstrom of anti-social incidents surrounding the game, and not just by the Old Firm.

Scottish Sports Media still bears a responsibility

But I will say one thing. To those in the Scottish Sports Media; writers, pundits and journalists need to be very aware of the impact the words they say can have on the wider Scottish community. That includes myself.
Journalists/pundits bear a huge responsibility to provide evidence – either through fact or well considered opinion – which back up their claims. The media witch hunt involving Beaton had neither.

Chris Sutton is coming under fire for an inflammatory column he wrote yesterday suggesting a “stitch-up”. (photo by Vagelis Georgariou/Action Plus via Getty Images)

This isn’t about not being controversial. Controversy drives a lot of the conversation around our game. It’s about not being controversial for being controversial’s sake. It’s also about being sincere.
Does Chris Sutton really believe there’s a secret order conspiracy to deny Celtic 10-in-a-row? Does anyone? There was no sincerity there, just absolute ego-driven, self-important, I’m going to make a scene-ery. And it’s not just Sutton.

Controversy for controversy’s sake?

Whilst I am not for a second suggesting that anyone who drummed this up would have had they foreseen this outcome, they have a responsibility to bear.
Where journalists and pundits get it wrong is in deliberately stoking these flames. Not that you can’t do it indirectly or make mistakes. It is a challenge.

GLASGOW, SCOTLAND – DECEMBER 29: Rangers Manager, Steven Gerrard looks on during the Ladbrokes Scottish Premier League between Celtic and at Ibrox Stadium on December 29, 2018 in Glasgow, Scotland. (Photo by Ian MacNicol/Getty Images)

This game, our game, is made so vibrant by opinions. It’s made funny by our desperate (and woeful) attempts at hiding our biases. And most importantly, it makes a lot of people happy.
It was a very poor error of judgement by some pundits. They’ve pandered to the complete doolally maniac section of Celtic’s support and given it a voice.

They now know

Everyone from Berwick to the Balkans can see that Celtic and their merry band of media cheerleaders are just bitter. Or if they’re not, it certainly looks like that way. Move on. Get over it.


They tried to scapegoat Morelos, but when that failed, they moved on to Beaton. It wasn’t the fact that Rangers beat Celtic that got to them last Saturday – it was the manner of the victory. Rangers dominated, Celtic capitulated.

Ryan Jack’s winning goal against Celtic sent Scotland haywire. (Photo by Ian MacNicol/Getty Images)

But the thing is, they now know Rangers pose a real and serious threat to Celtic in the second half of the season.
You can blame referees, you can blame Masonic conspiracies, but certain elements of the Scottish Sports Media will just need to get on with it. And act responsibly if their worst fears are eventually realised come May.

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