Elements of the Scottish sports media might be berating a change in tact from how Rangers deal with them but if they’re serious about healing old wounds then they must first look in the mirror.
Whilst it’s true that we need independent analysis and scrutiny on Rangers some of the depths which have been plunged over the course of the last decade in particular are alarming.
As a result of vexatious coverage Rangers are now taking a new direction with how they deal with publications who seek to antagonise or whose involvement is unfairly counterproductive to the aims and ambitions of the club.
Rangers’ issues with BBC Scotland have been well-documented by this point and they revolve around vexatious coverage from a leading reporter at the broadcaster.
This remains a huge bug bear with coverage of the Ibrox club permanently unenthusiastic and reduced whilst it is occasionally vindictive.
The head of the broadcaster has previously described the situation as a “matter of huge regret”.
Rangers are also at loggerheads with Reach PLC and for anyone aware of the kind of content which has been produced in the group’s name, they’ll be empathetic as to why.
This includes the likes of the Daily Record with Rangers now keeping the newspaper – to put it mildly – at arm’s length.
Rangers were also in dispute with Radio Clyde and Superscoreboard earlier in the season after Roger Hannah mistakenly claimed a tackle involving Kemar Roofe caused an injury to a St Johnstone player.
This has since been resolved.
Then there’s Michael Stewart, the Premier Sports pundit refused press entry into Ibrox for Scottish Cup coverage for his continuing, abrasive coverage of the Ibrox side where he conveniently appears to always take the opposite stance from the Rangers fans or their club.
Rangers shareholders Club 1872 took aim at Stewart recently for his pretty ill-thought take on the fall out of Glen Kamara being racially abused by Czech defender Ondrej Kudela.
The pundit had previously been suspended from BBC Scotland for a similar incident involving racist abuse aimed at striker Alfredo Morelos.
There was also a situation involving the Athletic’s Rangers correspondent Jordan Campbell who believes he was denied access to Ibrox due to his involvement in a story regarding the SFA’s report into child sex abuse in Scottish football.
This is the first time in a long while that I won’t be at Ibrox for the game as my accreditation request wasn’t approved.
Rangers insist this is not due to my coverage of the child abuse report this week and that the press box is oversubscribed.
Hoping for another good game.
— Jordan Campbell (@JordanC1107) February 13, 2021
The renewed stance towards the newspapers was back in the press this week when the Sunday Post printed a blank page apology to supporters after the Gers didn’t provide interviewees ahead of the weekend’s Scottish Cup match with St Johnstone [25/04/21].
Experienced journalist Hugh Keevins also dedicated his Sunday column to the situation describing it as a “closed shop media strategy” [Daily Record].
For the last ten or so years a culture has developed in the Scottish sport press of lambasting and berating Rangers at every turn.
The club was seen as an easy target by many journalists who are now beginning to reap what they sow regarding the situation.
Perhaps there’s an argument that Rangers are being too sensitive to this but when the club has been berated, fans have been stereotyped, false accusations have been levelled, it often feels like there’s too much water under the bridge.
From what I can see, there’s also a stubbornness about the press to surrender that culture of inappropriate shoehorning and unfair analysis which they claim is in the so-called spirit of press freedom.
But if they want Rangers to reverse tact, then they quite simply must do the same because it’s clear the Gers won’t have their reputation, or the truth, tarnished as it has been in recent seasons.
There is certainly little appetite from Rangers fans to see the club reverse these decisions and a sterner stance with the press is widely supported by bluenoses.