I’ve always been a fan of Scottish football. Not so much of the style but the fact that I can normally find a game going on quite close to me at 3 o’clock on a Saturday. Essentially my passion for Scottish football is born of convenience more than any actual desire to watch 22 men hoof a ball up and down a field for 90 minutes, having completely forgotten about the presence of midfielders.
It was after going from watching Paul Scholes’ spectacular midfield display for Manchester United against Newcastle United that I went in search of the highlights of the Kilmarnock vs. Rangers game from Saturday afternoon. Why, you might ask? I’m British. I enjoy getting my hopes built up by good things only to intentionally dash them by deliberately seeking out awful things. You see neither side are actually any good.
There’s a marvellous myth that the Old Firm have built up around themselves that they’re ‘top clubs’ who can attract ‘top names’ but in all honesty they’re ‘mediocre clubs’ who can attract ‘medium-sized names’. I don’t say this because I’m jealous of the calibre of player that Celtic & Rangers can attract (except I am), I say it because fans of the two clubs need to put their feet back on the ground. In 1997, I’d have argued that Glasgow Rangers FC were one of the best teams in Britain; able to call on the likes of Jorg Albertz, Ally McCoist and Brian Laudrup week-in-week-out. Celtic too were slightly less blessed in terms of marketable names but with the likes of Henrik Larsson and Paul Lambert (a Champions League winner the year before, lest we forget) they were an unbelievably high quality side and worthy of the title that they won that year.
The reason I mention any of this is that my awful little team with a squad full of misfits and players that could scarce find a competitive game in the English League One fought away and almost managed a draw with the ‘mighty’ Rangers. I will admit that it’s probably due to a combination of luck & Cammy Bell that we weren’t on the end of a 7-0 pummelling but I think it’s time we all admit defeat with Scottish football and accept it for what it is.
You see, whether it’s financial mismanagement or just disinterest in the Scottish game (likely the fault of lower clubs like mine in the eyes of the Old Firm), Rangers & Celtic could never ‘cut it’ in the Premier League just as they can barely cut it in European Competitions. The Golden Age of Scottish football is long gone and the sooner we all accept it and move on, the better. The excitement that I used to feel thinking of the names that I could expect to see playing for the Old Firm when they visited Rugby Park is long gone. Unfortunately I don’t get the same kind of childish glee from the promise of seeing James Beattie and Gary Hooper turning out for the Old Firm as I did seeing Marco Negri, Henrik Larsson, Craig Burley, Paul Gascoigne (god rest his sanity) banging in the goals.
The Old Firm’s dream of being folded into the Premier League or even the Championship is going to be one of those things that drags on until time immemorial but I’m putting my stall out right here, right now with this message to the Old Firm. Don’t ruin it for them too. Just stay up here with us and we’ll all be shit together. Just we’ll be a bit more shit than you because that’s the way it always is, isn’t it?