It’s perhaps a sign of the bizarre times we live in that I now find myself publicly criticizing the SNP, despite having voted for them for more than 10 years. However, their latest swipe at Celtic is pathetic pandering of the very worst kind, and it needs to be called out.

The Celtic support are, not for the first time this season, divided. The latest cause of tension among us is the club’s ill-timed trip to Dubai.

Ill-timed, but not in any way illegal. That is the point that seems to have been lost here. However, politicians being the opportunists that they are, never miss a chance to pin the blame on an easy scapegoat. With even many of our own fans currently raging at the club for this trip abroad, the Scottish government saw such a scapegoat in Celtic.

I will repeat what I said yesterday. The Dubai trip is poorly timed, but the only reason any of us even care about is because we lost at the weekend and because another lockdown has come into affect.

To the SNP, going after Celtic doesn’t just give them an easy method of distraction from the negativity another lockdown creates for them. It also allows them to pander, to that one demographic they have, thus far, failed to win over among the Scottish voting public, the unionist, orange, Rangers-supporting bigots.

It’s sad that anyone would link their political voting preferences to the football team they support, but sadly, in Scotland, that frequently seems to be the case. Now, I know several Rangers fans who are proud supporters of Scottish Independence and likewise I know some Celtic supporters who think Nicola Sturgeon is a waste of space.

However, the general trends are there for all to see. It’s no coincidence that most of the anti-SNP, self-loathing, Brit nationalist trolls that you see online relentlessly bitching about everything the Scottish government try to do, also happen to be Rangers supporters.

Who needs sound economic policy proposals, or arguments in favor of self-determination when it can all be shut down with a simple, gutteral growl of “we arra peepil!”?

Getting tough on Celtic, or at least creating the image of being tough on Celtic, when we’ve done nothing wrong, is a none too subtle attempt by the SNP to pander to these same, primitive elements among the Rangers support.

Of course, it ignores the fact that these same clowns wouldn’t piss on the SNP if they were on fire. These people would sooner see the entire country burn down than ever re-evaluate their extreme views.

Playing the anti-Celtic card might excite some of the bigots among the SNP base, but for the vast majority of intelligent voters in Scotland, it can be seen for exactly what it is: A cynical ploy in an election year to bring in more votes.

It looks bad for Celtic, but this also looks equally embarrassing for the Scottish Government.

Celtic issued a robust rebuttal of the government’s calls to look into the situation. For the sake of the Scottish Government, and the wider prospect of another independence referendum, let’s hope that’s the end of it.

Regardless of political affiliation, the Celtic support represents a significant bloc of Scottish society. It is not politically smart to needlessly upset them.