As is always the case when we lose to the Manky Mob from across town, the days immediately following a defeat are all about the recriminations. Who is to blame, and to what to extent should they be punished?
Bizarrely enough, the city state of Dubai seems to have been drawn into the crossfire this time around.
In short, Celtic fans, many of whom either have faced or are soon to face extremely tight restrictions on their movement thanks to Covid-19 lockdowns, resent the fact that a team who just lost a derby match, and in doing so, probably lost the championship, to their biggest rivals, are seemingly being rewarded with a trip to the sunny Arab Emirate.
There are a few facts which need to be laid out here, and which some of you won’t want to hear, but they need to be said.
First of all, like it or not, footballers are not subject to the same restrictions as we regular citizens are. In being allowed to resume playing in August, and being allowed to continue to play despite spiking infection rates, Scottish football is in a position of privilege. Part of that privilege includes being allowed to travel overseas, be it for fixtures or in this case for training camps. Celtic are not unique in this regard, nor are the players getting any special treatment.
They are simply using the time allotted to them to get in some warm weather training. Historically, over the last few years, we have always come back stronger after new year and many within the club credit the short break for the players as playing a part in that.
Also, we’re talking about flights, hotels and training facilities being hired out to a group of around 30 people. Such a booking, especially with all the isolation protocols now needed thanks to covid, needs to be made, at the very least, several months in advance.
Cancelling the trip after Saturday’s match would have represented a massive waste of money. A waste that those who love sniping at our club in the Scottish press would have gleefully leapt all over.
This next paragraph might draw me some flack but it needs to be said.
Be honest with yourselves, you’re not really angry about the Celtic team going to Dubai, are you? You’re angry because we got gubbed by the H*ns, despite outplaying them for most of the game. You’re angry because you’ve been stuck in the house for months, unable to offer any support to the team, while ten in a row slips away. You’re angry because all of this could easily have been prevented if the board hadn’t taken the cheap and easy options.
However, you can’t do anything about any of those, and in the age of Facebook and Twitter, going on there and having a rant after a few shandies is the fastest way to unleash that impotent rage.
In times of anger and frustration, we look for a scapegoat, and this trip, which I repeat was probably finalized several months ago, is an easy option.
We are better than this. It’s sad to see fans on social media arguing with each other over something so trivial. We could be 35 points behind in the league right now and that trip would still have gone ahead. That’s how professional businesses operate. Would any of this even be getting discussed if we’d won 5-0 at the weekend?
I think you already know the answer to that one.
No football team in the world would cancel an overseas training camp over the loss of one game, no matter how important the fans think it is.
Some amongst our support need to take a good look at themselves.
We’re all hurting right now, but tantrums like those I saw online yesterday help no one. They just give our enemies even more ammo to throw back at us.