Tag Archive | History

The Glory And The Dream (A Poetic History Of Celtic Football Club )

On the day my club win the treble of Championship , League Cup, and Scottish Cup I take a poetic journey on Celtic through the ages from our formation in a church hall in the Calton, to a treble clinching Scottish Cup Win at Hampden this afternoon. I have given it the title The Glory  And The Dream in tribute to Tom.Campbell and Pat Woods who are the co-authors of the best ever history of our club .I hope you enjoy the read .

The Glory And The Dream

In a church hall in the Calton

a football club was born 

to feed the people of Glasgow’s East End

 who had fled famine and starvation 

inflicted on their nation 

by a cold and callous imperial United Kingdom 

but though founded to assist the Irish catholic poor 

our founders made sure no-one was excluded 

on the grounds of colour, creed,  or religion 

we would make it our mission 

to play up and play the game 

Willie Maley was the first man to claim 

the manager’s chair

moulding  teams with passion and flair 

which would be the Celtic way 

from our earliest days 

we would start as we meant to go on

attacking play to entertain the fans 

on terracing and in the stands 

this would be of paramount importance in our club’s story 

we play not for wealth and riches 

we play for the glory and the dream 

right from the early years 

when Maley built our first all conquering team 

set records not equalled till Stein 

made legends in green and white

Sunny Jim Young, and Jimmy Hay 

had their days in a trophy laden side

Quinn, and Gallagher added their names to the legacy 

that will be forever Celtic 

as did Johnny Thomson the bravest of the brave 

who went to his death to save us from defeat against Rangers 

and James and Willie McStay 

played a part in our story 

and even now when you mention Jimmy McGrory 

fans still know a name which  like so many others 

is immortalised in the songs we sing 

the post war years would bring us difficult times 

trophies like food still rationed in paradise 

as in the period between the wars 

we faced challenges with only occasional success

one off trophies were what we did best 

Exhibition and Coronation Cups 

both decked in green and white 

in the early to mid fifties whilst still  single 

my dad had in his words a team worth cheering 

a double built on that coronation victory 

fashioned by a half back line of Peacock, Evans, and Stein 

and the wing wizardry of Charles Patrick Tully 

who when he scored direct from a corner  

was ordered to take it again 

he did and placed it

 in exactly the same spot of the Falkirk net 

In 1957 and not long married came a memory

the old man would never forget 

when Lambhill’s finest Billy McPhail 

played a part in Hampden glory 

in a game forever etched in our club’s story 

as Rangers were crushed 7-1 in the league cup final that year 

as our fans cheered Hampden success 

we would be tested once more 

and for seven long seasons 

the trophy room would have none of the major honours 

to display to our faithful support 

the turning point came with the appointment of Stein 

a tactical genius who built teams to play in the traditions of the club

the man who had spies in every pub 

built a team capable of winning the European Cup 

and breaking down Inter Millan’s rock solid defence 

relentless attack was the plan 

which would take the team to glory 

on the greatest night in Scotland’s sporting history 

as with pride in the jersey 

and fire their hearts 

bhoys became men 

and lambs became lions 

under the Lisbon sun 

we won everything we entered 

that golden season 

including the second of nine successive titles 

Stein would create three sides during this time 

some of the football sublime to watch 

it was the way the game should played 

as names  like McGrain , Connolly , Hay and Dalglish 

gradually replaced the heroes of Lisbon 

with Atiken , Burns, and McCluskey coming later 

fulfilling potential under Ceaser 

the man who captained our club

 on the greatest night in our history 

now in the gaffer’s chair 

he crafted a team built on guile and imagination 

the inspirational skills of Charlie Nicholas and Paul McStay 

showed that we will always put talent before age 

if your good enough to play the game 

 Celtic Park will be your stage 

as it was for McClair , McGarvey , McAvennie, McGhee 

Provan and McLeod 

in the dark depressing society that was 1980’s 

there free flowing football did the hoops proud 

though rewards were thinner on the ground 

than a team of their talents deserved 

a centenary double was won

with a McAvennie brace at Hampden

 in the sunshine of a may afternoon

the fitting reward for a club in the mood for a party 

but just when we thought we were flying  high 

the next nine years reminded us 

that sometimes even great clubs 

have barren years 

hopes were soon replaced by fears

then in 1994 our fans made a stand  

and by their actions saved the club

we love 

we demanded changes

the board had to be replaced 

and a man in a bunnet saved the day 

Fergus believed in the Celtic way 

and slowly but steadily we were back on the road to recovery 

we were playing great football under Tommy Burns

the bhoy from Soho Street 

who when he played was a poet with a ball at his feet 

whose twists and turns had those in the stands

 jumping up from their seats 

and the jungle chanting  his name 

but unfortunately the trophies never came 

and with Rangers equalling our  nine in a row 

we had to make a change 

heartbreaking though it was

It was the right decision 

though when we brought in Wim Jansen 

from Dutch champions Feyenoord 

some of our fans said oh my god 

what have we done 

but cometh the hour cometh the man

and our Dutch master had a plan 

he signed Marc Reiper to shore up our back four

he bought in Burley and Lambert midfield men who could score 

but the best thing he ever did for Celtic 

was sign a bhoy called Henrik 

and with the addition of one or two others

discovered we had a team 

capable of writing an important chapter in our story 

we stopped 10 in a row I was there to see it done 

when at 4.31 on the 9th May 1998 

Harold Brattback was fated to be the man

 who brought the title home 

and sparked scenes of celebration 

from our fantastic support 

Paradise was a sea of green and white

we were back where we belonged 

champions of Scotland 

then as sometimes  happens

we didn’t build on the progress of that season

Wim was allowed to leave 

and for a couple of years we were underachieving again 

until Martin O’Neill took the reins 

in  his first old first old firm game 

we had a beautiful Sunday which brought a 6-2 victory 

we were_3-0 up in just 11 minutes

personally I thought we let them off lightly 

 like all our fans I was delighted with a treble won in style 

football with a smile has always been 

the way we played the game 

yes we’ve had heartbreaks along the way 

Seville was a hard one to take 

especially as we watched 

our greatest rivals claim the treble 

but it fired our determination to succeed 

and in the main the early years of the new millennium 

have belonged to us 

Sutton , Hartson , and the Hooperman 

provided, goals to savour

and Petrov and Lennon the engine room for our success

Lubo’s artistry was something I was blessed to watch 

in the years since then  players and managers have come and gone 

but the glory and dream lives on

and in this history making season

a team unbeaten, in all domestic competitions

won the treble with flair and ambition

by playing the Celtic way 

now there are new heroes

who in years to come will be named 

when this generation are grandparents 

as they remember Stuart Armstrong, Tom Rogic Moussa Demeble, Craig Gordon, and Scott Sinclair 

they will talk of Kieron Tierney, Leigh Griffiths,  and Scott Brown 

and the 5-1 thrashings handed to Rangers at home and away. 

by the team that Brendan made

they will recall with pride the days we dug deep and ran on  empty 

because we are Celtic and that is what we do to win

for our  ever faithful fans 

it is the spirit of the club 

the beating heart of every Celtic team 

we play up and play the the game

and we do it  for the glory and the dream 

© Gayle Smith 2017 

Dare To Speak 

Hey Readers 

As some of you may know February  is LGBTIQ history month and I am a trans woman so I decided to attend a themed poetry event to celebrate the diversity of our community. I also wrote a  poem to commemorate both my attendance at the event and the struggles I’ve  faced on my personal journey I’ve given the poem the same title as the event and called it Dare To Speak I hope you enjoy the read. 

Dare To Speak. 

I will say what needs said

I am trans 

I am woman 

I am not superhuman 

despite what. my younger friends may think 

black and pink both have places in my closet 

which is for clothes not living in 

I am trans so where does my story begin ? 

my earliest recollections of being different 

are remembering a hot summer Saturday in 1969

I was eight 

my mum allowed me to be a girl 

it was great 

my dad had taken my big brother 

on a fishing trip 

so I got to wear lipstick and get my  nails painted 

I was dressed in a navy skirt 

and tan stockings with a suspender belt 

which my mum had too fasten 

presbyterian fashion was very conservative 

in a home the swinging sixties never found 

then Donny and the Rollers came around 

and sent my head and hormones  spinning 

I thought of highly original sins 

I would never dare to commit 

during my Jackie reading years 

secret tears were cried as I denied myself 

a hundred and twenty three times 

at least 

Jesus wept at the secrets I kept hidden 

throughout the 70’s and 80’s 

yes I was frustrated but better frustrated than dead 

occasionally I would say what needed to be said 

but not until the 90’s did I do more than whisper 

what I should have dared to say  in a much louder voice 

being trans is not a choice

it’s an inescapable truth 

It’s who I am 

it’s who I was born to be 

I respect myself but it’s been a long and difficult journey 

to reach a place of contentment

I have no time for resentment

or holding grudges against those who mock 

they can say what they like 

I don’t care what they think 

black and pink both have places in my closet

which is for clothes not for living in 

I am trans 

I am woman

I am not superhuman 

and despite ignorance, prejudice , fear ,

or transphobes labelling me queer

I will not be silenced

I will say what needs said 

my lipstick will be pink or the deepest shade of red 

I will be who I am 

I have opinions and I will say them out loud 

I am trans and proud 

I am a woman who won’t wait till she’s given permission

to air my views

I will do whatever I need to do 

I will dare to speak my truths 

@ Gayle Smith 2017 

Tears At The Bells

Hey Readers

In this my first poem of 2017, I think on new year memories and why as, I celebrated Celtic’s hogmanay victory over Rangers at Ibrox I wept as I thought of my dad in the early hours of ne’erday. I’ve titled it Tears At The Bells I hope you enjoy the read.  

Tears At The Bells

I have to admit there were tears at the bells
as I looked to the sky and thought of my dad
It’s always the same at the New Year
especially if we cheered the hoops to victory against Rangers
they all counted but for some reason
the ne’erday  game mattered more
my dad knew the score
we would always be underdogs in this city
for as long as Scotland remained a British colony
equality wasn’t something they would ever do
the we are the people brigade
deluded themselves they were the chosen few
and still do even though the world moves on
and the empire has no chance of striking back
the union jack was never a comfort blanket
not for our kin
we play the only way we know
the Celtic way isn’t just to win
it’s to do in style
I think he would be proud
of the team we’re building
though he wouldn’t hear talk of Dembele  being the new Henrik
Celtic would always need different players for different times
each would be heroes in the hoops
as long as they wore them with pride
played with passion and gave our fans there all
he would have marvelled
at some of our play
but bemoaned our careless defending
whilst I would accept it
as a risk we have to take
because of the team we are
the team we will always be
a club like no other
if you know the history
and history was something
he taught me well
last night as I listened to The Wild Colonial Boy, Scottish Breakaway, and The John MacLean March
my rebel heart was lifted
I should have resisted
not listened to Flight Of Earls but as I did so
I thought of him
and I knew they’d be Tears At The Bells.

@ Gayle Smith 2017

A Minute To Mourn And Walk A Mile In Other People’s Shoes 

Hey Readers

As we approach what is always the most sensitive clash involving Celtic and Rangers , I notice that some Celtic fans are calling on our support  to respect the minute’s silence which will be held to remember those Rangers fans who died in the Ibrox disaster of 1971.

This post is written by an unapologetic Celtic fan who likes nothing better than seeing my footballing rivals put to the sword by our brave bhoys. However I echo the calls put out on social media in the last 24 hours to respect the silence and honour the memory of those who went to a game that morning and never made it home.

I make my case by stating that I come from a family which had members at both sides of the stadium on that fateful day. So much as I loathe the orange and unionist position of so many Rangers fans I can understand where it comes from in the same way I can understand Celtic’s Irish tradition as without the migration of Irish workers to Scotland my dad’s side of the family would never have arrived in the city of my birth and I wouldn’t be the Kirk attending Celtic supporting SNP member I’ve went on to become.

As someone who was a 9 year old at the time of this tragic event I have vague recollections of listening to the radio commentary of the game and feeling just a wee bit sick when Colin Stein equalised for Rangers just 30 seconds after Jimmy Johnstone looked to have won the game for Celtic with his goal in the last seconds of normal time.  Trust me if I’d felt sick at Rangers equaliser that was nothing compared to how I would feel 20 minutes later as news of what had happened began to filter through. 

The tragedy of the events of that day and what happened on stairway 13 will never be forgotten by the families who were robbed of  brothers, husbands, nephews, and sons and communities who were deprived of friends and neighbours. Now almost 50 years on  (this year marks the 46th anniversary of the tragedy) it will to some seem like just another distant event in our city’s history. For  those who were around at the time however it has without doubt a far greater significance. 

You see I may only have been a 9 year old at the time but you have to remember that in the days before mobile phones families had no way of knowing if their loved ones would make it home until they actually did. The relief when my relatives particularly the Rangers supporting ones who included my godfather made it to our house for the New Year gathering was clear for all to see and irrespective of our loyalties, we could get on with our lives. Other families were however not so lucky and when they got a knock on the door it was from the police informing them on the loss of their loved ones. 

If I can conclude this post with only one message it would be this. We as Celtic fans have always said and I believe with some degree of justification that we are a club like no other with the best support in the world. This minute of silent contemplation gives us the chance to prove it to the rest of the world particularly the British nationalists who misreport every little detail with regards to our club in what passes for the Scottish mainstream media.  Make no mistake these people are no friends of Celtic and one word or whistle out of place will give them the excuse they were looking for castigate our club and our supporters. Let’s not give them that opportunity let’s keep a dignified silence and as we do so let’s walk a mile in the Rangers fans shoes by imaging that Colin Stein had opened the scoring and it was Jimmy Johnstone who had equalised for us. It could have been our fans who had been mourning the loss family, friends, and relatives. Remember that and for one minute honour the memory of those who went to a game never to return. Then when the silence is over sing at the top of your voices and inspire the hoops to victory. 

Love And Best Wishes

Gayle X 

Marching Backwards

Hey Readers

It is my considered opinion that there is something very wrong with politics in democratic nations. With regards to the UK, there has been a disturbing rise in the number of racially motivated attacks in the aftermath of the Brexit vote and there have also been a significant increase in transphobic and disability related hate crimes.

Whilst not everyone who voted to leave the European Union is a racist and many decent and honourable socialists voted to leave for a completely different set of reasons but there can be no denying that post Brexit Britain has unleashed a very unhealthy strain of right wing British Nationalism which if unchecked could see Britain more divided than at any time since the 1930’s.

As a supporter of Scottish independence some people might say this should please me but those who make such wild assumptions do not know me and will never know me. I may be a member
of the Scottish National Party but I was raised an internationalist and I will hopefully many years from now die an internationalist. So believe me when I say I take no pleasure in watching this horror story unravel and the recent victory of Donald Trump will I fear drive this right wing agenda still further. It is with this division and politics of fear clear in my mind I have written this poem entitled Marching Backwards I hope you find it a challenging and thought provoking read.

Marching Backwards

Good morning Britain

I am now going give you a wake up call

ignore it and one day you will be

welcome to the UKKK

an insular xenophobic
small minded island

led by a right wing authoritarian regime

where a very privileged few
will fan the flames of fear

Who needs the facts when you have cheerleaders

like the BBC and 90 per cent of broadcast media.

If we try to find the truth they’ll ban the internet especially Wikipedia

they may deprive us of our human rights

but they’ll do it under the guise

of keeping us safe at nights

whilst numbing our minds

by remote control

EastEnders and Coronation Street

are light family viewing

not manna for the soul

but this is their strategy

they want you to talk about some fictional characters

having problems with their sexuality

this will prove how liberal you are

to friends and neighbours in your street

and your drinking companions at the bar

providing nobody like that lives next door to you

that would to be too much to handle

in this new fantasy land

where the only scandal is getting caught with your morals down

It just isn’t right and all those Muslims and other foreigners

frighten granny’s in Gloucester,

though she won’t say that when visiting her Syrian doctor

or her Bosnian care worker

In this land of strivers and shirkers

her Polish bank manager is always so nice and eager to help

but in this gray unpleasant land

she and her fellow Brits tell anyone willing to listen

this is their United Kingdom

so everyone else has to look , think , speak like them

they see 10 Downing Street
as the epicentre of civilisation

believing that Jesus once walked in their nation

claiming foreign fields as forever English

forgetting or dismissing that Scotland Wales and at least a small part of Ireland

are still for the moment form part of the United Kingdom

they talk about only when it suits

meanwhile as union flags, flutes and Nazi salutes

are dismissed as harmless fun

tabloid Tories like The Sun, The Mail, and Daily Express

make me proud I voted yes in the independence referendum

and if they think I’ll by led like sheep to Armageddon

they must be living in an alternative reality

televised trivialities will not stop me

 pursuing my vision of a better world

where inclusion and attainment are not dirty words

and aspiration is viewed as normal

not dependent on a formal by which I mean private education

we must remove walls not build them

to keep others out

this isn’t what progress is about

nor is it about labelling, demonising, or stereotyping

to provide the few with silver linings

at the expense of everyone else

this mind thyself attitude

which puts Britain first

is the refuge of the cursed

the curse which if ignored

could see the wolf enter through the back door

and wreck havoc if unchecked

this is supposed to be
a nation of fairness and respect

where all lives matter

but the shaven heads who hold their flags

and chant Rule Britannia

don’t agree

these poster boys for the BNP
Britain First

and others on that side of the political spectrum

are the kind of Brits who don’t contest elections

this type of subject has no time

for anything as complex as choice

only wanting one nation one voice, one race

the world will be a safer place
they claim

point the finger of what they see as shame

at any group they don’t like

disabled people, lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender

people of different ethnicities

these people are not truly British

according to their way of thinking

as the sinking ship austerity

brings their ideas into the mainstream

if this poem doesn’t make uncomfortable reading

we have not learned the lessons of history

and will be condemned to repeat its mistakes

by marching backwards to the right.

@ Gayle Smith 2016.

Golden Inheritance ( A Poetic Review Of Who Are You William Shakespeare By Alain English)

Hey Readers

When a show makes you re-examine a long held belief then it has to be viewed as a success. This year I was lucky enough to attend such a show, during my adventures at this year’s Edinburgh festival fringe .

The show in question was Who Are You William Shakespeare by Alain English and this is my poetic tribute to this game changing piece of theatre which has opened my mind to the fact that Shakespeare may not be one man but a collective of writers who wrote under a safe name to get their works on to the stage and eventually in to publication.

Now before any Shakespeare fans condemn my train of thought, just think how wonderful it would be if Shakespeare was not one man but the first underground cultural movement in the world. When I was given the leaflet for this show on the last Monday in May at Last Monday At Cafe Rio which coincidentally is where I’ll be going tonight for my post fringe poetry event of the year, I had never given much thought to the idea that the man we have always known or at least assumed to be William Shakespeare not actually be the author of the works we call Shakespearian or that it could be someone else entirely or even as I’ve said a collection of authors but after attending the show I now have a very different opinion. You this show didn’t just change my mind it blew my mind.
Golden Inheritance

The questioner asked who Shakespeare really was
In the same way 
a child wants to know
the true identity of Santa Claus
was this man so often touted as the greatest bard these islands have ever produced
who history claims him to be
if so why is there no proof
he was even a writer
and why did he say he did not want to be remembered for posterity
I ask just as the questioner has
because this show opened my mind to possibility
that it could be an identity
to be used by a group of writers
for a myriad of reasons
from promoting gender equality
to avoiding treason
this explanation could help the Shakespearian understand
the variety of the work
as there voluminous volumes
of poetry,  sonnets , and plays
yet the man who coined the phrase
all the world’s a stage and the people merely players
was at no time noted
for any creativity let alone artistic flair
his original monument didn’t even show him with a quill
to me this would arouse suspicions that our Will
was not who we believe him to be
what you see may not be as be as you think
but it will be as you like it
Personally I find it exciting
that Shakespeare may be a collective group
a theatrical troop of radicals
who wanted to speak in the language of the people
to promote a better understanding of the times
In which they lived
Mid Summer Night’s Dream
Hamlet, and Merchant Of Venice
all contained menacing messages
to the establishment of the day
and Romeo and Juliet warned of the dangers of love between feuding families
there was talk of female power, and of sexual desires
the church and state
would not want you to know about
so why does the matter
detractors would say Shakespeare was just a medieval patter merchant
of his day
and there opinion is valid
though it is one with which I don’t agree
you see Shakespeare matters
because much of the language we use
is wrapped in his frame of his reference
that is the legacy this bard
left us
it has literary and linguistic merit
it is a golden inheritance
and why I would prefer it
if Shakespeare was not one man
but an underground cultural collective
it would give a new perspective
to this discussion
after the show I was buzzing
I wanted to read more sonnets
renew my acquaintance with the plays
because if the world is indeed a stage
we only see the actors
and good as they are
they can only partially enlighten us
to get the real story
we need to know the writers.

@ Gayle Smith 2016

Billy Boys And Bully Boys Are Running Out Of Options As Nicola Was Scotland’s Choice To Play A Better Game

Hey Readers  There are times in this life when you see posts on Facebook, tweets on Twitter, or articles in The Daily Mail and you begin to wonder if the person concerned is actually living in the same world as the sane members of the human race.  Earlier this  week had one of those moments as I viewed a post on my Facebook timeline which was so stupid  it was truly breathtaking.

The post came in the form of a petition from change.org . Now before I proceed I have to say that I have no problem with the site itself and have signed a number of petitions from them myself  on topics from supporting Scotland’s independence , lowering the voting age to 16 I have also supported  LGBT equality and voiced my opposition to fracking and cuts in disability benefit by putting my name on a petition . So as you can see petitions when used wisely can be a force for good.

There is however a flip side to online petitions which is that they can give to deluded self important fools who have far too high an opinion of themselves which no-one who has ever been connected to reality is even remotely likely to share.

Such was the case when I saw a petition demanding the resignation of Scotland’s First Minister Nicola Sturgeon for the crime of congratulating Hibernian Football Club for their victory in the Scottish Cup Final over the petitioner’s team Rangers and taking the trophy back to Leith for the first time in more than a century.  By any standards this is an achievement worthy of recognition from the premier politician in the country and Nicola Sturgeon was only doing her civic duty by giving the players and staff of Hibernian the credit they deserve for it.

Unfortunately this is Scotland 2016 and bigots don’t recognise fair play preferring to wallow in hate filled self pity and blame everyone else for the simple fact there team weren’t good enough to win on the day.  Also to deliberately lie and say that the First Minister didn’t condemn the violence which occurred in the aftermath of the game shows the deliberate  see no evil, hear no evil, speak no evil policy the most feral of this club’s support have always had towards any view they don’t like. Believe me when it comes to wearing their union jack blinkers with regards to their own club and the contempt they just can’t disguise towards all other clubs  and their supporters and indeed anyone who doesn’t share their ridiculous right wing views, these extremists have no equals.

Make no mistake Rangers have always been a club with an agenda (though a substantial minority of their more erudite fans choose not follow it). Now however subtle or obvious that agenda may be it certainty does exist. and it is the maintainance of the union of the United Kingdom at all costs even if that results in the abject misery of many of their more working class supporters. Now I have no problem  with genuine unionists who want to keep the union because they believe wrongly in my opinion that Scotland will be a better country inside the UK than out of it. I do however have a problem and a major problem with people whose only reason for wanting to be British is to keep Scotland White, Anglo Saxon, (which it has never actually been), and Protestant and wish to do this by promoting this exclusionary view of our supposedly shared nation and that what so many supporters of this club actively seek to do. It is therefore no great surprise that Rangers have a significant following in the unionist enclaves of working class Ulster

It is perhaps due to this last fact that i believe it is reasonably fair to say that this is a club who are famous for a sectarian song  book the shortened version of which would comfortably stretch from Bridgeton in Glasgow to Bridgeton Barbados, that there a strong sense of social and cultural conservatism amongst their supporters and that the idea of liberal minded  reasoning with those who oppose them has never been one of their strongest suits. Indeed such is their capacity for hatred of those they see as other that they have even managed to turn the Tina Turner song Simply The Best in to anti Catholic diatribe so much so in fact that a song which was pop classic its day is now reviled by half of Glasgow. It should also be stated that  for most of its history this  ‘football institution ‘ avoided signing any players of Roman Catholic faith. The fact that this form of blatant employment discrimination was allowed to continue unchallenged by Scotland’s unionist political classes speaks volumes for the lack of fairness of the so-called united kingdom we are told we are privileged to live in. 

The arrogance of the hard-line unionist supporters has to be seen to be believed and the fact they are allowed to spout vicious, and vindictive anti Irish insults without ever facing the charge of racism is my view a wrong that needs corrected. We are or at lest to my knowledge living in a century where every other country outside Scotland and the manufactured six county state which calls itself Northern Ireland but is in reality the partitioned  province of occupied Ulster would see Catholics and Protestants as fellow Christians. The fact that some people make a choice to ignore this reality is to me at least abhorrent and it is attitudes like those of the unthinking and unhinged amongst the Rangers fans which cause shame and embarrassment not only to my country but to the intelligent supporters amongst their number who don’t subscribe to this narrow minded view of Scotland and their fellow country folk and believe me there are  a lot more of them than the diehards would like to admit.

The problem for Rangers however is in my view a very real one, which is that it is these supporters are by far the most vocal they have and therefore they cannot distance themselves from them even if they want to. On the flip side of that however if they are in any way  seen to endorse this ludicrous petition they could be accused of having  a blatant contempt for democracy. Whether this is true or not it is certainly a charge which can be levied at them.

This  argument is though contentious is nonetheless valid. It is also powerful especially given their shall we say previous form on trying to dictate to the Scotland international team which of their players would be available to play for our country and when. This to me and many other Scots is nothing less than bullying and a form of direct intimidation to try to illustrate that their club is bigger than our country. It isn’t and it never will be but it is this kind of deluded mentality and culture of entitlement which has led to this trumped up petition demanding that the democratically elected First Minister of Scotland should resign. Now I hate to inform them but they can stick their opinions where the sun don’t shine. Our First Minister will not be bullied by the actions of extremists and will remain in her job in which she will always do what is right for our country. Believe me Nicola Sturgeon has work to do to make Scotland the best country we can be and she won’t be distracted from that job just because a few sore losers can’t take their team
getting beat.

I make this statement because as  a church of Scotland adherent I am sick and tired of the more reactionary supporters of Rangers football club trying to hijack the faith I was brought up in. It is insult to all liberal minded church going presbyterians to even to dare to claim as the vocal but extremist wing of this support does with a potent mix of boldness and stupidity that you can’t be a real protestant unless you support Rangers the orange order and the unionist cause.  This is not way to advance a fairer more inclusive Scotland and it certainly isn’t the way to get people back in to the pews quite the reverse if truth be told, indeed I would go as far as to the it is way to drive the liberals the church so badly needs in to the waiting arms of the Roman Catholic church which is, in this current climate, seen to be a bit more active on the social justice agenda of fairness and equality. It is with in this mind, that I call on the leadership of the Church of Scotland to distance themselves from this club with its hard-line unionist support to serve as a reminder to the wider population the church of Scotland is neither Rangers or Better Together at prayer.

I make this call to protect the people of Scotland from the pathetic angry rantings of self deluded fools who use a football club as a mask to hide their bigotry. You see whether these people like it or not three weeks ago Scotland voted in our parliamentary elections to elect a new Scottish Government and Nicola Sturgeon was elected to lead that Government as the SNP
despite unionist delusions were swept back to power receiving over a million votes the largest total of any political party since the current reconvened Scottish parliament came in to being  even with Donald Dewar at the helm in the first election in 1999 Labour still couldn’t achieve this feat and as we all know Dewar was practically a saint if you believe the grovelling sycophants in certain sections of the unionist media. However what Dewar who rather pompously claimed that devolution was the settled will of the people of Scotland failed to do was exactly what the the Nicola Sturgeon led SNP managed to do and the more hard-line unionist you are the more that must be hurting. You see whilst there are many decent unionists who contribute greatly towards what Gerry Hassan would call civic Scotland there are a very significant number who support the union for reasons which have  nothing to do with Scotland  or the economic , social , and cultural benefits it may bring  and everything to do with Glasgow Rangers orange walks and what they see as keeping Ulster British.

 These people are in my opinion
an insult to  football, Scotland and democracy and need to get over themselves and fast . Yes I know the more unbalanced unionists will start to scream that the SNP are a minority government and on a purely technical point they may be right. This however is only a technical point and I believe that  securing a third term in government on an increased share of the constituency vote and an even greater  majority of constituency seats where only the top up list system saved the unionist parties from complete oblivion demonstrates that Billy Boys and Bully Boys are running out of options and Nicola was Scotland’s choice to play a better game.  Now hard as it may be for them to admit it, the day will come sooner rather than later when they will have to move on and face the fact that the unionist cause is a lost cause.

You see the uncomfortable truth for all of us who are involved in politics is that  people can sign all the petitions we like, but they will ultimately be ignored unless the government want to listen and somehow I can’t see anyone in authority taking notice of a group of football fans in a huff. Now it doesn’t matter to me whether or not Rangers most loyal unionist supporters can face it , the union is in injury time and the game will soon be over. It is time for them to realise as the final whistle blows that you’ll never build a future in by living in the past.

Love And Best Wishes
Gayle X