I’m not sure if you can hear me over the yelps of delight at the melt-down of Glasgow Rangers Football Club, but I’m sorry to see it happen. I SAID I'M SORRY TO SEE IT HAPPEN....Not because I’m very good at singing “The Billy Boys” or that it'll feel kind of pointless to spew sectarian venom or worse towards Neil Lennon. I’m sorry because it takes two to tango.
When I was a youngster the big Derry boxer was Billy Spider Kelly. Spider didn’t really pack much of a punch but he was a tremendous defensive fighter. His opponents kept trying to nail him but Spider would duck and weave and bob, making them punch air again and again. I remember reading an article at the time which explained that, besides not scoring points by missing him, his opponents were doing something very tiring: they were swinging and missing, swinging and missing. Do that for long enough and you become exhausted.
Which brings us to Rangers FC. If they drop out of the Scottish league or stop being the other half of the stupidly-named Old Firm, then Celtic FC have a problem - they'll be punching football air. What game is going to pack the ground if Rangers aren’t there. St Mirren? Hibs? Celtic could find themselves with no one to test their mettle against, and that inevitably will lead to a weakened club and lowered standards.
A while back there was talk of Celtic and maybe Rangers playing in the Championship south of the border. If the talk had become reality, it would have been good news for Celtic and Rangers and bad news for Scottish football. The teams left north of the border would have been without the two teams guaranteed to test their mettle.
So the implosion of Rangers leaves Celtic in something of a quandary. If Celtic stay in Scottish football, they’ll inevitably become a less attractive team to follow, without the shadow of Rangers to add edge and bite to their game. If Celtic do link up with a league south of the border, it might be good for Celtic but Scottish football games, without either Celtic or Rangers, will become about as attractive as IFA or FAI games. And we all know how capacity-crowd pleasurable they are.