Ranger fans reprise “Scotland’s Shame” singing sectarian chants during Europa Cup matches against PSV Eindhoven. FIFA/ UEFA open an investigation on April 28th which could end in disciplinary action including heavy fines and closed door matches.
It has not been a particularly good year for Scottish football. Which of course is a reference to the ugly scene following the March encounter between Rangers and Celtics. But the first sentence in itself presents the problem. The Old Firm has become a metonym for Scottish football.
As Gerry Hassan in this evocative article puts it the sad part is the Old Firm rivalry sucks almost all the oxygen out of Scottish football leaving very little left for the rest of the clubs.
Between Rangers and Celtics, there have been 26 years of domination and the fans following other clubs have shifted allegiances to the big two. Sixty years ago, 1 in 6 followed Celtic or Rangers and now it is up to 1 in 2. He proposes these two clubs face punitive action including protracted bans to clean up their acts. But there are powerful forces who see advantages in keeping this rivalry as ugly as possible. And invariably it is a downward spiral into sectarian vitriol.