Saturday, April 23, 2011

"Who's that team they call the Rangers?"

I've been following Glasgow Rangers at a distance since I was about 12, when we used to be able to tune our tvs in to pick up a fuzzy BBC Scotland signal to watch the match highlights on a Saturday night. That was before the 'Souness Revolution' which transformed not only Rangers but Scottish football generally. Davie Cooper was my hero! I've taken Jacob to a few matches as well - his favourites were friendlies against Chelsea and AC Milan (with Beckham playing).

The close geography of Ulster and Scotland (especially the west of Scotland) means that we share much, both good things and bad things. Cultural difference and division is one of those things, and over the years one of the areas of life where that difference has found expression is through football. However this season it seems to have become far, far more intense than I can ever remember. The media, and seemingly the Scottish media even more than our own, take a very simplistic view of it all. I suspect there's far more going on than just the things the media have chosen to saturate airwaves and newsprint with. And too much to unpick in a brief post here. It's also strange to see Northern Ireland steadily moving forward, and yet some in Scotland are making things worse there.

Ulster-born players play for both Rangers and Celtic week in week out, and then play together for Northern Ireland when international games come round. Hopefully the big, potentially Championship-deciding, Rangers v Celtic derby match tomorrow will pass of without incident and will be reported for solely football reasons. And three mair points for the Gers.

UPDATE: the match finished in a 0-0 draw. No major incidents reported. Meanwhile this excellent article by Steve Bruce shows that the Scottish media are all too fond of exaggerating sectarianism and creating perceptions of it where none actually exists.