No sport­ing cour­tesy in this land of deep en­mity

The Scotsman - - STEPHEN HALLIDAY -

When the Glas­gow po­lice ve­toed a pro­posal for Celtic play­ers to ap­plaud newly- crowned cham­pi­ons Rangers on to the pitch ahead of their fix­ture at Park­head in April 1976, the ven­er­a­ble foot­ball writer Ian Archer ob­served that it “re­flects no lack of cour­tesy, just aver­age wis­dom”.

Sim­i­lar con­cern over how sup­port­ers of one half of the Old Firm would re­act to see­ing their bit­ter ri­vals ac­claimed in such a man­ner by their own team has per­haps in­formed the de­ci­sion of the Rangers board of di­rec­tors not to give Celtic a pre- match guard of hon­our ahead of to­mor­row’s match at Ibrox.

In truth, it’s an is­sue of far less sig­nif­i­cance to play­ers on ei­ther side of the Glas­gow di­vide than has been sug­gested by some over the past week.

But it says ev­ery­thing about the depth of en­mity be­tween their fol­low­ers that even such a sim­ple sport­ing ges­ture is a strictly no- go area.

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