It was the 5th April 2015 and the visitors to Ibrox were Heart of Midlothian. Hearts had just been crowned winners of the SPFL Championship and were given a guard of honour by Rangers in recognition of that fact. The game was actually meant to have taken place in the January of that year but was abandoned due to adverse weather. The rearranged game had then been scheduled after the Jambos league win was confirmed. I distinctly remember a bit of defiance at that point over whether Rangers would afford Hearts a guard of honour but in the end they duly obliged as is the sportsmanlike thing to do these days.
Fast forward a year and the shoe was on the other foot. Rangers won the Championship title and most teams who they subsequently played granted them the distinction of a guard of honour apart from Hibernian who point blank refused to do it. Again this caused some furore and for good reason but at least they had been consistent. Hibernian head coach Alan Stubbs refused his team permission to perform the tribute a year previously when both Edinburgh clubs were in the Championship and the Gorgie team had been victorious.
In the aftermath of Rangers being honoured by teams apart from Hibernian, James Tavernier, the Rangers full-back was quick to reprimand Hibernian for their lack of sportsmanship.
— James Tavernier (@James_Tavernier) April 23, 2016
After Alloa, and apart from Hibs, all of the teams that Rangers played in the league that season performed the salute, including Livingston and St Mirren.
I sincerely hope he maintains the same level of sportsmanship this Saturday when Celtic face Rangers at Ibrox in the last Glasgow Derby of the season. There is no reason why they shouldn’t perform this tribute to the Champions of Scotland. The reaction from some quarters at the mere suggestion that this might be the case has been met with staunch defiance and has made me all the more keen for it to happen…
I hope someone from the press is able to ask Pedro and his paupers if they will maintain a level of dignity with which they normally are so boastful about and conduct this salute, as they did with Hearts, to the all conquering champions of Scotland.
For those saying ‘Celtic didn’t form a guard of honour in 2010’ you are probably right. It seems to be a very modern addition to the game that the champions of a country are saluted by all the remaining teams they play in the league that season. In fact, in the last 17 years 2010 would have been the only year in which it would be appropriate for Celtic to perform this honour. Since 2000, Old Rangers won the league on the last day in 2003, 2005, 2009 and 2011. Contrast that to Celtic who in each of the championship successes they have had since the turn of the Millenium, only once was the league title won on the last day, in 2008. Since the emergence of this tribute to the league winners, Celtic have won the league before a final ball is kicked and from what I can recall, no team has refused to bestow the accolade on the hoops. Lets hope new Rangers follow suit.
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