Dear oh dear Paddy Power, what have you done.
As I’m sure most people will have seen by now, Irish bookmaker Paddy Power released an opinion piece on the 26th of March about the decision for Celtic to play a Republic of Ireland XI to celebrate the service and tenure of the godfather of Scottish football, Scott Brown.
For Celtic to play R.O.I isn’t exactly a bolt from the blue (or maybe green is more applicable here).
The club did the same thing for Jackie MacNamara and not a word was said. As a club, we have many ties to Ireland – from being founded by an Irishman in Brother Walfrid, having a huge contingent of Irish fans who travel across for games, the long list of players who have played for both Celtic and the Irish National team.
The whole point of forming Celtic Football Club all the way back in 1888 was to provide charity to the impoverished Irish community in East End of Glasgow and it’s wonderful to see that charity again comes to the fore with Broony’s Testimonial. With a share of proceeds going to various charities and also to the grieving family of EX CELTIC AND REPUBLIC OF IRELAND player Liam Miller who sadly passed away recently.
My reason for putting the club and country in bold there was just to emphasise that major factor as to why we are playing the Irish. Add to that the other reasons I noted previously and only the most bitter and twisted of people would see any issue in the fixture. That’s where Paddy Power comes in.
The article the bookmaker published was nothing short of an attack on Celtic as a club and on us as fans. The author of the article went on at pained lengths to show his disgust at our choice of opposition. He wrote that it made no sense as Brown isn’t Irish and there is no connection between Celtic and Ireland and that the game would be a “cringe fest” and an excuse to have the whole crowd take part in a ‘republican sing along’.
At no point did he mention the money going towards Liam Miller’s family. In fact, at no point did he even mention Liam Miller at all. It was full of pure bitterness and negativity and looked like it could have been copied and pasted from a club 1872 statement.
The original fixture was thought to be Liverpool, what ties does Brown or Celtic have to them? A lot less if any than there is to Ireland, but rest assured there would be no moon howling or public outcry if they had been selected as the opposition.
The reason for that is simple, just look on Twitter at the people who seem to be offended by the fixture. There’s an all too familiar pattern. The same people who cry foul but applaud their players posing with out and out bigots on a yearly basis.
There seems to be an unhealthy obsession with our captain that’s manifested itself the more he has improved and the more he’s been winning. I hope the club will be responding to Paddy Power who are certain to find themselves a few punters lighter after the completely unnecessary, heat seeking article.
Against Ireland, we will have Paradise packed to the rafters to celebrate our fantastic captain and in doing so raise the biggest amount of money possible to go to worthwhile causes. Only the most bitter of people will take issue. Me on the other hand, I’ll be there lapping up a brilliant atmosphere – I better not forget my republican songbook.