Maybe it’s just me but I’m increasingly feeling that both pundits and commentators are getting worse. Watching the game on Tuesday, it was clear that Ian Crocker was trying to find any negative he could with regard to Celtic. The away record in the Champions League was dragged up as if each and every player in the squad was responsible for it and there were constant reminders of what the worst case scenario of Tuesday was. For good measure, Davie Provan excelled in his Sybill Fawlty “Stating the bleeding the obvious” impersonation as he astounded us with insight like “You don’t want to concede just before half time” (am I the only one who never wants to concede?), “Samaras doesn’t want to lose the ball there” (raise your hand if you never want to lose the ball?) and “Wilson wanted to clear that there” (ach, you get the picture)
To be fair, for once, I doubt Ian and Davie were expecting to commentate on a brilliant Celtic win and performance. Scottish football was supposed to have collapsed by now not have a team competing well in the Champions League. I don’t want some EPL type cheerleading from our pundits but nowhere in Scotland do we have a Gary Neville level (Neville level? That’s a Bowie song isn’t it?) of insight into our games. In fact Celtic have a real chance to do that now, with Gregor Kyle moving to the Daily Record, a vacancy has arisen and it would be fantastic if they went for someone different to what they have just now. The match analysis and general output you get from Celtic TV is a tired format but they can’t seem to get beyond interviewing each other or swapping roles in the commentary box. Nor can they ever commentate on a game where they imitate someone describing The Grand National.
Celtic now are pushing the envelope for the media in general. By now, most of them were supposed to be talking about falling attendances and stale football, not wins in the Champions League, great additions to the league and young talent bursting through. Put bluntly, most of them haven’t a clue how Celtic have managed to get a lot stronger despite the death of Rangers. Why? Because it never at any stage was an option in their minds. Closed as they are.
Celtic are on the verge of a bright new era, it’ s been coming, anyone who knows football can see that. Yet we are still treated to anything from bewliderment to total apathy from a media so self-serving that they will, eventually, claim it was all down to them. Similarly when we turn on ESPN, we will have Derek Rae and Steven Craigan sitting there like professional fans of our opposition and willing anything to go in our net so that they can talk up the pluckiness of a Ross County or Inverness.
It was only a month ago that Jim Traynor lambasted Celtic for playing Inter Milan, Ajax and Real Madrid as he could not see the point of us playing these games against opposition. I bet he still can’t see it.
We did have against Helsingborgs, after a tremendously professional Celtic performance at Celtic Park, a half hour post match Radio Scotland debate where people like Murdo MacLeod tried to find any negative they could about Celtic qualifying for the Champions League.
It was so bad that they actually made Kenny Shiels sound positive that night.
Part of this is the old “ABC” (Anyone But Celtic) attitude but a lot of it comes down to poor knowledge, lack of any basic research and the inability to provide any new insight.
We seemed to have rid ourselves of the dinosaur managers in the SPL, now it’s time to do the same with the pundits from the media.
Even that circumstance would proabably have Craig Paterson telling us that Ally McCoist was able to do it despite the severe pressure he’s been under…
Paul (twitter @paullarkin74)