So it looks as though the old guard of honour topic is back on the agenda this year, but not in the way Celtic would’ve liked.
Yes, the Hoops are unfortunately only several games away from conceding the title. It’s been the most embarrassing pursuit of the 10 imaginable, and fans have grown distant from their club due to a host of on and off-field issues.
It’s all now led to this. If Celtic drop any points in their next two matches, Rangers could be champions before they even visit Parkhead. You could forgive some fans for not being too fussed if it happens in that manner. After all, the thought of Steven Gerrard’s side winning the title at Parkhead is unthinkable.
However, if it does, the guard of honour nonsense will pipe up again. Remember? It was that thing Rangers ultimately decided not to give Celtic in 2019 after we had won the league.
Indeed, Celtic went to Ibrox having scooped up eight-in-a-row at Pittodrie a week previous. The guard of honour subject was on the table back then. There was plenty of debate surrounding it, with even Kris Boyd believing Rangers should’ve applauded Celtic onto the Ibrox turf. In the end, they decided not to [Daily Mail].
In recent weeks, Neil Lennon’s comments from that period have been thrown out there once again. The Daily Record have today published the Celtic manager’s 2019 verdict on the breaking of tradition. Here’s what Lennon had to say at the time:
“It’s a break from tradition. I think we would have done it if the shoe had been on the other foot. But it’s not a major issue. It would have been a touch of class if they did it. I’m disappointed they are not. Celtic would have done it.”
Celtic guard of honour for Rangers? Rivals threw that chance away
Now, those comments are being used to beat Celtic with. Sort of a dig to try and get us to applaud our rivals onto the Celtic Park pitch should they win the league before then.
However, Celtic have nothing to prove. In fact, the Hoops reportedly offered to give Rangers a guard of honour back in 1976 before it had been vetoed by the police [Scottish Sun]. Given Celtic had been playing Rangers one game after they had been crowned champions, it made sense and was a classy move.
But why on earth should Celtic now be made to do it given Rangers’ decision back in 2019? Why offer them any more respect than they provided us two years ago?
Rangers fans would love nothing more than to be applauded onto the pitch by the Hoops. But it was their own club that blew their chance of it by refusing us that same courtesy.
Let’s not turn this around on Lennon and act as though he’s failing to meet his word. Celtic may very well have done it and have offered to do so in the past. But now? We owe Rangers absolutely nothing, and it’s disrespectful to even suggest Lennon’s side should do it given the previous snub.
So spare us the nonsense. Rangers will be deserved champs this season. They’ll likely be applauded onto the pitch by several other Premiership sides between now and the end of the campaign. But their bitterness showed towards us in 2019, and there’s now no reason for Celtic to satisfy them with a level of decency they refused to show us.