Dunfermline captain Paul Paton certainly won’t be back cheering on Celtic at Parkhead anytime soon, but he did leave on Saturday with a Hoops top.
The Rangers-supporting midfielder has long been associated as a fan of the Ibrox club. He’s faced Celtic a variety of times throughout his career, and has always been a tad over-the-top against us. He certainly leaves no stone unturned, and his physicality when playing the Hoops tends to crank up a notch.
But some Hoops fans may be surprised by the classy response from Paton to Saturday’s game.
The Northern Irishman may have been facing Celtic for the last time in his career. And, speaking to the Evening Times, he talked up the Parkhead atmosphere as well as the Celtic jersey he managed to nab at full-time.
“I thought, ‘what an effort, we’re going to get to penalties’ but Celtic being champions find a way and they did through probably the best player in the country.
“To come here, big stadium, I’m a Rangers fan but I feel myself singing the Celtic songs because my pals that are Celtic fans sing them.
“The boys might never play here again, it might be my last time at Parkhead so I made sure I enjoyed it and I even asked Callum McGregor for his top which is a bit of a surprise. If this is my last time, I’m proud of it.”
Paul Paton deserves credit for holding back
Paton has certainly been known to take the deludamol from time to time. His comments back in 2015 about Celtic “manipulating people” was a particular highlight (The Herald).
But for his comments here alone, he deserves a pat on the back. There wasn’t the bitterness some may have expected from him. And, considering the heartache that must’ve consumed the Dunfermline players, Paton has done well to keep a level head.
The midfielder has praised Celtic, Parkhead, and even managed to nab a Callum McGregor jersey. He also believes that James Forrest is indeed the best in the country. You can have a go at him for previous comments in the past. But on this occasion, Paton has spoken a lot of sense.
Not everyone at Dunfermline will be feeling so gracious after a tough loss. It would’ve been easy for Paton and co to come out and slam Celtic as being lucky etc. But, unlike their supporters, there’s been a real air of class about how the Pars have conducted themselves during and after the tie.
They have a right to feel that we were there for the taking. It’s the closest Dunfermline could come to winning at Parkhead in a long time. But, at the end of the day, Celtic did end up having too much quality.
Paton, at the very least, has shown plenty of class on this occasion to acknowledge it.