Issues continue on Celtic Pass to Paradise; "added value" was a myth

By Euan Davidson

January 28, 2021

If you were using the Pass to Paradise service last night, you’d be forgiven for not knowing that Celtic beat Hamilton 2-0.

Once again, the service left season ticket holders disappointed. Technical issues and dodgy commentary frustrated those who had shelled out over £600 to be able to watch Celtic this season. As it is, they’ve been left to bemoan a poor facility in a year where the club has been criticised constantly.

Of course, it’s not the club’s fault that Covid has made attending matches impossible. But being able to stream games competently is the least fans expect from a dismal season.

Production company Sunset+Vine were recruited by Celtic back in June. At the time, the club announced this partnership as being “exciting”. On paper, it appeared that way [Celtic FC]:

“Producers of BT Sport’s Europa League and SPFL coverage for a number of years, Sunset and Vine have an established track record of high quality, first-class sports coverage.

“Led by broadcasting experts who have worked on The FIFA World Cup, UEFA European Championships and the Olympics, we are confident that this partnership will provide excellent results and prove extremely popular with our supporters.”

Extremely popular with our supporters? Not so much, it turns out:

Former Celtic manager Ronny Deila, and assistant John Collins, now a Celtic TV pundit / (Photo by Jeff Holmes/Getty Images)

Celtic Pass to Paradise: not the added value fans expected

The fault may not necessarily lie at the door of Sunset+Vine. I know so little about the technical niceties of television production, specifically live broadcasting, that I’ve honestly no idea.

As for the product itself, when it worked? Peter Martin was on commentary duties, while Darren O’Dea continued as co-commentator. Former Celtic player O’Dea is a refreshing voice who provides genuine insight on the defensive side of the game.

Martin, not so much. The PLZ and former STV man was in full Celtic propaganda mode, describing Frimpong’s departure as “good business”. He was also criticised for overhyping the Bhoys’ display against Hamilton last night.

Michael Stewart, Chris Sutton and Rory Hamilton had been promised when the season started [Glasgow Times], but the popular trio have barely featured. Instead, ex-captain Stephen McManus and the divisive John Collins have provided analysis before, during and after matches.

The service, generally speaking, hasn’t been popular. Of course, a lot of that is contextual; when you can’t get the rush of being at Celtic Park, anything less feels disappointing. Still, though, the connection issues and dodgy commentary may feel like a slap in the face to Celtic supporters. Fans continue to invest so much in the club. Yet the product doesn’t deliver. We were promised added value, and simply haven’t been given it.

At least Celtic TV got one thing right: interviewing Ismaila Soro. That’s always – and we mean always – a good idea.