Lower-league chairmen fuming after today's SPFL meeting; Celtic involved

By David Walton

January 13, 2021

Earlier this morning, it had been reported that all 42 SPFL member clubs – Celtic included – were to take part in a scheduled meeting today.

The Daily Record reported that some of the main talking points would be the government’s proposed £20million bailout package, as well as the decision to shut down the lower leagues for three weeks.

It looked as though Celtic were going to be in for a grilling. With plenty of controversy surrounding their trip to Dubai, it wasn’t a great look that their Covid case came on the same day the lower leagues had to postpone.

And it looks as though whatever went on wasn’t pretty. Several lower-league chairmen have come out of the meeting absolutely furious. It appears this remains in relation to the league shut down with some having indirect digs at Celtic. Falkirk chairman Gary Deans believe his side has been punished for “recent failures” elsewhere.

As quoted by the BBC, Stenhousemuir chairman Iain McMenemy also had a pop, saying: “They’ve given us over as a sacrifice to appease an angry Scottish government because of problems that have happened elsewhere.

“I’m unhappy with the SPFL. They put out a statement saying they fully support the decision to suspend the leagues. They don’t have our full support. I’m not happy.

“We were never asked – the first we heard about this was when we got an email of the statement going out to the media.”

SPFL meeting shows lower-league clubs clearly left angry with Celtic

It appears Celtic’s relationships with the lower league clubs have certainly deteriorated then. Just yet another byproduct of the shambles that was the January Dubai trip.

Of course, it’s unfair to point the finger directly at the Hoops for this. You can blame us for many things, but the SFA and Scottish Government deciding to postpone League One downwards isn’t one of them.

SFA Chief Executive Ian Maxwell has already explained that our Dubai saga and the lower-league shutdown are two separate issues (The Scotsman). Scottish football chairmen must realise that the government is looking to tighten restrictions where they can. This was hardly a major surprise.

STV journalist Raman Bhardwaj has also disclosed some of the other questions asked at the meeting as well as anger over the general nature of how it was run:

If today’s meeting was meant to unite, it looks like it did the opposite. No reports have detailed as of yet what Celtic’s input into the session was.

But it’s clear that there’s a growing disconnect between the champions and the lower leagues. And why not? It sums up the season we’re having after all.

In other news, Celtic have been given a slight boost in the Alfie Doughty race, but they must move quickly.