The incredibly petty excuses rivals have for pulling out of Celtic derby

By John McGinley

March 31, 2022

It’s official, Celtic won’t be playing against Rangers in Australia this November.

The Ibrox club released a statement to that effect earlier today citing the fact that organisers were “unwilling to fulfil their commitments to Rangers”, which definitely seems like one side of a double-edged story.

Their collective meltdown, from supporters to shareholders, over this Australian jaunt has amused Celtic fans for weeks, so it was no real surprise the club eventually pulled out.

Photo by ANDY BUCHANAN/AFP via Getty Images

The reasons briefed to the press though? As petty as they come. Sky Sports report Rangers ended their contract due to several concerns including the failure to use the brand ‘Old Firm’ and the timing of announcements.

Is that enough to kiss goodbye to a multi-million-pound fee?

Let’s not forget Rangers tried to talk this up as a worthwhile venture. James Bisgrove gave a detailed interview on the event to club media, insisting this was the best thing for the future of the club. That’s changed because of beef over the use of ‘Old Firm’?

We all know the real reason – they were harangued by a support who hated the idea of playing the role of supporting act in a tournament almost entirely marketed around Ange Postecoglou and Celtic.

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The time of this particular announcement is funny in its own right. They couldn’t exactly have done this next week off the back of a derby humbling on Sunday could they? That would’ve been a bigger PR disaster. Clearly they’re trying to get ahead of a 50/50 clash this weekend.

Could you imagine how it would have looked to pull out of this tournament staring down the barrel of a league title defeat to the man their support ridiculed less than a year ago? This is a damage limitation exercise in that context.

Thankfully Celtic seem intent on charging on with the Australia proposals and we can look forward to a much more relaxed and enjoyable trip now. Hopefully we hear of who Rangers’ replacements will be soon.

We don’t need them and never did. They can latch on to another club’s appeal.

In other news, Report: Rivals’ top scorer sent to injury specialist in London ahead of Sunday Celtic derby.