Rival fans are getting desperate with Celtic winter break myth; here's why they're wrong
Judging by certain corners of social media – where nuance and debate goes to die – Celtic had the winter break moved because we’re “scared” of Rangers.
It’s a bizarre take that’s made the rounds since Celtic suggested an advanced break, during a Covid-19 crisis that has affected several clubs.
Our opposition on Wednesday night, St Mirren, wanted a postponement [Sky Sports]. In the Championship and Leagues 1 and 2, games are getting cancelled because the squad numbers just aren’t there.
So, Celtic, and plenty of other clubs in the Scottish top-flight, backed the idea of just moving the winter break. Especially with capacities being capped at 500. If games are likely to be postponed, and there’s a three week respite coming into play soon, it’s basic logic.
Yet, Rangers fans insist it’s because Celtic have injury problems, and that we’re scared of facing them in our own ground. That’s patently nonsense, of course. It utterly diminishes the product to have barely anyone at Celtic Park when, if we wait a bit, fans could have their season tickets honoured and the match would be more of a spectacle.
That’s the idea, at least. Yes, Celtic obviously benefit from some time off, with the injury issues we have. We’re hardly the only ones with injuries, though, and it’s not an argument that bears any weight whatsoever.
Celtic aren’t seeking some kind of unfair advantage here. It’s bigger than us; it’s the whole league. That they were in the minority against the idea says it all.
Putting a league-wide problem into a Celtic v Rangers context misses the point entirely
Again, it’s a total lack of nuance here. Surely most reasonable football fans would see the restrictions on football over the next few weeks and think “well, there’s an obvious solution here”. It’s no surprise at all that the vote went the way it did.
The Boxing Day fixtures will be extremely grim in a sense, with the empty seats reminding us of how far we’ve come, and what can be lost again.
Football isn’t the same sport without fans in to watch it. It doesn’t matter what shirt you wear, either; practically empty stadiums ahead of a 3-week break is hardly the state of play that most clubs or supporters would want.
It’s worth remembering that, should the game go as planned, Celtic will be without Kyogo and Rogic in the game against Rangers. That’s hardly seeking an advantage, now, is it?
If anything, it’s extremely small-time to have wanted the status quo to remain. It essentially downplays the role of supporters. Instead of suggesting Celtic are “running scared” of Rangers, I’d be asking why my club didn’t think of us if I was an attendee at Ibrox.
It’s typical that a common sense approach has become so partisan, so quickly. And so utterly needlessly. Yes, not everyone was going to agree on the best way forward. But surely everyone running a Scottish Premiership side could’ve seen that waiting a wee while to see how things go was better than playing to cavernous, semi-empty stadia.
Apparently not. In any case, the league have made their decision. The Rangers narrative on Celtic and our motives won’t go away, because these things play out in exhaustive, tedious detail.
However, it’s an argument that’s not really based on much of anything. As is often the case.