Was the media's attack on Tom Boyd deflection over Rangers' UEFA ban?
Just three days ago, I questioned what the media were up to with their incessant targeting of former Celtic skipper Tom Boyd over comments he made about the abysmal refereeing performance of known Rangers fan John Beaton.
I asked what they were deflecting away from and produced an email that named BBC journalist Tom English as one who would gladly deflect from real stories to take up articles targeting individuals to suit the hierarchy at Rangers.
Now we know.
In 2011, while working at The Scotsman, a leaked email reported that English told the Rangers hierarchy via Gordon Hay that he would gladly take a pop at Paul Murray in a forthcoming column for the newspaper - which led to the Irishman being given several nice wee puff piece interviews with former Rangers 1872 owner Craig Whyte [the man who killed Rangers].
Jump forward to 2019 and English’s and the media’s incessant attack on former Celtic captain Tom Boyd co-commentating on Celtic TV criticising referee John Beaton over his refereeing display or lack thereof.
During the Betfred Cup tie against Dunfermline, Boyd said: "That’s a penalty. It’s a penalty kick. His arms are up in an unnatural position and it’s a stonewall penalty. And once again, Celtic denied by decisions by the referee, and the referee has bottled that.
"That’s an absolutely scandalous decision by John Beaton. What does John Beaton not know about the new rules? If he doesn’t know that’s a penalty he should not be in the middle of the park refereeing a football game. He’ll probably be welcome down his pub tonight again."
He added: "I’m not mystified. John Beaton, it’s obviously a pre-meditated decision not to give that penalty because it was so late in the game."
However, English claimed that Celtic were effectively agreeing with Boyd’s comments when questioning the Scottish FA looking into what was said.
Speaking on BBC Radio Scotland, English claimed: "What’s worse is Celtic’s statement today. They have now effectively agreed with Boyd’s view that Beaton was Dunfermline’s 12th man and that he denied Celtic a penalty in a premeditated fashion.
“That’s the most serious thing here, it’s an official endorsement from the club. So Boyd’s words that Beaton was operating against them becomes Celtic’s official line.
“Let’s think about that for a second. Refs can be slammed as being rubbish. Fine. Refs can have their decisions criticised. Fine. Refs make awful blunders in this country and other countries. No doubt about it.
“But a blundering referee is not a biased referee, and this is the claim here. Not just from Boyd, but seemingly from Celtic as well. It’s ridiculous. It demeans Celtic, it really demeans Celtic this nonsense."
No such condemnation was forthcoming from the likes of English over Steven Gerrard’s comments about Rangers being on the wrong end of decisions for years after his first game in charge at Ibrox when they drew 1-1 with Aberdeen.
No punishment for Gerrard was forthcoming from the Scottish FA either and yet the media ramped up their campaign to get Boyd punished.
We also had Neil ‘Uncle Tim’ Cameron write about his dead Granda turning in his grave over a Green Brigade banner because it had the word Fenian in it - despite it being lyrics from the Celtic symphony.
All of this was at a time when Rangers quite clearly knew they were facing a UEFA disciplinary hearing and their PR team clearly wanted to play damage limitation by trying to make the headlines in the run up all about Celtic, their fans and their club ambassador. Albeit I doubt they expected they would be ordered to close a section of the stadium.
Questions will now be asked of the Scottish mainstream media on their coverage of Rangers’ Anyone Everyone campaign and if they will question the Rangers hierarchy on the timing of such a campaign just FOUR days after the racist behaviour and sectarian singing of their fans at the St.Joseph’s game.
There is no such thing as coincidence when Rangers are involved.