I see that Aberdeen gave Celtic a ‘Guard of Honour’ before today’s game.
First of all, let me say ‘fair play’ to Aberdeen – who have been fantastic this season – for the gracious gesture.
However, I must admit that I find the issue of ‘Guards of Honour’ to be extremely tedious. It seems to have progressed from something that was ‘a nice gesture’ towards the League (or sometimes Cup) Winners, to something that is now a perpetual source of angst.
– Fans of the winning club sometimes worry whether the opposition team will ‘show respect’.
– Fans of the opposing club probably prefer not to see their lads applauding the efforts of their rivals.
– Media seizes on an opportunity to run cheap copy about the above angst.
And then of course, when the ‘Guard of Honour’ takes place, fans of the opposing team inevitably exercise their right to boo. Thereby triggering another round of collective angst!
I must admit to having a lot of sympathy with Derek McInnes’ comments on the issue this week.
The last time I checked, Scottish Football wasn’t rugby (although Italian defenders in the six-yard box at Celtic Park on Champions League night have occasionally given me cause to wonder…).
In rugby, there is a long culture of something that looks very much like ‘Guards of Honour’. Particularly in applauding your opponents off the pitch. It happens at the end of most games at all levels of the sport.
Note that I just said “off the pitch“. It remains a matter of some bemusement to me why on earth anyone would want to deferentially applaud their opponents ON to the pitch before a game. Even if those opponents have just won the League.
As a fan, I want my team always to be pumped up for the game and ready to (fairly) hammer the opposition. I don’t want them telling the opposition they are great!
If it was up to me, we would cut back on the ‘Guard of Honour’ pantomime. If we have to have it in football, let’s have it after the game. And a maximum of once. Preferably after the game when the trophy is to be awarded.
Frankly, I didn’t give a toss about the ‘Guard of Honour’ today. I only cared about the game between the two best sides in Scotland. Aberdeen would have a point to prove, and Celtic would have their title-winning credentials to reassert.
Celtic prevailed today, notching up their fourth win of the campaign against Aberdeen. That’s the league season right there. When push has come to shove, Celtic have got the results.
If I am brutally honest, that is all that matters to me as a fan. A ‘Guard of Honour’ is just pure window dressing. Maybe it means more to the players, but I can’t believe it looms large in their list of priorities.
Heaven knows Scottish Football doesn’t need another comparatively minor issue to get worked up about… There are plenty of huge issues to deal with instead!