Imagine the scene.
You’ve got a Scottish newspaper or radio/ TV show to fill with football-related items.
You look at the weekend’s fixtures and note that as well as there being a substantial league programme, there are also two Scottish Cup semi-finals taking place, featuring the holders and the three top sides in the Premiership.
Celtic are chasing a Treble, Aberdeen are looking to win their first Scottish Cup in a long time to cement their resurgence of recent years, Sevco are seeking their first ever major trophy, and Hibs are (were!) looking to repeat their remarkable triumph of 2016.
What’s more, all of the sides have sizeable followings and managers with a point to prove. So, in short, the semi-final line-up is very tasty. With plenty of angles to cover and stories to tell.
The Glasgow Derby is undoubtedly the more attention-grabbing of the two ties, bringing together as it does the two biggest-supported sides in Scotland and containing intriguing sub-plots around Brendan Rodgers, Pedro Caixinha, Scott Brown, questions about the standard of refereeing, and the relative form of the two sides.
Cup semi-finals are nearly always – on paper at least – absolute crackers and something to look forward to. This particular set of semi-finals is perhaps above average in terms of the sense of anticipation that surrounds them.
So, overall, if you worked in the press you are likely to find that there is plenty to say about the games, and a willing audience who wants to hear it.
All of which begs the question of why oh why oh why do some outlets seem to think that the most appropriate way to cover the semi-finals is to overwhelmingly focus on only one of them and produce output which goes something like this:
“Old Firm, Old Firm, Old Firm, Old Firm, Old Firm, Old Firm, Old Firm, Old Firm, Old Firm, Old Firm, Old Firm, Old Firm, Old Firm, Old Firm, Old Firm, Old Firm, Old Firm, Old Firm, Old Firm, Old Firm, Old Firm, Old Firm, Old Firm, Old Firm, Old Firm, Old Firm, Old Firm, Old Firm, Old Firm, Old Firm, Old Firm, Old Firm, Old Firm, Old Firm, Old Firm, Old Firm”.
It won’t take you more than half a second of searching on Google to find the sort of articles to which I am referring.
I am inclined to suggest that this rampant Old Firmery is simply the product of a lack of imagination. Much of the press has ‘always’ covered Scottish football like this and they have little appetite for turning off the autopilot. Why produce interesting takes on the semi-finals when there is some familiar old crap that you can simply dust down?
The alternative is to suspect that some truly spectacular liquidation-denial is occurring. A systematic attempt to pretend that something we all saw didn’t actually occur. The problem with that, of course, is that it insults our intelligence and mocks 276 stiffed creditors (including every taxpayer in the U.K.) in a manner which suggests that Scottish football is some sort of moral vacuum which is to be cherished!
But surely no one working at a mainstream media outlet would have the nerve to do such a thing, would they?
Whatever the truth, the liberal deployment of Old Firmery is piss-taking of the highest order, which deserves our utter contempt.