It’s been over 48 hours since the Scottish Cup Final and its aftermath which shamed Scotland. A catalogue of failings by the authorities involved who now are, surprise surprise, charged with the responsibility of investigating themselves in order to establish what went wrong. Clearly we have learned very little from the lessons of Hillsborough and the need for independent investigation.
Of course we have had a powerful statement from Rangers on the matter calling for a full and independent enquiry. That statement was not only powerful, apparently it was “verbose, clunking and pitiful” to paraphrase the egotistical idiot which is Graham Spiers. Funnily enough the PFA Scotland, which also called for a full and independent enquiry did not draw the same criticism from the mercurial idiot. Perhaps he had at long last returned to his village.
Of course the latter’s statement did not criticise elements of the media which seem to have got so many journalists upset. BBC Scotland issued their own statement saying the Rangers criticism of their staff was “unwarranted”. One of those staff members – Stuart Cosgrove – was involved in a fairly acrimonious dust up on air with his co-presenter, Tam Cowan.
Let’s stop a minute here. Stuart Cosgrove wanted to play down, minimalise, avoid speaking about a set of circumstances which shamed us as a football nation, endangered and terrified spectators, saw players and staff verbally and physically abused, saw match officials forced to act as a cordon to protect the safety of players, criminal damage inflicted upon the national stadium – all before a watching world. Are we really better served by such an attitude of “Sweep sweep – nothing to see here move along?” As Roger Mitchell the former SPL chief commented to me on Twitter “And this is the bbc. The organ of record? Changed days”
Only in Scotland could a statement about civil disorder cause more discussion than the civil disorder itself – especially when the authors of that statement are Rangers.
Beyond the arguments of who did what to whom is a far more serious issue to be debated and that is the abject failure of crowd control on Saturday. It is absolutely tragic that over 48 hours after the event, a multitude of camera footage, photo stills, mobile phone footage as well as numerous eye witness accounts, many neutral and objective, we are still no further on than playing a blame game. Do people honestly believe that Rangers are making it up about staff being assaulted, spat upon and verbally abused? Are those journalists who witnessed this and have attested to same also lying?
The focus should be on why the Police were so ill prepared for what transpired, how effective are stewards when faced with a non-compliant crowd and most importantly how do we prevent a recurrence?
If Scotland thought Saturday afternoon was an embarrassment – I hate to think how the post-match post mortem looks to anyone looking in.