Date: 6th January 2019 at 8:05pm
Written by:

For over a decade Celtic have been hoping that the slurs against would just go away, that fans of the Ibrox clubs would tire of them and concentrate on hating something else.

That policy has failed spectacularly, when something needs addressed there is no hiding place.

Last weekend, shortly before the current Ibrox club remembered to pay their respects to 66 fans of the previous club that died in 1971 some Stein banners were unfurled from the Sandy Jardine Stand, the area closest to the Celtic support.

While the old club washed their hands of 66 deaths created by their own lack of interest in health and safety, Stein was out doing what he could for the dead and the injured. Inside the Blue Room of dignity the most incredible deflection strategy was underway.

Stein attended a number of funerals of those that died.

Fast forward to the closing days of 2018 and you have the bizarre sight of directors Stewart Robertson and Graeme Park laying wreaths at the foot of a statue to John Greig when the real McCoy is standing next to them.

While Dave King enjoyed the sunshine of South Africa Peter Lawwell and Ian Bankier paid their respects to the fans who were killed with their families ignored over the events of 1971.

With the formalities over it was back inside the poison of Ibrox as hatred for Catholics, the Irish, Leigh Griffiths and Stein was celebrated with Park and Robertson reveling in the atmosphere.

The sight of season ticket holders unfurling banners about Stein went uncommented on. Not a word, not a public apology from Ibrox directors to the family of Scotland’s greatest ever manager.

Back in 2007 Peter Lawwell explained Celtic’s policy to The Herald: “It is a poisonous, repugnant, despicable and even cowardly campaign. He is one of Celtic’s greats, Scottish football’s in fact, and this campaign is nothing short of disgraceful.

“In the context of this week in Scotland, when we came close to qualifying for the European Championships, it should be remembered that this man died managing Scotland, taking them to the World Cup finals.

“We haven’t responded because we didn’t want to dignify it with public statement, but we have been working behind the scenes and have spoken with the family, who are content with the way we are dealing with it.

“If the problem escalates, we will have no option but to do something else. It is totally disrespectful to one of Celtic’s favourite sons and we are not taking it lightly.”

With not a word coming from Ibrox it is surely time for Celtic to change their policy, the approach of looking the other way has failed spectacularly.

As Lanarkshire men Graeme and Douglas Park will know all about the legendary status of the former miner from Burnbank.

Celtic supporters clubs have voted with the wallets in terms of the business interests that the Park family has, you won’t find any Park’s of Hamilton coaches taking Celtic fans to matches.

Perhaps it’s time for Celtic to make their feelings known to the vice-chairman of the Ibrox club or will it take a card display from the Blue Order at Celtic’s next visit before something is done to respect the Stein family?