Celtic have come under fire for their refusal to grant media access to regional newspapers.
In recent weeks The Courier (Dundee), Perthshire Advertiser and Kilmarnock Standard have been refused access to Celtic Park to cover the visit of the clubs in their area.
No explanation has been given for the decisions despite those publications being given access to away matches elsewhere in the SPFL.
The decision to block access for local publishers adds to the decision not to make live streams available on Pay Per View which restricts viewing down to Celtic Season Ticket holders and international subscribers to Celtic TV.
There is clearly plenty of capacity for reporters to do their job with The Courier and Kilmarnock Standard only interested in contact and reaction from the away club rather than pestering for access to Celtic players.
Hold The Front Page ( a website covering media across the UK) reports:
Lochlin Highet, sports editor at the Standard, revealed on Saturday he had been denied a press pass for the following day’s match. Posting on Twitter, Lochlin wrote: “There should never, ever be a situation where fans have no way of watching their team in a Scottish Premiership match. Very poor stuff from everyone involved. Football is about the fans.”
Celtic are currently second in the Scottish Premiership and are in pursuit of their 10th league title in a row. Courier sports writer Eric Nicolson, pictured, told HTFP Celtic had been the only club to deny a press pass to the newspaper since football had re-started in Scotland after the outbreak of coronavirus.
He said: “It was particularly frustrating on this occasion because it was a Sunday afternoon match, which wasn’t televised, and we are a daily newspaper.
“Also, St Johnstone were attempting to make a bit of club history by extending an unbeaten run to 11 matches (which they did). Not only were we knocked back for accreditation for the game itself, Celtic didn’t provide a link to watch their live stream.
“It was the same for my colleague at the Perthshire Advertiser, meaning there was no ‘away’ media representation at Parkhead that afternoon and no official way of watching the match. We have a very good relationship with St Johnstone, who were as helpful as they could be to give us access to the manager and a player after the game, but the way in which we would normally cover a match was undoubtedly compromised.”
National newspapers all have access to Celtic matches despite some, like The Times having print circulation less than The Courier which covers the whole of Tayside. According to the latest figures, January to June 2020 The Courier had an average daily circulation of 28,895. The Times sells around 20,000 copies per day in Scotland.
Neil knows he can’t go on losing games indefinitely but he will also not be thrown to the wolves just because of the demands of a bunch of fans with an enormous sense of entitlement.