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DAVID POTTER'S CELTIC VIEW – WIN FOR TOMMY, CELTIC

By David Potter

It has been a week of profound sadness after the death of one of Celtic's favourite sons, Tommy Burns. Yet it has been a week that has rebounded so much to the credit of Celtic Football Club and all that our Club stands for.

The death of the kindly, dignified, gentlemanly and hugely popular Tommy Burns has resulted in tears being shed amongst the Faithful for a man who epitomised our Club. Even Tommy's rivals are upset at his passing and full marks to those in blue and in claret and amber who joined in the minute's applause on Saturday at Fir Park - that did you credit! But the Celtic fans' reaction to Tommy's death has been such an eloquent comment on the Club and its supporters. This is no ordinary Football Club.

I must also comment on the sack of Manchester in midweek, which is a blow from which Rangers will find it difficult to recover in terms of credibility, as accredited Scottish journalists talk about things like “poison at the core” of that institution.

Let us contrast the 2008 UEFA Cup Final with that of 2003. The results were equally disappointing for the fans of the Scottish clubs, but on one occasion, the defeated fans won awards and earned the love of the whole nation of Spain for their friendly and dignified behaviour. On the other, the name of Scotland was dragged through the mud to such an extent that a young man who had lived peacefully in Bristol for two years found himself racially abused for being “a Scottish bastard” - and not always in a humorous manner either! In vain did he say, “Not in my name!” for the flags were undeniably those of St. Andrew and indeed the Union Jack. Although he was able to tell them from his classical background that in the 5th and 6th centuries A.D. civilisation was destroyed by a tribe called the Huns. Seldom have Rangers fans earned that name so deservedly - and let us hope that they never ever are allowed to travel in large numbers to a city like Seville! What would happen then to these beautiful Catholic cathedrals?

And on the field of play, things have taken a turn in our direction, but not yet a decisive one necessarily for the destination of the SPL Championship, as the stern challenge of Dundee United must be tackled on Thursday night's reckoning. Craig Levein is not the sort of man who will order his players to lie down to avenge the villainy of Mike McCurry, and it will be a grim fight for Celtic at Tannadice.

Pittodrie, where Rangers travel to face Aberdeen on the final day of the League season, is divided. On the one hand, there is a management team which, being blunt about it, is lukewarm about beating Rangers. But there is also Zander ‘Tim' Diamond, a squad of players who will feel that they owe their fans something after a painful season, which included a miserable collapse to Queen of the South, and a support who, as they keep telling us, hate Rangers more than we do. Well, the city of Manchester might be winning that particular prize at the moment, but there can be little doubt that a Celtic victory would be greeted with a degree of pleasure throughout Europe after what they all saw on their TV screens within the past few days.

But even in the worst case scenario, things will not be all that bad. The word “quadruple” now cannot be used, the word “treble” is unlikely and we will all become token Doonhamers next Saturday to prevent the use of the word “double”. So they might even be left with a “single” and that achieved by a penalty shoot-out in the League Cup Final, referee assistance and a deliberate handball in the semi-final.

Thursday night will be one of the most important nights for a long time. Let us hope that Gordon Strachan and his men have better control of their emotions than most of us have.

Do it for Tommy, Celts! In fact, do it for decency and civilisation as well!

David Potter

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