Torn – Is Glasgow a Binary City?



He’s not a happy man, John that I work with.

I wonder why?

On Friday he seemed to be buoyant, looking forward to the weekend. A quiet night on Friday as he had a flying lesson on Saturday and was saving himself for a big day out at the football and celebrating on Sunday.

John’s a Rangers fan, or a Sevco fan if you like to wind him up about the fact that his original team have went into liquidation and the team in blue that play out of Ibrox are not the same team that he has supported man and boy.

On Friday, he had a spring in his step, lunch time was full of phrases like “We’re back” and “This is the most I’ve looked forward to an Old Firm game in years”.

John’s attitude, probably like most who see the world through blue-tinted glasses is that Celtic haven’t been performing at their best ( true) and that Rangers have had better recent performances ( possibly) and that over the 8 games since Christmas Rangers were the form team and had beaten St Johnstone 3-0 where Celtic could only draw 0-0 against them.

He was in full-on mode .. upbeat, confident and on a roll.

Truth be told, I was more nervous about this game than I have been for any game against Rangers since they were reformed from the assets that Charles Green bought from the insolvency administrators.

Would they be able to beat us at their ground with 45,000 home supporters baying for “Fenian blood”?

My heart said no, but my head wasn’t as confident with a 60/40 likelihood that Celtic would win. Much less than previous games were I had no doubt that we would win, or at least not get beat.

Is that the same thing?

I can handle a draw. But getting beat by your biggest rivals stings.

Glasgow isn’t exactly a binary city,  it’s more 1’s, 0s and Nulls.

For many people,   you’re a Tim or a Hun or nothing and if you’re nothing then you’re viewed suspiciously by either side and assumptions are made from your upbringing and attitude to put you in one box or the other.

So you might as well be something.

But in reality its not as simple as that.  there are many people who really could not give a toss about football or religion and wish that the lot of them would pack up and go elsewhere.

Add to that,  the growing number of immigrants to the city who do not have the historic loyalties which cause this unholy rivalry to be the car-crash spectacle that it has become.

Some people are too involved,  too close to it,  that they lose all sense of perspective.  That they think that its all about “us” and “them”.   Completely unaware that there is so much more to life out there and lots of people who don’t give a fuck.

Did you see the game?

A Dedrick Boyata fuck-up within three minutes gave Rangers the advantage and had their fans in full voice. “Hello, hello …” … Yeah whatever.

I’m not going to comment on the full game, that’s available elsewhere by guys who write about football and tactics much better than I.

Celtic equalised from an exquisite Tom Rogic strike in 11 minutes only to lose another badly defended goal shortly afterwards.

It was an exciting game, very tense but thankfully Celtic scored an equaliser just before the break to ease the half time nerves.

The second half started and it was a full on battle from both teams until Simonvic got himself sent off for a stupid elbow 10 minutes into the restart.

Was it nasty? Deliberate? Violent conduct?

Not at all, but he put his elbow up when there was no need and although it was soft, I’d have wanted the red-card if it had been the other way around.

Of course, that would never happen with this little naff of a linesman who happens to be a Tory MP and no doubt allegiance to the team in blue.

It would have been a game-changer and to an extend it was, but not as expected, fortunately the Celtic manager Brendan Rodgers re-arranged the team, bringing on defender Hendry for midfielder Rogic and swapping midfielder Forrest for attacker Edward.

In my house, after the sending off, my son and I are on our feet standing in front of the tv for the rest of the game.

It was tense-stuff and at this point it could go either way, that was until at 69 minutes, Edward scored with a sublime strike, curving the ball into the postage stamp top-right corner of the net from just inside the left hand corner of the penalty box.

Is it possible to say that the house erupted with just the two of us watching the game?

We were loud enough that my daughter Claire took a break from her studies and came downstairs to see what was going on.

Rangers had one last chance where their £11 million pound striker … ( stop laughing at the back ) .. Alfredo Morelos missed an open goal from three yards out, hitting the ball of the post with the goal-keeper Bain still lying prone from the parrying the previous strike into the path of Morelos when he should have put it past the post.

The rest is history.

Celtic effectively won the league yesterday, their seventh SPL title in succession. I don’t see this stopping anytime soon, particularly not with the financial situation at Ibrox where they recently took a £3million loan from the lenders of last resort as their directors are no longer funding the project.

This was their big chance to get within 3 points of Celtic with one more Glasgow Derby to play this season and although Celtic have one game in hand against Dundee at Celtic Park, the possibility of catching up with the champions was giving the Rangers support hope.

Unfortunately Celtic won and all that hope has disappeared as Celtic are now 9 points ahead with a game in hand and a far superior goal difference.

Game over.

Arriving at work today, my colleague Craig mentioned that John had already said he wasn’t looking forward to me rubbing his nose in it, waxing lyrically about Celtic performance yesterday and reminding him of his unfounded claims from Friday.

At lunch time, Craig, John and I sitting in the canteen, I could feel his anxiety, I could feel that he would be happy for me to say something and get it over with.

But like Celtic captain Scott Brown said in his post-match interview. We don’t make claims, we do our talking on the pitch.

Last night, Glasgow had some incidents, Celtic Striker Scott Sinclair being verbally abused by a few Rangers fan in the BA lounge at Glasgow airport. The pub that a friend was drinking in having its windows smashed by a group of Rangers supporters and bottles thrown indiscriminately at the customers.

Consider the following poster from the officially sanctioned Rangers fans group The Union Bears, who published a leaflet calling for a march against the “Fenians” … Clearly anti Irish/Catholic racism.


The only reason that their marchers are hiding their faces is because they know that they are in the wrong as they make their Nazi or Red Hand Of Ulster salutes.


Compare the above behaviour with the poster “Torn” above by Kelly Coyle who won the art competition ran by the Nil By Mouth anti-sectarian group. I think the poster is a great representation of how sectarianism can divide families with children uncertain of where their loyalties should lie.

Glasgow may have some history and divided loyalties, but some people really need a bit of perspective.

It’s a game of football for fucks sake.



2 thoughts on “Torn – Is Glasgow a Binary City?

    1. You’re most welcome Kelly, I wondered if you’d see this and hoped you’d approve.

      I really like your painting and think it says a lot about kids who experience divided loyalties and feel pressured by it.

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