Celtic reaction: Republicanism has its place; role for Abildgaard; Postecoglou’s misstep
Republicanism has its place
All polling evidence suggests - like many of the weighty matters of the day - Scotland is pretty much split down the middle between royalists and republicans. Yet, in the mourning period following the death of the Queen, those in the latter camp have been disenfranchised from the public discourse as critical analysis of the institution has been largely avoided. Yet, republicanism isn’t a crank, lunatic fringe position. In their youth, both the current Prime Minister and the leader of the opposition expressed anti-monarchist views. Not that you would know it as a modern affliction has been witnessed in the past 11 days. In a polarised world, it often now seems not enough to disagree with opposing opinions; instead, all attempts must be made to delegitimise the very holding of them.
Into this context can be placed the furore over Celtic supporters’ protest with banner and song during the minute applause for the Queen in Paisley. As a club with Irish Catholic origins, it is hardly radical that this constituency is implacably opposed to an hereditary bloodline that confers patronage and privilege in a political dimension at the exclusion of those of this religion. A centrifugal force of the establishment, the UK monarchy is inescapably wrapped up with empire, imperialism and colonialism - predilections that have reaped a bitter harvest in Ireland and so many parts of the world, even if, in these islands, there is denial over that.
Unlike the distasteful songs by Dundee United and Hibs fans that gloried in the Queen’s death the day previously, the banners that stated ‘if you hate the royal family, clap your hands’, and the accompanying singing of those lines, was not personalised. It was deliberately holistic, and darkly smart for an applause tribute. It called out the concept of sovereignty. It was confrontational and would have been offensive to the great many, but such challenging activities still fall within a notable realm - the realm of free speech.
A role for Oliver Abildgaard
Celtic looked both laboured and lightweight as St Mirren, with adept application and aggression, hustled them into submission. They have precious few muscular performers - especially when, as was the case as their 38-game unbeaten league run came to a crashing halt, they do not have tank-like centre-back Cameron Carter-Vickers available. The deficiency also seemed particularly pronounced in the centre of the pitch. It can be assured, then, that in the international fortnight Ange Postecoglou will be going all-out to bring the fitness of recent midfield loan signing Oliver Abilgaard up to speed. Dynamic and powerful, the 6ft 4in Norwegian would offer the Celtic manager a valuable option across the hectic schedule to come post international break. A period that will bring 13 games in six weeks, four of these outings that will determine the club’s fate in the Champions League.
A Celtic support in awe of Ange Postecoglou started to give the impression they think he walks on water. The Australian’s part in a wretched performance by his team was the equivalent to getting his feet wet. The decision to start without Jota, Matt O’Riley, Reo Hatate and Josip Juranovic in Paisley appeared excessive. In fairness to him, he was alive to that possibility in his post-match. Asked if the six changes from Celtic’s starting line-up for the midweek draw against Shakhtar Dontesk in Warsaw had affected his team’s rhythm he allowed a “potentially” to hang in the air. There was no potentially about it.
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