Anthony Stokes

“Being Irish probably doesn’t help either. It’s just the way it is up here.”

In those eight words Anthony Stokes of Celtic states a truth that many in the country of my birth would rather went uncommented upon.

“It’s just the way it is up here.”

Football is not the cause of anti-irish racism in Scotland, but it does provide it with a powerful arena.

Stokes ticks all the boxes in the anti-Irish Edwardian mind-set that still exists in Scotland.

Within that world view Stokes, his partner and their unborn child are fair game.

To a racist it all makes perfect sense.

These racist views were once common-sense in British cities a century ago.

They have vanished from England’s cultural landscape yet they remain stubbornly in place in many areas of Scotland.

The political class in Hollyrood remain locked into the sectarian framework and seem keen to “even things up” with the new legislation.

Until they recognise that they have a problem of anti-Irish racism then being Irish in Scotland will remain a cultural sin in the eyes of a shamefully large minority.