Another Hoopy Monday and the value of genuine journalism

Yesterday the good guys won at Hampden.

The final score was:

Football 3

Thuggery 0

Neil Lennon couldn’t bring himself to watch as Odsonne Édouard stepped up to take the penalty.

The young Frenchman was coolness personified, but the Irishman had the crushing weight of expectation squashing him into his seat.

Aberdeen’s game plan was self-evident from the get-go; break up Celtic’s rhythm even if that meant breaking bodies in green and white.

Dominic Ball didn’t give the referee a question to answer rather he sent him a final demand in the post.

It was a red letter job and Ryan Christie received a serious head injury.

The second yellow was itself lenient as it looked to me like a straight read any day of the week.

After that Lennon’s men kept their discipline and won it for their hospitalised teammate.

The “challenge” by Lewis Ferguson on Tom Rogic had the potential to be season-ending for the Australian.

Natural justice was served when the Wizard of Oz sent a laser-guided shot into to net beyond the excellent Joe Lewis.

In the end, the semi-final win for Celtic was a victory for sport.

Of course, the Hoops can expect a similarly agricultural opponent on May 25th.

It is remarkable that the Parkhead side are on the cusp of yet another domestic clean sweep.

If a good start is half the battle then Celtic experimented with self-inflicted failure before this season even started.

The shambolic summer transfer window, Boyata kicking the pram and creating Greek tragedy in Athens and the 11th-hour departure of Moussa Dembélé.

The January transfer window saw Celtic mainly bringing in loan deals to address the damage that was self-inflicted in the summer.

Then the champions lost their all-conquering manager in the most unsettling of ways at a crucial juncture in the title race.

Despite ALL of this another treble is still possible.

That, in itself, shows just how far ahead of the rest that Celtic are in Scotland.

Across the city, the Sevco High Command will have to serve up more moonbeams to the Ibrox klanbase.

Despite the facts on the ground The People still believe in the alchemy economics of Dave King.

Big Mike is in court today in London and he wants his money.

The Sevco car boot sale brought in much-needed revenue, but at a cost.

Now, we are about to find out the final bill on that one.

Yesterday the klan had their quintessentially British noses pressed up against the window as Celtic played Aberdeen.

Another season without silverware for the basket of assets.

Yet they remain credulous to any sleight of hand that the impecunious conjurer deploys from south of the Limpopo.

Of course, that is where the Fourth Estate has a role to play.

King should have been forensically called out from day one.

One of the central themes of the Ibrox saga over these years has been the massive failure of the chaps on the sports desks to hold power to account at Hampden and Ibrox,

Yesterday I did something rather atypical.

I bought newspapers.

It is a rare enough event that I think the last time it happened Rangers were still alive.

A massive hat tip to Mark Tighe and his colleagues in the Sunday Times.

If the meeting of the FAI goes as expected today then John Delaney is toast.

Once more, it was not the guys on the sports desks who served the public interest, but a hard news journo with a supportive editor.

What is required now is that Delaney is not a sacrificial bam, but that there is massive clear out at Abbotsown.

What the FAI are enduring now is what should have been visited upon the SFA in 2012.

The death of Rangers was a result of a lack of oversight lasting a decade.

The difference in the two stories is good journalism on the ground drilling down into the detail and defending their position in court if need be.

On March 16th Delaney launched an emergency High Court injunction to prevent the Sunday Times running with the story of the €100,000 bridging loan.

Thankfully Judge Anthony Barr ruled that there was “significant public interest” in the story.

Tighe’s follow up story yesterday on Delaney’s use of the FAI credit card was stunning.

Despite being on a salary of €360,000 as chief executive he used it to pay for duty-free purchases at airports, meals in his local pub in Wicklow and to make cash withdrawals of more than €6,000 in six months!

We only know this because of the work of Mark Tighe and his colleagues.

Hat tip.

By contrast, the Ibrox story has mainly been told by outsiders.

Alex Thomson of Channel 4 News, Roy Greenslade of the Guardian and a certain freelancer in Donegal.

With very few exceptions the local media in Glasgow should be sick with shame.

Of course, they’re not venality and mediocrity is a rather nasty cocktail.

Moreover, since the death of rangers in 2012 they’ve doubled down on their reliance on the Ibrox brand.

The reality is that Sevco are looking at another bill from Big Mike this week and only the size of other tab has to be decided in court.

Meanwhile, Mr Let’s Go has to plan his summer transfer business on the basis of the verbal assurances he received last week from a man once branded by a judge in South Africa as a “glib and shameless liar”.

Now there’s a story right there, but the chaps on the Glasgow sports desks observe the high-Level rules.

While they remain obedient there is still a role for outliers and outsiders in telling the truth about the Ibrox shitshow.

John Delaney must be wishing today that he had more compliant journos on his patch.

Have a great week!

Discover Phil’s dramatic play Rebellion