Celtic continued their Hampden dominance on Sunday with a 3-0 victory over nine man Aberdeen. Including the coaching staff, the Dons had four people sent off, which doesn’t look pretty. The reason for Derek McInnes’ sending off, however, is wrong.
The Pittodrie boss was given his marching orders for reacting to sectarian abuse from sections of the Celtic support. It’s shocking this dark age stuff still persists, even more worrying is how regularly it occurs.
Despite this, McInnes told the media “I shouldn’t react the way I did,” which is very honest from the Scotsman. Despite this, he shouldn’t need to come out with such a statement.
The Aberdeen manager felt he had to justify why he reacted after being verbally abused by football fans. That sentence alone is mind boggling.
No apology needed from McInnes
When on the receiving end of these taunts, everything should be off the table. It’s different to hear that a manager is willing to hold his hands up for dismissal, but this is the one time it shouldn’t happen.
Whilst he’s no doubt heard it all before, it doesn’t make it any easier to hear, again and again. After being targeted with taunts and insults, surely you have the right to give something back to those who mock you?
This happens far too often. Neil Lennon is a great example to point to. Against Hearts in the Edinburgh Derby in October, the former Hibs boss gave some stick back to the Jambos support screaming obscenities at him for large parts of the game. Despite being abused verbally, Lennon’s single action received far more attention, which is concerning.
No matter what happened beforehand, in the cold light of day, McInnes was sent off for reacting to sectarian abuse. The red card should be rescinded and no apology should be issued for his actions.
People have to hold their hands up
Fans of both teams haven’t helped themselves in this ordeal. As soon as McInnes or Aberdeen players speak out about the abuse, some Celtic fans are quick to point to other things and past incidents from other events.
One of the main things pointed towards is the abusive chanting towards Celtic by Aberdeen fans on Sunday. This too is also wrong and should be rooted out instantly. What it shouldn’t be used for is to deflect from the equally important issue of eradicating the abuse McInnes was subject to.
Some supporters from each side have become embroiled in a game of who done worse. Even Celtic became involved to some extent, issuing a statement damning the abuse McInnes received, but quickly turning to blaming Aberdeen fans for their chants.
It was a childish response. Why can’t everyone just hold their hands up, apologise for their actions, and move on? Using other people’s wrongdoing as an excuse for your own is cowardly.
Everyone should be outraged by the abuse both teams suffered on Sunday. The inability for some to accept any wrongdoing is preventing anything moving forward and taking a step to eradicating such behaviour. It’s anti-social idiocy that is sung by a minority of fans. The majority of supporters want to watch their teams, that’s what really matters.
Supporters should unite and begin to tackle both sets of abuse, both from Aberdeen and Celtic. Will that happen anytime soon? Absolutely not and that’s a dark disappointment for Scottish football.