Scotsman Fanzone Article Extended — 30 September 2009

Last updated : 30 September 2009 By Stand Free Ed


Why should it come as any surprise that Lee McCulloch's elbow in 20-year-old Michael Paton's face is already in the process of being swept under the carpet?

Perhaps it is because we recklessly believed Gordon Smith when he insisted he wishes to stamp out cheating. Maybe it is because we thought the match referee would pay no heed to Walter Smith and Kenny Miller whining like babies to the ever-OF-accommodating media about referees picking on them this season. Hang on you manipulative scum — maybe they're just doing their job, and your players are simply breaking the rules. Just a thought.

McCulloch's assault was completely ignored in the BBC highlights, and has had scant coverage in the papers. If an Aberdeen player had done the same to Rangers' overhyped starlet John Fleck though, can you imagine the uproar and recriminations? This near-total blanking of the incident seems less like an accident and more like propoganda, and compared to the delighted cheerleading of messrs Smith and Miller last week, it resembles a media blackout. Or should I say, whitewash.

Mark McGhee shrugged McCulloch's attack off as character-building for the excellent young striker; perhaps because he is astutely aware — unlike Craig Levein and Vladimir Romanov, to name just two recent examples — that there's no point in moaning retrospectively about the Old Firm's grip of Scottish football's governance and media. It will never change. But also, of course, because it will be character-building for the lad, and it certainly didn't stop him making mincemeat of Scotland international Steven Whittaker time and time again during the remainder of the 90.

I suppose the McCulloch elbow can merely be added to the 'to-be-ignored' list of the Ibrox club's felonies in Dons-Rangers encounters that remain notable by their absence in the oft-repeated Aberdeen-biased 'hate lists' printed by the tabloids — and, shamefully, by the Scotsman, a supposed quality newspaper, on Saturday — alongside everything from Willie Johnston's stamp on John McMaster's throat in 1979 to Kyle Lafferty's despicable cheating to get Charlie Mulgrew sent off only a few months ago.

"Scottish football's rubbish and it's the SFA's fault," laughed Gordon Smith, tongue in cheek, at a debate into the future of the game at Stirling University yesterday. He went on to blame chronic negativity throughout Scottish society as one of the main problems faced by Scottish football. Maybe, Gordon, one of the reasons that non-Old Firm fans are chronically negative is because there is not a fair playing field in Scottish football — and that IS the SFA's fault, for having no balls to do anything about it.

See the edited version of this article and those from other SPL clubs' fans at:, and in The Scotsman newspaper every Wednesday during the season.

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