In the independence referendum of 2014, we had a term for the behavior of those people born in Scotland who would go on TV or give newspaper interviews where they would go on all this ‘too small, too poor, too stupid”. We called it The Cringe.
Cringe is a deep sense of shame or embarrassment towards the nation you come from, and for the duration of this campaign you can see it everywhere.
The reason I bring this up today is that Scottish sportswriters developed The Cringe many years before, perhaps with the birth of the EPL, and they never recovered from it. They have never judged the game they cover on its own merits – and there are many – but by England standards. And that embarrasses them.
Their behavior embarrasses me. The way they constantly denigrate Scottish football is a complete disgrace to those who are supposed to promote it. There are only so many times you can read the same terrible stories over and over again, talking about our game and telling us that we can’t retain our best managers and players without feeling sick.
The real cringe for these desperate hacks is that their papers rent in the bottom drawer. These are not people – the Jacksons, the Jacks, the Piries – who will ever get written jobs in England. They will not work anywhere where talent and skill are required.
Which brings me to today’s final episode of The Cringe; the suggestion that Ange Postecoglou could swap Champions League football, win things and be at the center of Scottish football’s most exciting revolution in years to go to Brighton.
The story is a joke. It shouldn’t even be necessary to point out that this is a joke. Brighton is not a serious football town. There is a club, yes, but let’s be honest, when you think of Brighton, what comes to mind? (Not that, some of you. Tut tut.) It’s a blue rinse destination. For pensioners who want to sit by the sea. It is – and no pun intended – a graveyard for football bosses.
Ange Postecoglou didn’t build her reputation over all these years to flog her there. He has, as he has said many times, everything he wants at Celtic Park.
But there are some of our hacks who believe – because they’re in the grip of The Cringe – that Ange could very well do it “because it’s England”. As if this place had magical properties. As if the word itself had magical connotations.
As I said in an article last week, Celtic’s concern over this possibility can be inferred from the fact that they have not already sat Ange down and discussed a new deal with him. It will happen, of course, because he deserves it. But he’s happy and we’re happy with things the way they are right now and nobody thinks of a day when that will change.
These hacks under the influence of The Cringe point to Rodgers and Gerrard as their proofs. Forget for a moment that Ange doesn’t have a temper like either. Both Rodgers and Gerrard left, in part, because they felt they weren’t supported enough for their big visions.
Rodgers had always wanted a return to England, where his ego would be constantly fed. (Too bad it didn’t turn out that way haha.) Gerrard always saw Ibrox as a stepping stone to Anfield. (A prospect that I thought was slim then and is even slimmer now.)
Ange has what he wants. A club of which he is the undisputed master. A fan base that adores him. A board that has supported him like no other manager in our club’s history. It’s something these people don’t even pay attention to.
The Cringe is all of that, of course. Some of these people are Celtic hate professionals and are just playing a little game trying to throw people off balance. Especially the fans, since no one in the halls of Parkhead is taking any of this seriously.
I love the stories today that Ange is ‘on Brighton’s shortlist’. Because we could all do that. Who would be on your own shortlist? I’d have Anabelle Wallis and Sophie Turner on mine…I’ll probably never go anywhere with either of them, but it’s a nice daydreaming exercise.
Brighton can make all the ‘in a perfect world’ lists they like. Some in the media may cringe for Scotland. Others may attempt to stir the soup. None of this has any impact on anything that happens at Celtic. The club is settled. The manager is happy.
And we’re gearing up, through all the white noise, for a massive midweek game. Some have called all of this product speculation a “slow news day.” But it is a mixture of the inferiority complex of our media and that of the Sévonnais who realize that they will not be competitive as long as the great is at the head of this club.