PEOPLE need to own their actions.
Don’t blame others when you cross a line. It’s not someone else’s fault if you lose your cool. Take responsibility for your own behaviour.
Alfredo Morelos, it has been claimed, was provoked. Okay, maybe he was. But then it’s up to him what happens next. There is no excuse, no reason on earth, why he had to smash Scott Brown in the face with his elbow.
Also, Andy Halliday ran half the length of the pitch to get involved after the final whistle. Did he feel provoked? If so, it’s them up to him how he reacts.
And then there is Ryan Kent who will be done for his behaviour. Was his excuse also that he felt provoked? My goodness. There is no justifiable reason for him punching Brown, full blown, in the face.
Provoking an opponent is part of the game. It happens all the time. It began over 100 years ago. It will always be part of football.
Players look to get a reaction from someone they think they can get to. Fans do it as well.
You’ve got to be professional. You need to rise above it. Don’t react. Deal with whatever is thrown at you. Expect to get abuse, ignore it and get on with the game. Punching someone is not the answer. Scoring a goal is.
Whenever I went to Ibrox wearing a Celtic jersey I got dog’s abuse. If I go there now, it is exactly the same. You have to deal with it.
The way some of the Rangers players reacted yesterday was absolutely wrong. You cannot make excuses for them because they were goaded, to use a word that has been doing the rounds.
And, for me, those involved need to take a good look at themselves.
It’s Celtic versus Rangers. It’s one of the biggest games in the world. It’s tense. The nerves get to you. There is no atmosphere like it anywhere else.
Players need to show their class in this environment. You do not get sent off for the fifth time this season when your team is 1-0 down in a derby, throwing your team-mates under a bus.
For Halliday after the game, to take a swing at Brown, and for some people to say he was provoked, baffles me.
Imaging going into a dressing room after a red card and saying: “Gaffer, I was provoked.” No manager accepts that.
Rangers won at Ibrox fair and squad. They deserved to win, they won it very well.
Brown was provoked in that game. There were 50,000 Rangers fans screaming all sorts of obscenities at him every time he touched the ball. He was getting it on the park as well from opponents who left a boot in or dumped him on his backside.
Nothing wrong with that.
Brown decided to be a professional. He didn’t lash out at someone. He didn’t punch anyone in the face. He didn’t confront any Rangers player after the 90 minutes had been done. He shook hands and took the defeat on the chin. Like a man.
I was at Sunday’s game. I was looking at the other end of the pitch, Rangers had the ball in their right-back area, when a noise from the crowd drew my attention to where something had happened.
I knew, we all knew, even without seeing the incident that Morelos was involved. Of course it was him.
Brown knew what he was doing. Morelos lost his head. Rangers lose the game and the league.
And at the end, it was the Celtic captain with is arms raised.