Supporters are unhappy about their clubs’ decision to play each other in Sydney
By Bill Heaney
Andy Coyle has reported on STV News that supporters of Celtic and Rangers have expressed their anger at the Glasgow clubs’ decision to play each other in a friendly in Australia later this year.
The clubs are to take part in the inaugural Sydney Super Cup when domestic football shuts down for the Qatar World Cup in November, alongside Australian A-League sides Sydney FC and Western Sydney Wanderers.
The announcement brought swift and angry reaction from fans on social media but supporters attending Wednesday night’s Premiership matches went further to display their unhappiness.
One big question that was not asked was if the management of the two clubs had considered this would amount to importing the sectarianism and violence with which both these clubs have long been associated to Australia.
At McDiarmid Park, where Rangers had travelled to play St Johnstone, away fans unfurled a banner that read “Money over morals. No d£rby friendlies.”
Celtic had announced their trip Down Under on Tuesday and billed the trip as a homecoming for the club’s Australian manager Ange Postecoglou but did not reveal the opposition. Rangers’ participation was confirmed on Wednesday in an announcement in Australia.
The Ibrox club later issued an interview with commercial director James Bisgrove on social media, where he said that the decision to accept an invitation to play was down to the “sizeable benefit” that Rangers saw in the trip.
Bisgrove said: “To be frank it’s a sizeable benefit to the club from a commercial perspective to the extent that we have never had an offer of this level for two friendly games, for an international tournament.
“To put some context around this we have spoken before on the broadcast and media values in Scotland and the club’s view on that has been well documented.
“Participation in this event over eight days will benefit the club to the same level as an entire season in the SPFL.”