Scottish football: From the sublime to the ridiculous
Scottish football has an uncanny knack of turning the sublime into the ridiculous. Given earlier in the tournament we had witnessed a re-draw of the quarter-final ties following a calamitous botch-up with the balls, we should not have been surprised. But the events of Saturday afternoon were far more sinister and another dark day for Scottish football.
Firstly, let us deal with the football. Described by Sky pundit Jamie Carragher on Twitter as "the best game seen all season", Hibernian's 114 year wait to lift the Scottish Cup was ended in dramatic fashion. 2-1 down with 10 minutes remaining, few would have bet on Hibs, so often criticised for lacking character and with a dismal record in Hampden finals, recovering to lift the trophy. Skipper David Gray will go down in folklore after his injury time header saw the trophy heading its way to Leith to the jubilation of the green and white hordes inside the stadium. However, Hampden soon descended into chaos with a mass pitch invasion of over-exuberant supporters carried away with what they had just witnessed. But let's be clear about this. Excitement or not, what occurred at the end of the match is not acceptable and brings shame on our game. Stories have subsequently emerged of Rangers players and staff being abused, both verbally and physically and in this social media age that we live in, countless images and videos are being circulated which provide a flavour of some of the shocking behaviour on show.
As the police begin the process of trawling through these images and other evidence garnered, we are yet again dealing with a situation in Scottish football where the main topic is not the game itself. As a small country, we certainly punch above our weight when it comes to crises which afflict our game. So instead of celebrating what was an exceptional game of football, the papers are filled with the fall-out, with Rangers adding fuel to the fire with their inflammatory club statement issued yesterday.
When the dust has settled, one hopes that we can remember the heroic Hibs Hampden performance. And there is plenty to be optimistic about for next season for our league; the return of Rangers to the top-flight; Brendan Rodgers arrival at Celtic; Hearts and Aberdeen attracting big crowds and looking to progress; and provincial clubs such as Ross County and Inverness Caledonian Thistle looking to add further silverware following recent maiden success.
Oh, and Joey Barton is set to ply his trade in Glasgow. It will certainly be interesting.