Date: 15th June 2008 at 4:54pm
Written by:

It is something that us non-OF fans always claim and something the OF fans usually claim otherwise. How many times have we seen it happen? Player is discovered from nowhere, establishes himself as a brilliant player in the SPL, lots of clubs are interested, Rangers or Celtic come in with a bid 20 times the size of everyone elses. It happens all too often in our league. Brown, Riordan, Thomson, Whittaker, Gow, Robson, Naismith, and the list goes on. All young Scottish talent whose talent has gone to waste in the reserves at Ibrox and Parkhead.

In fact, it happens so often, I really do wonder how some players still seem not to have learned. Before they leave, they will always say ‘I want first team football. I’m not going there to sit on the bench’. Of course, a year on they have their one day of stories in the papers about thinking it was a dream move and they were wrong and all that. The sad thing is, it seems to happen to the guys that actually do want to play football.

There are many obvious motives for moving to the dark side. One of these is, of course, money. If you’re not up-to-date with your Scottish football, then the Old Firm in the SPL is, financially, like Manchester United and Arsenal in the Championship. The Old Firm can afford to pay as much money as they want. It is literally like putting Champions League money into League One. Another motive is undoubtedly training facilities. Rangers have their famous Murray Park, while Celtic have just completed their state of the art Lennoxtown training ground. Meanwhile, Aberdeen for example, have no training facilities whatsoever. A large area of grass, two sets of goalposts and the rest is on wheels or has a sharp end to one side.

But another reason, a theory that has been around for the past few years, is that playing for the Old Firm gets you into the Scotland squad. This can be because the people and the manager take more notice of you there, but there is a strong theory of bias. Scott Brown and Barry Robson just off the top of my head. Never got a look in while at Hibs and Dundee United, and almost instantly when they moved to Celtic, they were in there. Scott Brown has also gone on to become a key player in the Scotland squad.

But back to the original question. Do the Old Firm buy other SPL players just to weaken the other teams and keep them at the top? Well, in my opinion it’s without a doubt a yes. No other clubs in the world buy player for millions of pounds just to sit them on the bench or tuck them away in the reserves. The annoying thing too about it, is that the minute a player is at Celtic or Rangers, they cost too much for other SPL clubs to even enquire about them. Aberdeen were reportedly interested in Derek Riordan. Thankfully we didn’t ask and were saved the humiliation by Leeds United, when Celtic valued him at a 1’000’000 pounds.

So basically, yes. And it’s disgusting.