CELTIC skipper Scott Brown on Wednesday night in Norway looked at his mobile as he waited for the chartered Celtic flight to depart for Glasgow Airport.
Of course at Glasgow Airport, en route to Norway for the second leg Champions League qualifier against Rosenberg, Brown stood beside his friend and teammate Leigh Griffiths when some low-life directed a “paedo’ insult towards the Scotland striker.
Griffiths was quick though, retorting brilliantly:
“Yer team’s deed mate, beat it!”
But late at night onboard the charter flight, with spirits running high after James Forrest’s wonderful strike put Celtic through to the knockout stages, Brown was about to have the joy of the team’s success drained from him by an act of online evil.
Some bitter, bigot sunk further into the sewer of online abuse than anyone else had managed before and hell that’s some achievement. If you wanted someone to underline the hate in online hate-crime then it was this bigot. Give him five stars.
Brendan Rodgers waited a few days before he had his say and in an interview with Andrew Smith he gave his thoughts on the trolls, outlined his own preference to avoid social media completely and opened a window into how his players are managed with regard to accessing their smartphones.
“I think it is what can be done after it (the trolls) which is the question,” Rodgers said. “How can you actually write that and get away with it? How can you put something out there publicly and get away with that? It’s incredible.
“We’ve had Scott Sinclair with the racist stuff and this with Scott Brown.
“I don’t get it. I can’t fathom how someone can say that. I can only assume it’s someone who’s sat in a room, doesn’t come out the whole day. That is someone who has nothing to do who doesn’t see the sun. They’re just on a computer and they have nothing else better to do.
“I don’t get it and I think most people wouldn’t get it. Social media is a great tool for a lot of things, there are so many positives for people in how it functions and how it works.
“At the same time though, it also opens up so many doors for negativity.
“I’ve said to the players it is part of success. People try to kill you and you have to take it for what it is. You’ve got to regulate it somewhere in your mind and try not to think about it too seriously because if you did it would drive you mad.
“We spoke a lot about that over the last year; about controlling background noise. But I have always said we will do our talking on the pitch and stay focused on the ways in which to control all of that and play well. It has worked well for us. Obviously, though, there have been incidences from time to time.
“I am aware of it and it’s my job to help manage it but it is a strange world that we are in that people think that it is OK to write these things.
“It is a world that is hard for me to talk about because personally I try to ignore all of that stuff. It’s my choice, to do that. I don’t have Twitter or anything like that because in my world it can come in at you as well. So in my world I regulate it, and don’t have it. Don’t need it.
“At the same time of course I appreciate the impact a negative message can have on my players. That you can have a player perhaps coming back after a win who can be suddenly brought right down.
“I would never say to a player ‘don’t use it, don’t go near it’ but where we have it here we limit it.
“Outside of the changing rooms, players don’t use their phones. They are not walking about on them. And when you are having a meal, you’re talking, you’re not on your phone. They get fined if they use them outside of their room, outside of the changing rooms.
“When we are on the bus or anywhere, OK, they can be on their phones, but they have to be on silent. So we are not having them ringing and all that noise. We are strict in terms of how it works.
“I understand you need it and it is there but we limit it. It’s a bit old school but the boys actually enjoy it because they know when they come out of the changing room, that’s it they are talking to one another.”