FORMER Celtic striker Chris Sutton has launched a verbal assault on First Minister Nicola Sturgeon and the Scottish Government over their handling of the coronavirus pandemic in football.

The one-time England international striker, now a top media pundit, has accused the Holyrood rulers of being “out of order”.

He is far from happy with some of the remarks and comments come from within the nation’s corridors of power.

The ex-Hoops fans’ favourite insists that people in the game deserve better than to spoken to “like a five-year-old”.

Sutton, speaking in his column in the Daily Record, said: “Nicola Sturgeon and the Holyrood establishment are out of order with their kicking of Scottish football.

“And to make matters worse they are not being even-handed with it.

“The Scottish Government has more to worry about than football and sport when it comes to mass death within their population and an economy being destroyed with the effects of the pandemic.

“I don’t expect them not to have an opinion when they asked questions about individual cases of rule-breaking. I don’t expect Sturgeon not to make a point or two on the issue just to reiterate her position. But I’d also expect a bit of respect within the language.

“Not what has been coming out, which has been condescending at best and disgraceful at worst.

“Sturgeon rattling on about red cards and I’ve already said my piece about clinical director Jason Leitch coming out with his ‘I didn’t miss them’ speech at the beginning of this pandemic like some power-crazy headmaster giving it some to a bunch of unruly school kids.”

Sutton continued: “This privilege chat that keeps coming from Sturgeon is misleading. It’s giving off an image to the rest of the country that football has been handed some sort of free pass from any sort of restrictions and can basically go about their business as normal.

“That could not be further from the truth. Football people have had to put in strict protocols at big cost just to be allowed to go to work.

“Yes, that’s right, go to work. Just like basically more than half of the population when taking in the work-from-home numbers.

“There is one big difference with most other professions – you can turn up for your work untested.

“In fact, if you can’t afford to self-isolate and have not downloaded the track-and-trace app for fear of having to miss 10 days of wages, you might be going into work with colleagues passing on the virus.

“Football can’t do that. It’s not allowed. Livingston manager David Martindale outlined the figures when he said it was costing his club £4,000 a week from the start of the season – a total outlay of £250,000 so far.

“There are other huge costs. Celtic had four full-sized buses at McDiarmid Park last Sunday and that didn’t even count the coaching staff who travelled in cars.”

Sutton added: “Sturgeon had a go at Celtic and Aberdeen at the beginning of the season and more or less ordered games to be postponed when Boli Bolingoli and the eight Dons players stepped out of line.

“Yet on other occasions it’s been a generalisation. In addressing the Rangers Five issue, she made it a generalisation for the entire game to get a grip.

“Celtic’s Dubai trip was a silly idea that came back to bite them. But John Swinney claiming he was lost for words afterwards when no-one in his own government thought to stop it beforehand was ridiculous aftertiming.

“So was Sturgeon’s chat about social bubbles not being adhered to in the Middle East. Two months after she was celebrating a Scotland side who did a conga round a table.

“What about the picture of the Scotland rugby team huddled together in the dressing room for a team picture after they beat England at Twickenham a fortnight ago? No bubble bursting, no?

“That’s more a side issue for me. The bigger issue is the attitude towards football from some folk in positions of serious power.

“They jump on the bandwagon of sporting success at the first sign of a vote, yet the way they are happy to dish out snide lectures to Scotland’s national game should not go unchallenged any longer by those inside Hampden.

“Football has worked damn hard to keep their show on the road and spent vast sums of money to do so. It deserves better treatment than to be talked to like a five-year-old.”



About Author


Acclaimed author Alex Gordon wrote the biography of Scotland international legend Denis Law, entitled 'King and Country'. He is a former columnist with World Soccer magazine and Scottish correspondent of respected European journal L'Equipe.

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