Archive for October, 2013

When the fixture list for a new season is released the first thing many fans do is look for the dates of derby matches. In Glasgow this has meant a wait until the very last of the opening set of matches between teams before the big game – but it is finally here.

Yes, Firhill will once more be the place for thrills on Sunday as Glasgow’s top two clubs will face off when Partick Thistle host Celtic.

It’s been a long wait though, and not just because of the vagaries of the fixture computer. The two teams haven’t met since 22 February 2004 when Celtic secured a convincing away league win by a margin of 4 – 1. Chris Sutton and Stan Varga both scored twice, while Gerry Britton got the consolation goal for the Jags. As a footnote, two of Thistle’s substitutes that day were former Celts: Jorge Cadette and Stephane Bonnes.

With Partick Thistle spending a lot of time out of the top division, contests between the teams have been a little rare in recent times – although there have been a total of 214 matches over the years. Celtic, as you would expect, are well ahead in the series with 141 wins to their opponents 33. And you have to go back to 2 May 1995 to find the last Thistle success – a 3-1 victory in an end of season match at Hampden.

A rare goal from Peter Grant put Celtic ahead that evening but Roddy Grant equalised for the visitors before half time. Thistle took the lead in the second half in controversial circumstances, as the Glasgow Herald report explains:

“Tony Mowbray was penalised for a foul just outside the area, but protested vigorously, and while he was still making his point, Charnley chipped the free kick over the defence where Foster nipped in to shoot past Bonner.

“That incensed Mowbray so much that he chased referee Willie Young to the half -way line where, inevitably, he was booked, to be followed by McStay who was also shown the yellow card for his protest.”

Willie Young? Controversy? Hard to believe, I know.

For the record, Wayne Foster also got Thistle’s third goal, late on in a match that saw some of the floodlights go out. And Tony Mowbray’s yellow card meant that the future Celtic manager picked up a suspension that would rule him out of the Scottish Cup final, meaning he missed the 1-0 triumph over the former Airdrieonians a few weeks later.

There have been some fine performances in games between the two teams over the years. Many will remember the late Phil O’Donnell making his Celtic debut at Firhill in 1994 and scoring twice. And in 1973, Dixie Deans scored an amazing six times, a double hat trick, in a 7 – 0 Celtic home win over Thistle. I’m sure any Thistle supporters reading would want me to mention the 1971 League Cup final too … so consider it mentioned.

Will this Sunday’s match be full of thrills? I have a feeling it might be a tight affair. Thistle are sitting in mid table after making a decent start to their first season back in the top division, while Celtic lead the table and are unbeaten. And a midweek win over Ajax should have Neil Lennon’s bhoys in good heart too, although a few knocks the possibility of players being rested might see an understrength line up.

Whatever happens, it is good to have a Glasgow derby to look forward to once more. It’s been a while.


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I don’t often get upset by what’s written in the tabloid press. I’m used to the nonsense the Sun et al produce on a daily basis to sell their nasty little right wing rags. But today’s Sun headline has got me angry.

According to the Sun. 1,200 people have been killed by “mental patients” in the last ten years. Now to read the full story you have to buy the paper (no chance) or sign up on line for something called Sun+, and I’m certainly not giving them my money or my e-mail address.

Instead let’s look at some facts. (Note for any Sun journalist reading: a fact is defined as, ”knowledge or information based on real occurrences”.)

Ten minutes of internet research tells me that there were 8,091 recorded murders during the last ten years. That’s 6,743 in England and Wales (figures from ONS), 1071 in Scotland (figures from Scottish Government) and 277 in Northern Ireland (figures from PSNI).

Were 1,200 of these really were committed by “mental patients”? 15% of the total? Mind you, we don’t know how the Sun defines a mental patient. Do they mean anyone who has ever been treated for a mental illness – which could be around a quarter of the population.

So the rate of offence by “mental patients” could actually be lower than average.

Coincidently, another report was published today. And it showed that people with mental illnesses are three times more likely to be victims of crime than the general population.

Now this one didn’t come from a tabloid newspaper. No, this was a proper piece of research carried out by academics from Kings College London, Kingston University and St George’s University of London, in collaboration with University College London. A slightly more credible source then …

The report shows that almost half of people with some form of mental illness had experienced a crime in the last year. People with severe mental illness were five times more likely to experience assault, while severely mentally ill women were 10 times more likely to be assaulted. Six out of 10 women in this group reported being victims of sexual violence as adults.

And what are the police doing about this? Interviewees said that when they sought help, they often found they were treated unfairly by the police and other agencies. Victims said they found it difficult to convince police to take their reports seriously. And of course some people won’t report crimes out of fear of being detained themselves under mental health legislation.

Paul Farmer, Chief Executive of the charity Mind, said: “Being a victim of crime is a horrible experience for anyone to cope with but when you have a mental health problem the impact on your life can be even worse.

“People with mental health problems have an equal right to justice, yet this report reveals that this is not the reality for far too many of us.”

So once again the Sun is promoting a stereotype that simply isn’t supported by the facts. They demonise and stigmatise large sections of the population based on nothing more than prejudice. People with mental illness are actually far more likely to be the victims of crime than the perpetrators.

But then that probably doesn’t sell newspapers, does it?



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