Hamill’s Beat - How are the mighty fallen?

In this paper last week, fellow columnist Eamonn McCann had a great piece about the fall of Glasgow Rangers. For many years Rangers had a “no Catholics need apply policy”. Then, Donald Murray took over the club in 1988.

“Within a year of Murray taking control, Rangers signed Catholic ex-Celt Mo Johnston,” Eamonn records. Apparently the club wanted to detach itself from its sectarian history.

I couldn’t prevent a smile stealing across my face. See what happened to them after that! Only joking! Not being a football fan, I’m sure I read Eamonn’s article without sufficient concentration.

It reminded me of a Coleraine rowing crew racing in England in the 1950s. “Come on the Orange men” quipped a spectator whereupon the witty cox who knew there was just one Catholic in his boat, shouted, “Easy number three!” A few years ago I told that story to some friends from Dublin. A

An equally witty response from one of them was, “Jeez, how did that happen?”

Still, I expect when Rangers had their “no Catholics need apply” policy they weren’t actually being sectarian.

They were probably just like the Belfast club that had a similar policy for a long time.

They weren’t being sectarian – their problem was just that there weren’t any Catholics good enough to play for them!