Heard of the cobra effect?

Twitter tends to be a nest of vipers but with the every-day-is-a-school-day mantra in mind this week this little nugget was of interest.

Stemming from the time when British colonists attempted to drive the snakes out of India by offering cash for dead reptiles, the myopic generals succeeded only in creating vast numbers of breeders who spied a quick way to make a buck – which, of course, led to a massive surge in the numbers of the deadly serpents.

The cobra effect, then, is an apt way of offering a solution to a problem that only succeeds in making it substantially worse.

Those of us in regular attendance at games up and down Scotland have seen our fair share of venom; sectarianism tends to be the favoured choice of toxicity but accusations of racism have come sharply to the fore in recent months.

It is not new; Mark Walters infamously had a banana thrown at him as a welcome to his first Old Firm game. Paul Elliott also suffered similar racist incidents. Aberdeen’s Shay Logan first found himself in the eye of a racism storm when Celtic’s Aleksandar Tonev was accused of abusing him on the pitch, while only last weekend he was fighting his corner on Twitter as a 15-year-old Rangers fan embarrassed himself with some vile remarks. Scott Sinclair celebrated a goal against Rangers at Ibrox only to find himself confronted with one “fan” making monkey gestures.

First and foremost, an adult conversation about racism and the moral repugnance of it should not be viewed through the prism of team colours. Racism is racism and where you stand on it shouldn’t come down to who is spouting it or whether it is directed towards an opposition player.

But the big problem with this week’s debacle which involved Rangers, Alfredo Morelos and Sky TV is that it manipulates the gravitas of this very issue and reduces it to a means of point scoring. It sullies the seriousness of the conversation and detracts from the real victims; it has been a similar theme with child sexual abuse which has been used as a nauseating weapon of one-upmanship with little regard for the nefariousness of the crimes and their consequences.

Glasgow Times:

Sky Sports will have some serious explaining to do to Ofcom for their part in this. Celtic are furious about the manner in which Morelos has been misquoted to suggest that he was racially abused by their support as Rangers won at Celtic Park in December.

There is no ambiguity about the fact the interview was aired with subtitles that chucked in a few addendums to Morelos’ comments. It is a massive breach of confidence and trust. It also invites accusations that detract from the importance of the subject matter.

Morelos’ lack of English means he is a rare interviewee. Whether there was spin behind the Sky interview and its timing in the wake of all sorts of nonsense about private investigators and car trackers is impossible to ascertain. Morelos made no mention of being racially abused by Celtic fans as he left the pitch in December but what he did say is that he believes himself to have been the victim of abuse in Scotland because of the colour of his skin.

In a week in which there has been a full-on circus at work over Morelos, it slipped under the radar that Steven Gerrard stated that other players in his squad had also spoken within the dressing room of being racially abused.

Sinclair found himself verbally abused in the toilets in Glasgow airport in the aftermath of an Old Firm game a few years back; football fans are reflective of society and the emergence of racism and the rise of a far-right has become impossible to ignore in the recent turbulent political climate.

The Brexit pantomime has been used as a vehicle for that – see the letter posted in a tower block in Norwich for further proof should any be required – and that it seeps on to the terraces is inevitable. What shouldn’t be a matter of course, however, is how we respond to it.

Rangers’ duty of care to Morelos ought to mean eliciting greater detail about the abuse he has suffered and where and when. And not to use it for anything other than a means to highlight an issue that is depressingly resurgent.

READ MORE: Rangers hit out at 'media, journalists and pundits' they claim trivialised 'racist abuse' against Morelos


Where does the bidding start this summer for Odsonne Edouard?

Celtic banked a tidy £20m when Moussa Dembele engineered a deadline day move to Lyon in August 2018 while last summer Kieran Tierney trumped that when he headed to Arsenal. Edouard’s form suggests it is with some ease that he will top both.

The French Under-21 internationalist has been compared to some huge names in recent weeks with former Celtic striker-turned-pundit Chris Sutton declaring him the best he had seen since Henrik Larsson.

Celtic have been spoiled with the back-to-back signings of Dembele and Edouard. The former has enjoyed an impressive 18 months back in France with Lyon, while there are suggestions that Edouard’s all-round play might even make him a better forward than his fellow countryman.

His importance to Celtic is difficult to overstate.

Quick and nimble enough to nutmeg a mermaid – Edouard’s feet were mesmeric against Motherwell in midweek – at just 22 big things are expected from the striker.

Celtic will rub their hands this summer when the bidders come in. But the real headache will be trying to source a replacement for the Frenchman.