LET me begin with a few indisputable facts.

On September 13, 2014, in a match between Aberdeen and Celtic, Shay Logan and Aleksander Tonev exchanged words and afterwards Logan, a black Englishman, claimed Tonev, a white Bulgarian, had racially abused him, a charge which was denied.

The word “black” had allegedly been used by the Celtic man. Only these two know exactly what was and wasn’t said. Let’s be clear about that.

An SFA tribunal found Logan to be a “more reliable and convincing witness” and Celtic’s Tonev was banned for seven matches. The Aberdeen man took to Twitter afterwards and seemed to forgive and want to forget.

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“Do the crime, serve the time. Off ya pop geezer.


“On that note, let’s forget what has happened in the past. It’s done n dusted. Now time to move on and forget it. I’ll always be me.”

Celtic believed the evidence to be flimsy and appealed, as absolutely was their right. They challenged both the decision and length of sentence, as Tonev continued to protest his innocence. The appeal was thrown out, Celtic decided not to take the matter further, the world moved on and so did Tonev the following August. 

Fast forward four years however and there remains residual resentment over the episode.

Logan remains an Aberdeen player and since then has been singled out for abuse – booing and name-calling – by Celtic fans at some games, mostly at Pittodrie where as a right-back there is always one half when he will be directly in front of the away fans.

The press box is some distance away so it has never been easy to make out everything that has been said. It’s the same at Celtic Park, although the verbals are less frequent, but I would never have suggested what was shouted at the player was racist. 

In saying that, I have never felt comfortable with what Logan has had to put up with. 

It was Tonev who was found guilty. Why would any professional footballer make up something they know could ruin a fellow pro. This, after all, is a guy who all his life has had to fight prejudice because of the colour of skin.

Celtic fans say Logan is a bit of a wind-up merchant. This is Scottish football where such players are ten-a-penny but outside of Rangers it is the guy who was “racially abused” by a Celtic player who cops the most flak.

Personally, I don’t think that’s right at all even if you take Tonev’s side.

Logan was sent off at the end of last season at Celtic Park following an Aberdeen victory. He got the usual abuse from the stands as he enjoyed the win in front of them. It happens. Nothing really to see here.

Well, until last week when Logan was asked by an Aberdeen newspaper whether any of the comments that afternoon was racist.

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“There was but I expect it now,” was his answer.

This stunned me. It must be taken seriously. Racism against players of colour is genuinely not a problem in Scottish football but that’s not to say we can be complacent about such an important matter.

Brendan Rodgers was asked about this last Friday in Ireland as he held a press conference to preview the friendly with Shamrock Rovers.

Someone at the club ought to have told him about Logan’s comments because when asked about the quotes, it was clear the Celtic manager had no clue about the interview. 

After saying there was no place for such behaviour, he said: “There has obviously been an ongoing thing with young Shay since an incident I was made aware of when I first came in . . . but the Celtic supporters were voted the best in the world. I think that says it all in terms of the ambience at the stadium and how they behave themselves.”

It’s a bit of a clumsy answer, understandably so, but in no way on earth can you come up with a line which Show Racism the Red Card quoted in a statement.

“We fully support Shay Logan and will be asking the SFA to investigate any claims of racism by Celtic supporters towards him.

“We also reject any allegations that Shay Logan ‘brought it upon himself’.”

Rodgers did not for one moment say Logan had brought racist abuse upon himself. I was one of four Scottish journalists asking him about it, so take that from me.

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And yet the usual mob have jumped on this, painting themselves as moral judges on social media when a quick look at their timeline reveals them to be less than liberal.

And the Celtic fans who have criticised Logan, those who paint themselves as so right-on, need to step away from being the white guy having a go at a black guy who has made two accusations of racism against their club.

It seems whataboutery, hypocrisy,  mud-slinging and twisting words to fit an agenda is far more important to some than the impression that racism is slowly creeping into our game. Instead what we need is a sensible debate. And Logan has to expand and further explain what exactly was said.

Only then can we move on.