THIS is the first season I have attended football matches (as a paying customer) in more than 30 years and I thought with the ongoing “orchestrated furore” over the Offensive Behaviour at Football and Threatening Conduct (Scotland) Act, 2012 (OBA) I would like to add my tuppenceworth.

That the above above legislation is flawed is, I believe, without doubt. That it could be improved (preferably with cross-party support) is desirable. Most importantly, and to our country’s continued shame, the Act is necessary.

I have now had the opportunity to observe the fans of all the Scottish Premier teams (including the home support) from my seat in the west stand at Easter Road. I find the chant from the Hibs support relating to “hating” certain other clubs distasteful; I leave it to others to declare it offensive.

Other than two obviously drunk young Motherwell fans singing the most obnoxious song (regarding the then Rangers coach) I’ve ever had the misfortune to hear, there is much of a sameness about the fans of the “provincial” teams, although the Aberdeen support are by far the most entertaining with their self-deprecating humour. Kilmarnock fans singing they are “The Killie Boys” to a “well kent” tune is just sad.

Then there’s the two big Glasgow teams. For what seemed like forever, but was only an hour, the Celtic fans sang songs of bile and hatred. Then, when two-up, they turned to a more contemporary repertoire. For me the massed rendition of Last Christmas was a delight. A total contrast, really amazing.

The Rangers fans showed no such Jekyll and Hyde behaviour, it was just bile and hatred. These songs have no locus at football matches. This bile-and-hatred stuff is offensive and to state the obvious, it’s Celtic and Rangers fans who are the most likely to run afoul of the OBA. Is this then the origin of the aforementioned “furore”, given that Scottish football reporting is very Glasgow-centric.

We might all wish the OBA was unnecessary. It would be nice to think that Scottish football could be self-regulating. But when our football’s governing bodies are perceived to “bend the knee” to the big two we can expect no action from that quarter. Which leaves legislation. Maybe an amended Act could include penalising the clubs of the offending fans, something to focus their attention and provide the necessary incentive to improve their fans’ future conduct. Here’s another thought: how about penalising the governing bodies too for lack of action?

Until then it seems we’ll be off to an Irish city wading through blood, over and over and over again. I sincerely hope it’s not the B-positive kind, as I believe there’s a shortage at the moment.

David Bruce

THE Old Firm seem to be sniffing at the young talent being developed by other Scottish clubs as though they did not have enough of their own. They can do this because they between them control more than 60 per cent of the SPFL’s total income.

Ideally should not all Scottish clubs be encouraged by those in charge of the game to develop their own players and then hold on to them as long as possible?

One suggestion to achieve this would be to give a greater share of the overall “pot” money to those who achieve a certain league position by playing a greater portion of home reared players than those who rely on “imports”.

For instance, a team ending up third or fourth in the league might earn more from the “pot” than the champion or runner-up if it played significantly more home-reared players in the course of the season.

RW Millar