IT’S a hell of a confession for a Glaswegian to make I know, but my knowledge of all things football could be written on the back of the proverbial fag packet.

I do however know a bit about Middle East politics and the Israeli-Palestinian conflict in particular.

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Perhaps it’s for both these reasons that the peculiar juxtaposition of two media reports caught my eye over the past couple of days.

The first concerns the “shocking” news that “Tartan Army” football fans face a ban on kilt pins when Scotland play Israel next month in the Uefa Nations League match at the Sammy Ofer Stadium in Haifa.

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Sharp objects including kilt pins are banned from the stadium according to travel advice issued by the British Embassy in Tel Aviv.

The other news item to catch my eye was a World Bank report saying the economy in the Gaza Strip was in “free fall” because of Israel’s decades-long military blockade and crippling cuts to international funding and aid.

More than half the population of the Palestinian territory are now living under the poverty line, as the Israeli blockade continues to squeeze the life blood out of Gaza.

So, at the risk of sounding churlish here, I don’t think the ban on kilt pins is something that should really preoccupy the minds of those Scotland football fans deciding to head for Israel next month.

I repeat, I know little about football, but I am old enough to remember that game back in 1977 dubbed the “match of shame” when Scotland played a friendly against Chile in Santiago’s stadium.

For those readers for whom that fixture was before their time or the controversial history of which has passed them by, let me just recap.

The National:

Former Chilean dictator Augusto Pinochet. Photograph: Getty

To begin with the Scottish team visit was just four years after the coup that saw Chilean dictator Augusto Pinochet come to power.

It was of course in that same stadium where Scotland played that Pinochet’s brutal henchmen effectively set up a concentration camp. Some 40,000 untried trade unionists and members of left-wing and progressive political parties thought to support the democratically elected and by then overthrown president Salvador Allende were held there. Many were tortured, raped and killed.

Those of a certain vintage may well recall the words of the song written at the time by Scottish folk singer and writer Adam McNaughtan.

“September the eleventh in 1973, scores of people perished in a vile machine-gun spree. Santiago stadium became a place to kill, but now a Scottish football team will grace it with their skill, and there’s blood upon the grass.”

When Scotland meet Israel next month they won’t, of course, be playing on actual ground where “there’s blood upon the grass”, nor is the Sammy Ofer Stadium in Haifa a place where people have been imprisoned.

Scotland will though be playing a match within Israel, a country that illegally enforces the existence of the world’s largest open-air prison that Gaza has now become.

In Gaza there is no blood upon the grass, because little grass grows there given that water shortages are rife and 90% of what water does exist is unfit for human consumption.

Blood spilt on the parched ground though is plentiful in Gaza – Israel’s decades-long military onslaught on the territory and its snipers who gun down anyone who has the temerity to question the illegality of their incarceration make sure of that.

Food for thought, Scotland football fans? Then here’s a bit more. How many of those Scotland fans travelling to Israel realise the extent to which football helps underpin racism in the country? Scotland itself of course is no stranger to sectarianism among the ranks of some so-called “supporters” at club level.

Doubtless this should make it easier then to recognise the ilk of those who chant “death to Arabs” in the stadium of Beitar Jerusalem.

How many Scotland football fans too will have heard of an Israeli Beitar Jerusalem “supporter” called Moshe Nissim?

It was he who begged his Israeli army battalion commander to give him the chance to man one of the fearsome gigantic 60-ton D-9 bulldozers the army used in the infamous levelling of the Palestinian refugee camp in Jenin in April 2002.

“First thing I did was to tie on the Beitar Jerusalem soccer team flag. I had it prepared in advance,” Nissim later said mockingly, referring to the destruction of the camp as the building of the “Teddy” football stadium, a reference to the ground at which his beloved Jerusalem Beitar team played.

“I found joy with every house that came down… If you knocked down a house, you buried 40 or 50 people for generations. If I am sorry for anything, it is for not tearing the whole camp down,” Nissim boasted.

Just last month Nissim’s beloved club renamed itself Beitar “Trump” Jerusalem in honour of US president Donald Trump’s decision to relocate the US embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem.

How many Scotland fans and lovers of football know that Palestinian players are denied freedom of movement to attend their own matches? Israeli clubs based in illegal settlements meanwhile are allowed to play in the official league of the Israeli Football Association (IFA), a move complicit with violations of international law.

Just a few months ago Argentina’s national male football team cancelled their friendly match with Israel following appeals from Palestinian athletes and human rights campaigners. In the words of Argentina and Juventus striker Gonzalo “Pipa” Higuain: “Not going was the right thing to do.”

It was a brave decision by the Argentinian team to set such a historic precedent and refuse to kowtow to Israeli apartheid.

And there lies a case in point. For Israel today is as much an apartheid state as South Africa was when it was excluded from international football for 28 years during apartheid rule.

Today the argument for a similar sports boycott of Israel is just as compelling as it was for South Africa all those years ago. Unless, of course, we become fixated with those other really important things – like kilt pins.