Scott Brown crossing Rangers-Celtic divide to stand up to racism has restored my faith in humanity – Hayley Matthews

In a time when we can seem completely divided, I can't help but turn my attention to the recent Old Firm game for a perfect example of what we're needing more of in life just now.

Saturday, 27th March 2021, 7:00 am
Celtic captain Scott Brown, left, embraces Rangers' Glen Kamara before the Celtic-Rangers game last Sunday (Picture: Craig Williamson/SNS Group)

Scott Brown did something that I'm sure has left many football fans shocked and stunned. I'm hoping fans can put aside their in-built rivalry and hatred for the opposition to see that what he did was actually more powerful than a thousand footballers taking the knee.

For those who don't get the big deal around the Celtic star’s public display of affection towards Rangers player Glen Kamara after the alleged racial abuse that Glen was subjected to whilst playing against Slavia Prague, let me explain. Rivals teams never warm up together, never, it's just not done.

It would be like doing your weekly shop in your jammies. Totally do-able, but nobody would ever dream of doing it because you're told it's not "the done thing".

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That is, unless, you're Scott Brown who seems to have a natural ability to show compassion and do what his head tells him to do, not what society tells him to do.

Why is it such a big deal that he crossed the pitch to the rival side whilst warming up? Because he was breaking one of the unspoken rules of football. But who made these rules? They probably go back as far as the 19th century but that doesn't mean we can't use our common sense and say “stuff them”.

Showing some humanity, compassion and a bit of common sense goes so much farther at times than doing what you're told to do. But consider another example: "taking a knee". Whilst I agree with what it stands for and find racism utterly deplorable, dated and narrow-minded, I have to say I don’t think that it will change much, if anything at all.

We need acts of kindness and people in the public eye showing that it's OK to go against the grain to get the message across about intolerance of racism.

I can't get my head around why people still think a football stadiums are safe places to shout personal and racial slurs at players – and it’s even worse when the players throw abusive comments.

So by making sure a rival team member was OK after the incident in the previous match and showing some genuine concern, Scott Brown has reinstated my faith in humanity.

The irony is this, I can bet my bottom dollar that any vile comments I get for writing this article will be from Celtic's rival teams who only see this game in binary terms. It's win/lose, good/bad, right/wrong for them, when really there are so many shades of grey in life and, by thinking outside the box, we can make way for positive change.

Just because there are only two sides to a football pitch, doesn't meant there can't be a hundred ways to show your stance on racism. Being a human and using your noggin is something Scott Brown does in spades and the man has balls! He goes against the grain and does what his heart tells him to do and I love that!

Taking the knee is pointless, changes nothing. Scott Brown showing how he's a human being, showing concern for a rival player regardless of his team, now that is something that paves the way for a change in attitudes in football.

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