Not Saussure

August 27, 2006

Caution for crossing yourself?

Filed under: Community, press — notsaussure @ 12:01 am

My first reaction to the story about Celtic goalie Artur Boruc being cautioned by the Strathclyde police for crossing himself during a Celtic vs Rangers match was that they’d take leave of their senses up in Glasgow, an impression strengthened by the news that Keith Richards faced possible prosecution for lighting up on stage during a concert there (though it seems that sanity eventually prevailed).

However, at least according to Mr Eugenides, who was at the match, there’s more to the story than meets the eye; after describing the highly charged atmosphere of Old Firm matches in general and this one in particular, he writes:

This context helps explain what happened next. Artur Boruc, the Celtic goalkeeper, trotted towards his goal in front of the massed ranks of Rangers fans, who gave him hearty abuse as fans do. Boruc smiled, walked into his goal facing the fans, looked up at the crowd and slowly and deliberately crossed himself while still grinning at them. He then followed this up with a “wanker” gesture to the supporters. Only then did he turn and concern himself with the imminent business at hand of winning a football match. (Update: I should state for the sake of balance that I am informed by my Celtic-supporting friends that he performs ‘a similar’ ritual before each game at Celtic Park too, though I rather doubt that the obscene hand gesture forms part of the routine on those occasions.)

Later reports seem to confirm Mr Eugenides’ account. Apparently the Crown Office has issued a statement :

“Witnesses describe him smiling or laughing at a Rangers section of the crowd and making ‘come on’ gestures,” said the statement. “This action appeared to incense a section of the crowd to react in such a way that police officers and security personnel had to become involved to calm the situation. “The police have reported that it took 10 minutes to restore normality in the crowd.” A report was sent to the procurator fiscal in Glasgow, who decided to deal with it by using an alternative to prosecution. “In using that alternative she (the divisional fiscal) made it clear in writing to Boruc that it was his alleged gesticulating to Rangers supporters in a provocative manner which was of concern,” said the statement.

I suspect iit was Boruc himself, but it would be interesting to have confirmation of who was responsible for the spin in the original story.

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