Get daily updates directly to your inbox+ SubscribeThank you for subscribing!The former Rangers defender would call the religious divide that separates Rangers from Celtic a damning indictment of Scottish society in general and its football in particular.There will now be a short intermission while the massed ranks of the Celtic support rise as one to accuse the Englishman, who became an Ibrox icon, of rampant hypocrisy.There is a mental snapshot of Roberts, playing as an emergency keeper during an Old Firm derby in 1987 cheap nfl jerseys cheap nfl jerseys, conducting the Ibrox choir in a lusty rendition of The Sash which is ingrained in the minds of those who were outraged that day.But the same man, who is about to publish his memoirs cheap nfl jerseys, Hard As Nails, has retained the capacity to shock by defending Celtic keeper Artur Boruc’s right to make the sign of the cross during games.He also vehemently upholds the Pole’s right to hold the other half of the Old Firm in contempt in exactly the same way he did from the moment he left Spurs to sign for Graeme Souness at Ibrox.Roberts could write a thesis on the subject of the deep rooted, industrial strength division that split Glasgow in two 20 years ago and shows absolutely no sign of diminishing over the next two decades so far as anyone can see.He arrived in the city with a fondness for Rangers that pre dated his transfer to the club and left feeling proud of his status as the man the Celtic fans most liked to hate.In between, he was physically threatened, publicly embarrassed and widely portrayed as a bigot.Today, Roberts puts the obsession with sectarianism into perspective while asking both sides of the great divide, and the Clyde directors who took the decision to get rid of him as manager, to take a long, hard look at themselves.The England international managed the First Division team to what he describes as the biggest result of his coaching career knocking Celtic out of the Scottish Cup on the day Roy Keane made his debut for Gordon Strachan’s side.But his affiliation to Rangers, he claims, came back to haunt him when he was fighting to clear his name after having been accused of verbally abusing a disabled supporter.Roberts said: “I thought there were enough Clyde directors with a soft spot for Celtic for that to work against me.”They seemed to push whatever I had to say in my own defence to one side when my case was being heard.”But in the end a tribunal found me innocent of misconduct and I regard the club’s decision to get rid of me as their loss because I thought I did a good job for them.”I also started out at Clyde with a former Celtic player, Joe Miller, as my assistant manager. That was proof of my interest in football and not bigotry.”I knew the reasons that divided Scotland in two where the Old Firm were concerned when I arrived from London but I didn’t know the extent to which people hated each other.”I went to Glasgow for football, not religious segregation, and I took less money than I was getting at White Hart Lane for the privilege of playing for Rangers.”I admit that, in the fullness of time cheap nfl jerseys, I did get caught up in aspects of the rivalry between the two clubs but I kept all of my Catholic friends and used to socialise all the time with the Celtic player who lived one street away from me in Helensburgh cheap nfl jerseys, Record Sportcolumnist Murdo MacLeod.”Now, when I speak at dinners for Spurs cheap nfl jerseys, I tell the audience that Old Firm rivalry is a way of life in Scotland. They can walk out of the North London derby, as they did after the 4 4 derby at the Emirates last week cheap nfl jerseys cheap nfl jerseys, arm in arm.”In Glasgow they close off streets so that neither set of Old Firm fans can come in contact with each other after games.”The good thing about that intensity of feeling is it fires the players up on derby day and makes the game as special as it is.”The bad aspect is the songs are all wrong on both sides but they will never go away.
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