The amateur sleuths are out in force already today, after police confirmation that the fire at Bruce’s Coaches in Salsburgh was deliberate. Amongst the vehicles destroyed was the new Rangers team bus, leading some of the would-be Sherlocks to have attributed the blame to Celtic fans.
The police are investigating and the full resources of Police Scotland will be directed to finding those responsible, and rightly so.
Some might think that it is rich seeing me comment on “amateur Sherlocks” but when I have engaged in speculation about wrong-doing it has generally been of the type where publicly available paper trails exist. Until the police investigation tracks down the criminals, and in the absence of evidence publicly available about the crime, it is rather pointless and indeed an indicator of one’s own prejudices, to attribute blame or motive.
On a separate note unrelated to the preceding paragraph, Ally McCoist too has had his say, being quoted in the Sunday Mail saying:-
“It saddens me. It really does.
“I think it’s pathetic that people would go to these extremes.
“It sounds like a premeditated attack on Rangers’ bus and I’m gutted about it but thankfully nobody’s been killed.”
Now, as we know, Mr McCoist is a man who is a supporter of free speech and freedom of information, as shown by his demands for the naming of the SFA Judicial Panel which imposed penalties on Rangers last year (even though there were undoubtedly various Rangers employees who would have known who the panel members were as they had sat in the hearing room with them for several days). But Mr McCoist could not have been expected to take time from his managerial responsibilities to ask them, instead using the media to get the answer as soon as he could.
With his comments today regarding the fire, he has clearly received briefings from the police regarding the matter or else has information that credible threats had been made to Rangers – how otherwise would he be able to say that it “sounds like a premeditated attack on Rangers’ bus”?
In the same way that it is not uncommon for vacant buildings, and especially empty licensed premises, in Glasgow to combust spontaneously, there is a surprising number of hits on Google if you search for references to fires involving buses and coaches in Scotland. The building fires generally result in insurance claims, some of which are actually settled by the insurers, although some are not. Equally fires such as that at Salsburgh will lead to communications with the insurers (and, in the absence of any evidence to the contrary, rightly so).
Over and above that history, there are possibilities of vandalism or personal grudges being behind the attack.
This attack joins that long and inglorious history, but, and I agree with Mr McCoist here, it is fortunate that there was no loss of life. No matter what the reason for this crime, it is to be condemned and investigated and prosecuted with the full vigour of the law.
I want to make it clear that I have no idea who is responsible, and that those who have already engaged in idle and scurrilous speculation about certain individuals and organisations are engaged in rumour-mongering, and possibly maliciously so.
So either Mr McCoist is making his statement that this incident is an attack on Rangers based upon information from the Police or his employer’s security team, or he is jumping to a conclusion based on no evidence whatsoever.
I am however sure that it is not the latter – after all, one implication of his quote is that his team’s rivals (or at least their fans) are responsible for criminal attacks on their property, which is not a comment calculated to calm down tensions which already seem to palpable between Rangers and Celtic fans (or at least amongst those active on the Internet)!
Posted by Paul McConville