IF we have learned anything from the astonishing scenes that unfolded in Argentina over the past week it is that, when it comes to incidents of football-related violence and general mayhem, Scotland mercifully still finds itself fairly far down that particular league table of nations.

They will try again early next month to play the second leg of the Copa Libertadores final after the first attempt was postponed due to fans of River Plate greeting the Boca Juniors team bus by smashing its windows, causing glass to shatter over and onto several players. The police tear gas used to dispel the crowd also drifted on to the coach, leaving those on board retching and vomiting. Little wonder the match didn’t go ahead at the first attempt, or even the night after.

Meanwhile, in Scotland, we previously had a parliamentary summit after two managers came together for a two-second touchline tete-a-tete, a scene described by some eager to put football in the dock as a “shame game”. And said with a straight face, too.

Now we have the suggestion that post-match celebrations ought to be considered inflammatory and should be toned down or perhaps stopped altogether. And, while safety is obviously paramount for those in charge of policing such events, a sense of perspective would also not go amiss.

Compare what is happening inside and around Scottish football stadia with those scenes in Argentina, or footage from the Italian, Serbian or Turkish leagues, for example, where fighting, flares and fireworks seem as much a part of their matchday experience as a pie and Bovril are over here. Nothing even that remotely chaotic ever happens in Scottish football.

Regardless, the authorities seem intent on taking the fun out of everything. The police will argue there is no other way and that, amid the blurred lines of what is acceptable and what is not, it is always better to come down on the side of caution.

If the suggestion from a senior officer in an internal memo is to be followed to the letter, it would leave Celtic or Rangers players unable to go to thank their own supporters after a derby victory for fear of how opposition fans might react.

At a time when we are trying to talk up the game to encourage more fans – especially younger ones – to get along to matches, that is a wholly disheartening premise. The importance of player/supporter interaction can’t be underplayed.

Instead, the focus should be on targeting those who find it impossible to behave during the two hours or so they are inside a football ground. If a minority of mindless morons want to throw coins at players, or rush to attack them as they embark on a lap of honour, then make dealing with them the priority.

Celtic have also announced they are considering not taking tickets for their game at Ibrox at the end of next month for security reasons. With both clubs having already reduced the allocations made available to visiting supporters, there is a danger our highest-profile fixture is becoming increasingly watered down.

Scottish stadia can rarely be considered properly intimidating venues, not the kind of places where – as either a fan or part of the media – you regularly fear for your safety. If we make such a hullabaloo about incidents such as missiles being thrown, or reprobates running on to the pitch, it is usually because they remain such rarities.

The concern with this latest police missive, then, is that it starts to perpetuate a myth that our grounds aren’t safe places for supporters or players. And when that seed is planted and starts to take root, it can then become a self-fulfilling prophecy.

Families will stay away for fear of what could potentially (but probably won’t) happen, while yobs and bampots will continue to act as the police say they expect them to. Before you know it, crowds are on the wane, anti-social behaviour is on the rise, and we will all be back at Holyrood awaiting the next summit on “what must be done with football”.

Granted, inducing a positive atmosphere inside grounds is not the police’s concern, but there must also be a recognition that the vast majority of those going to a game are doing so to enjoy the football and can be trusted to behave. Why should they be punished due to the reckless actions of a few?