AS an old French teacher would testify after her eyebrows shot high enough to hit the ceiling in a Higher French oral exam, delving into a moral philosophy discussion can be a treacherous business. A simple mix-up between the two Jean-Pauls, Gaultier and Sartre, brought two worlds sharply colliding.

But, it was difficult this week to resist the temptation to indulge in another bit of armchair ideology as news of Fernando Ricksen’s death broke and Glasgow’s own two worlds came together.

Once the favoured guy that Celtic fans loved to hate during his Rangers career, Ricksen’s six-year fight against the cruelness of Motor Neurone Disease and the dignity with which he faced that battle brought forth an appreciation not of his football allegiances but of his humanity.

When there was confirmation on Wednesday afternoon of his passing it was no surprise that both of Glasgow’s football communities united in the offering of condolences that went significantly beyond trotted-out platitudes.

But why does it take death, and in particular the jarring passing of a 43-year-old man whose life was so full of vitality that no amount of whitewash could cover up the colour which weaved its way through it, to press the pause button on the obstinate bigotry that remains a stain not just on Scottish football but society in general?

There was a cease-fire when Ally McCoist and Walter Smith carried the coffin of Tommy Burns, there was respect and appreciation this year to mark the passing of Billy McNeill and Stevie Chalmers. There was Neil Lennon this week offering a moving and genuine tribute to Ricksen, whom he battled with on more than one occasion on a football pitch.

But in a week in which figures revealed that hate crimes at football matches are up by 40 per cent and a former deputy police constable for Police Scotland, Tom Wood, asserted, unsubtly and against a significant body of evidence, that Catholic schools are instrumental

in the continuation of sectarianism, it is difficult not to wonder why there can be tolerance when the ultimate facts of life are laid bare but not when we are all in the midst of it.

Last weekend Glasgow City Council took the decision to ban all marches after a previous weekend in which Loyalist protestors at a Republican march ended in ugly clashes with police in riot gear.

Rangers’ and Celtic’s names are indelibly linked with so much of the city’s problems with sectarian conflict. Both have been invited to sit at anti-sectarianism summits and both have tried to encourage a disassociation with those who wish, particularly recently, to breathe new life into old prejudices, with varying degrees of success.

The current crop of Rangers players did their bit to offer a tribute to Ricksen with a 1-0 win over Feyenoord in the club’s opening Europa League match on Thursday night. Ibrox bore witness to a fine and hearty display from Rangers, but it did so with 3,000 seats empty because of a UEFA sanction brought forth because of the continuation of sectarian signing and after repeated warnings.

This weekend there will be marches throughout Glasgow again as a request from the city council to the Orange Order to withdraw their application to march was opposed. While many would have been in favour of maintaining the ban, the fear is that giving either group a sense of grievance will further feed their anger and persecution complex.

The tolerance the city witnessed for just a little while this week will be forgotten as normal service resumes.

The independence referendum and Brexit have polarised communities. There is a charged nature to political discussion with the prospect of a United Ireland and an independent Scotland bringing to the fore suspicions and hostilities that have forever bubbled under the surface in the West of Scotland.

In these parts, football has been the traditional conduit for the expression of political disenchantment but it is worth remembering that tolerance is possible.

The last few days have shown that but it shouldn’t always need to take the grim reality of death to be able to find that little bit of common ground.

ALL eyes will turn to Leith tomorrow afternoon. Easter Road will house the first Edinburgh derby of the season but the odds on both managers still being in the dugout when the last one is played this term will be long.

Paul Heckingbottom is on slippery ground after a desperately poor start to the season but for Craig Levein, the continuation of poor form from the last campaign has fed into a woeful start to this one.

The Hearts manager, pictured, is long enough in the tooth to know that once police and stewards are stopping an angry mob of your own support at the front door then there is every chance the gig is up. Ann Budge has not got much wrong as Hearts owner but her statement this week in which she spoke of “genuine fans” was the wrong tone entirely for a support who are weary not just of the results that see Hearts at the foot of the table but of the throwback performances that have put them there.

Levein’s situation is complicated by the legacy he has within the club as well as the fact he holds two roles – manager and director of football. Neither seem tenable in the aftermath of recent weeks.

His body language and tone suggested as much last weekend as he addressed the press in the aftermath of an angry mob calling for his head.

A win this weekend might provide a stay of execution but it is liable to be only that.