KYOGO Furuhashi is new to Scottish shores. But one suspects the racial abuse he encountered this weekend is old hat.

Repugnant wouldn’t touch it in terms of a description.

Hypocrisy would come close; Scottish football was rightly incensed at the putrid treatment of Glen Kamara when he was the victim of an equally nauseating racial slur last April.

Isn’t it odd how the colour of a shirt affects what we perceive in terms of racism? And before anyone gets too high and mighty, there would be a plausible suggestion there were a fair few Celtic fans who saw only green when Aleksandar Tonev was given a seven-match ban after being found guilty of abusing Shay Logan in 2014.

But as Celtic put out a statement this weekend after videos circulated on social media, it was difficult to escape the depressing element to it all.

Furuhashi has lit up Scottish football with an immediate impact. In some bizarre way there is a weird compliment in the abuse; one suspects his six goals, his movement, his obvious ability and the alacrity with which he has settled into Celtic would make him something of a threat.


Insecurity so often manifests itself in the most odious behaviours.

It takes courage to speak out in such circumstances, to challenge the views of those who cheer on the same team and purport to hold the same vision.

When Scott Brown quietly crossed the halfway line and wandered into the Rangers warm-up area to put his arm around the shoulder of Kamara, it was little more than an act of common decency. A reminder that some things are bigger than rivalry, bigger than football.

Last week there was a harrowing story about a prevailing culture of naked, insidious racism at Chelsea in the ’90s. The 1990s. The ’90s of Blur and Oasis and Pulp and Quentin Tarantino...not the dark old days of the 1970s or the 1960s.

The abuse, physical and verbal, and the environment in which it was allowed to flourish made for a disturbing and uncomfortable realisation of just how appalling life would have been for those players.

It would be difficult to overplay their courage in turning up for work day in, day out knowing what lay in wait. And it offers a thought about the stories you don’t know from those times when there was more acceptance of such prejudice, not just in football circles but daily life in general.

The Rangers fans who mocked Furuhashi are, of course, a minority. But they are a dangerous minority.

To that end, the Ibrox club ought to be commended on two fronts: the speed with which they acted to condemn the footage and also by refusing further tickets to the supporters’ association which the bus in question is affiliated to.

It reflects badly on all and the club’s reaction ought to serve as a warning of low tolerance for such mindless idiocy.

Anything other than a strong response would have risked not only besmirching the reputation of the club but risk legitimising that which should never be.

Furuhashi’s simple reaction was a quiet condemnation of. His social media post: “I’ll never walk alone” and his #notoracism will have endeared himself further to his new support, although there is a belief that there were others outwith a Celtic persuasion who would have stood beside the 26-year-old. 

But there is no question that the footage that emerged on Sunday paints a toe-curling picture of an element of our society that continues to resist education and resist coming into the real world.

Cultural changes can take generations to reap the fruits of what is sown but it is imperative that there is the strongest condemnation on every front, particularly from within, when such ugliness raises its head.