I was born in Glasgow in 1951, and lived there for 26 years before moving to play for Liverpool.
During my playing career for Celtic in the 1970s, I can’t remember ever being the victim of any serious sectarian abuse.
Growing up in Glasgow, I don’t recall anything over the top, either.
That’s not to say I lived a sheltered life, and that sectarianism didn’t exist.
Far from it.
Sure, there would be one or two detrimental remarks every now and again – and the way you handled that as a teenager would be to answer back in a uncomplimentary manner.
But there wasn’t a time I felt overly threatened.
When I returned to the city in 1999 to take up my role in the football department at Celtic Park, it appeared to me that the sectarian issues I’d become accustomed to over 20 years previously had improved.
My wife, Marina, felt the same.
Celtic and Rangers were trying hard to tackle the issue, and had been making a conscientious effort to stamp it out.
In Maurice Johnston, Rangers had signed a high-profile Catholic footballer, something Graeme Souness had been determined to do.
And a few years later at Celtic Park, club owner, Fergus McCann, launched the Bhoys Against Bigotry campaign.
Fans, and society in general, appeared to be more understanding and better behaved as the new Millennium approached.
However, despite those moves by both halves of the Old Firm, sectarianism, bigotry – call it what you want – was never fully eradicated.
And I feel it never will be.
It’s not that long ago that Neil Lennon stated he believed he had received death threats while working in Scotland because he is an Irish Catholic.
Over the past week, the problem has been back under the spotlight again.
Kilmarnock’s Kris Boyd was the victim of sectarian abuse from Celtic fans at Rugby Park.
A few days later, his manager Steve Clarke also suffered sectarian abuse at the hands of the Rangers fans at Ibrox.
Frankly, it was all very sad and actually quite sickening.
It’s not good in any shape or form for Scottish football.
Whatever the colour of your skin, or your religious beliefs, football should not be used as a vehicle to verbally abuse people.
Kris made it clear that he can live with the chants, but drew the line at being hit by an object, as he was during the game.
Steve, meanwhile, made it abundantly clear that he was offended by the comments aimed at him during the Scottish Cup tie against Rangers.
He spoke out immediately after the match, and that made the national news and opened up a country-wide debate, with the SFA and Scottish Government getting involved.
It also prompted a personal apology from Rangers chairman Dave King.
I thought Dave’s words were honest and concise, and it struck me he spoke as a concerned human being, rather than a chairman.
As opened up at Ibrox, Steve stated that he was glad that he moved away from Scotland when he joined Chelsea from St Mirren more than 30 years ago.
He worked as a player, coach and manager in England until 17 months ago when he returned north to take over at Kilmarnock.
But his children were brought up in England, and he made it clear he was delighted that they weren’t brought up in the west of Scotland, where they might have been subjected to sectarianism.
I’ve known Steve for many years, and had him at Liverpool as my assistant manager a few years ago.
I have the highest regard for him as a person and as a professional, and he has done an outstanding job as Killie manager.
I also know him well enough to know that for him to come out and say what he did at Ibrox, the abuse must really have got to him.
He wouldn’t have said what he said for the sake of it, or to deflect away from the fact that Killie had lost the cup tie 5-0.
No, he was being honest and I commend him for expressing his feelings.
I also respect his views regarding his family.
But I never felt glad that my kids weren’t brought up in Scotland.
Marina and I have four children – Kelly, Paul, Lynsey and Lauren – and they all left Liverpool at some stage to go to Glasgow to either work or study.
Being proud Glaswegians, Marina and I never discouraged them in any way from moving up north at any stage in their lives.
Even though they spent most of their formative years in England, they were aware of sectarianism.
Most people down south with a knowledge of football are aware of the history between Celtic and Rangers.
They might find it hard to understand the bitterness in the rivalry, but it is there.
And I’m doubtful we will ever be able to say it has totally left Scottish society – or Scottish football.
It all starts with the way you are brought up by your parents, and what they deem to be acceptable and unacceptable.
It then goes into schools and the education you receive.
It is also about people as individuals making the right choices.
Most people do. But we still have morons out there who get pleasure from verbally abusing footballers and using religion as their vehicle.
We’re not asking football supporters to be angels, but a few of them do need to behave much better.
You know, with the league race being tight and some good Scottish Cup ties to look forward to next weekend, it’s a shame that we are having to speak about sectarianism and bigotry.
It’s sad that the idiotic behaviour has been dominating the headlines and the narrative at so many different levels.
But Scottish football, society in general, and Celtic and Rangers must not give up.
All parties have a huge task to eradicate it, and it’s unlikely they will ever see the finishing line with the issue.
It has to be a continuous effort, however.
I believe progress has been made. Those involved in achieving that should be applauded.
Just because the Old Firm haven’t managed to stamp it out 100% doesn’t mean they have failed.
However, if they are really serious about this – from football clubs to the SFA and SPFL, to the Government, education authorities and Police Scotland – they must all get together and work cohesively to have an all-year round plan. There is no use in this issue being highlighted once or twice a year – for two or three days – and then being forgotten about, as has happened in the past.
It has to be non-stop, making the guilty people aware that they are not going to get away with it.
As we know, 100% effort in anything doesn’t guarantee success, especially with an issue such as this.
But it would be society’s failure if everyone didn’t give their all to tackle it.
It’s never too late.