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A Deaf Ear

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Last night, Sevco finally released a statement in relation to sectarian singing by their fans.

This statement, on their website, suggested that Friday night’s game – live on BT Sport, again – will be closely monitored by the police and outside agencies, and that the supporters should take care to “prevent the Club from attracting negative comments.”

The supporters themselves appear not to care.

Today, a number of writers on their websites are denying they even heard any sectarian songs.

One of their spokesmen was allowed to get up on Radio Scotland the other night and deny he had heard any.

Most shamefully, BT Sport, in writing to customers (or ex customers) who have made complaints actually said that in the opinion of their team the singing was not terribly loud, so would have been unclear to the majority of listeners.

This shameful, naked scrabbling to deflect from their own embarrassment following the decision to dump the one man on their team who doesn’t need his ears clearing out, makes them look just as bad as the SPFL, who’s top man is already on record as saying nothing can be, or will be, done.

Even those few journalists who have tackled this issue have done it via the old moral equivalence argument, that Celtic fans are just as bad. I’ve tackled that subject in two recent pieces on this site and on one piece for On Fields of Green, and as far as our banners and songs go I’ve said all I’m going to say, except that when some – including some on my own side – talk about football grounds being places where we should “practice tolerance”, I’d suggest they go and look that word up in the dictionary first, as they plainly don’t understand its meaning.

But I’ll tell you what, we do have a section of our support who are turning the rest of us a big deaf ear.

Tonight, in Milan, I hope that they’ll behave, and I am, of course, talking about the use of flares.

Flares aren’t allowed in football grounds. Period. It’s a fact.

Pyrotechnic devices are a danger to other people in an enclosed space, and there’s no wiggle room or dubiety about this. If fans keep taking them to games – including SPL matches – the club is going to pay a high price for that.

This is not a free expression issue. It’s not an issue revolving around a word that Sevco fans are getting all mock-outraged about.

This is a criminal act, no two ways about it, and one that is going to get our club into deep trouble.

Flares contribute nothing to the “ambiance” of watching football. They are a menace. They are dangerous.

Not only do these things put our club in the UEFA dock, but they give our enemies every excuse they need to pluck out the whatabouttery whenever their own transgressions are highlighted. They are having a field day with the story that we’ve been fined again.

But you know what? When it comes right down to it, I could care less what they think and I could care less about the excuses it gives them.

The simple fact is, this damages Celtic to nobody’s benefit. That’s the issue, and that’s all it comes to.

They’ve been asked to stop. They keep on doing it. They’ve been told it damages Celtic. They don’t seem to care.

The argument I applied to Sevco fans can equally be applied here … the club itself ought to take better care of who gets tickets so tracing these people is easier.

No matter what Sevco’s fan sites might say, our problems are miniscule in comparison to the continuing bigotry and hate which courses through much of their support, and those problems are not going to go away, because most of their fans are in denial that those problems exist, or simply don’t care what the world thinks of them.

They shame themselves time and time again.

But we do have some issues that we need to get a grip on, and some people who need to be weeded out of our support.

There’s a graphic doing the rounds on Twitter, which tries to link the Green Brigade with anti-Semitism. I’m sure it’s cobblers, but that’s mud that can’t be allowed to stick, because the toxicity of it is enormous … and it’s precisely why our enemies are using it.

It’s no use hitting back with how ironic it is to be accused of that by the “Red Hand Salute” brigade … it’s another of those issues on which whatabouttery isn’t relevant.

Anti-Semitism is absolutely, wholly, unacceptable.

I have no doubt that my brothers and sisters in the Green Brigade know that, and abhor it … and I am sure they’ll knock this ridiculous slur on the head.

The flares are a more pressing concern … and tonight, when our Troops in the Hoops sing their hearts out in one of the greatest arenas in world football I hope they can do it without crossing the line.

Ronny Deila has been here for half a season, but he already knows what everyone who spends any significant time at our club does … we are a special club, and our fans are the best in the world.

At the precise moment the team on the park looks as if it might do them justice … it’s important to do ourselves the same.

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7 comments

  • terry reilly says:

    Thoughtful, intelligent and highly pertinent analysis. Who would have thought the magic wee dribbler had such a perceptive grasp of the bigger issues….

  • John Costello says:

    As a Roman Catholic and football fan I am disgusted by this blank refusal to accept that this blatant vile singing of sectarian songs by a section of rangers supporters goes on as if they where above the law

  • christophe ageorges says:

    superbe article ! les supporters du Celtic sont des personnes intelligentes qui comprennent que l’interet du club est le plus important ! we are the best supporter of the world ! have a great game tonignt !HH COYBIG.

  • PaddyBhoy says:

    I too hope that all our fans behave and do not do anything that will bring yet more UEFA charges. However should anything happen tonight I fear that the book will be thrown at Celtic. I cannot understand why the idiots using flares etc have not been identified as there are many clear pictures showing the culprits…. God forbid if the worse happens, those who know who these idiots are, are every bit as responsible for any further action taken by the authorities…. For heavens sake give these Clowns up, they are doing untold damage to our club and the good name of our support….

  • Paul Brady says:

    I’ve had many arguments with the pyro maniacs about the use of these things and how it effects our disabled fans and how it hurts the club. Apparently the solution is for those with breathing difficulties to pull their scarves over their mouth and nose. Who would have thought a £5 scarf would be so useful that it could filter out carcinogenic smoke and provide pure air to the wearer. It seems the pyro maniacs care more for their own thrill than either Celtic or their fellow fans. Selfish doesn’t begin to describe them.

  • Alan WARWICK says:

    Are they going to take Stan collymore back and apologise he was right and only spoke the truth

  • bhigowen says:

    James you say your brothers and sisters in the green brigade.
    Sorry but I would question that,we have been fined a total of £88.000 since 2011,and its all down to the green brigade.
    Celtic have tried to sort this problem group out by dispersing them around the ground,but now they are getting preferential,as no ordinary Celtic supporter including season ticket holders are allowed to book a seat in area 111,which is exclusive to the green brigade.

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