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Celtic Is Willing To Question The Behaviour Of Its Fans. If Only Other Clubs Were.

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Celtic’s AGM was yesterday, as everyone will be aware, and the media is looking for something controversial about it. I checked in with a couple of outlets as it was ongoing, and of course they believed one of the only points worthy of note was the ones involving the alleged “sectarian singing” of a section of the support.

It was specifically in relation to the “Sad orange b@@@@@@” song about , but Republican singing got a mention as well.

I’ve discussed this before; the Levein song is just stupid, but to call it sectarian is a stretch.

It shouldn’t be sung though, it’s a ridiculous thing for our fans to sing about.

I think some of the songs and the add-ons that get sung at our games are absolutely moronic.

Beautiful Sunday is a cracking song, and one that our fans seem to love … it does not need the IRA add-on which has damn all to do with Celtic, Scottish football, beautiful Sunday’s or really, anything at all. The constant Republican-fest was boring and needless a long time ago and whilst I will condemn, and strongly oppose, any efforts by the government or the SFA to legislate against what songs people sing, I understand why some inside Celtic are concerned, and even angry.

Really, I get that we’re an Irish Scottish club and I’m proud of all the history that’s associated with that.

I get it, I really do, and I always have.

But the founders of Celtic most certainly did not give us “James McGrory and Paul McStay and the IRA …”

That’s embarrassingly crass.

That belongs in the bin with all the other add-ons of the same sort.

And if the Irish war of independence is to be sung about at games – convince me, somebody, demonstrate the relevance to football on a Sunday at 12:30 in – then there are plenty of good tunes which could be belted out instead.

How about the Wolfetones “Protestant Men” for a start?

A fantastic piece about the non-sectarian nature of that war, and which not a living soul could object to.

The question the guy asked at the AGM yesterday was absolutely legitimate.

I am glad that it was asked.

I was even more pleased with the answer; I know there’s an element of our support which takes zealotry to new heights, but I have no problem with what was said yesterday by Ian Bankier. This was not his ludicrous comments of some years back in relation to the stick that Ian was getting; he cut right to the heart of it and so did Lawwell when he said that some of this stuff plays into the hands of “our enemies” – his words – and lets paint us as “the same as other clubs” when, as he made clear, “we are not.”

Some of those songs do drag our club into the gutter – I wrote a piece on one of them, the Jimmy Bell dirge that was doing the rounds last year and which, thankfully, has been erased from the stands. Others remain, attitudes from the ’s, hanging in there like tics on a cat’s backside.

They are few in number, but they pop up every once in a while.

I take heart from the fact that a question like that came from the floor during our AGM.

I take heart from the fact the club didn’t soft soap it, that they tackled it head on, that they condemned some of the singing whilst pointing out that we do have standards and do have a for being more than that, and that we’re determined to protect it. Our club gets it, our club cares about this stuff, which is why I do feel that we have a moral standpoint from which to say we might well reject a ticket at Ibrox, as Lawwell suggested.

I am proud of the fact that my club and our supporters want to be better.

I am proud that we believe we’ve got something worth standing up for, our rep, the respect of the world.

There are people in Scottish football who are in denial about the problems at their own clubs and I am pleased that we are not. The media can be as gleeful as they want what they see as the board taking a stab at the fans; they ought to be asking why others don’t.

There are dire problems at Sevco with sectarian singing; I cannot imagine that question coming up at their AGM and I cannot imagine such an uncompromising stance from the club if it did. Hearts has problems, and full credit to their fans who are willing to tackle them and I do believe they would raise it at their club’s annual meeting, and I do think Budge would say similar things to what Celtic did yesterday.

But that would not get an ounce of the media coverage.

The media could be helping clubs with this stuff, but they would rather sensationalise and try to paint it as some kind of split. It is not. It is an acknowledgement that even the best fans in the world still have a way to go.

Our club is not complacent.

Our club is not afraid of discussing, and tackling, the big issues.

A small number of our fans are a problem … I will never be angry with Celtic for facing up to that and for doing something about it.

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