Date: 4th September 2019 at 1:37pm
Written by:

On Monday morning we heard that Celtic was being charged by UEFA for the same old nonsense.

I wanted to leave it a couple of days before I wrote about that; I wanted to enjoy the aftermath of the game at the weekend and keep track of some of the madness of the transfer window and the stuff happening across town, which I knew would be hilarious.

Today I come back to this almost reluctantly, because I’m sick writing about it.

When I referred to the “same old nonsense” in the opening paragraph that was not a dig at UEFA; it was a dig at the people in our support who simply will not pay heed to the club or to the regulations when it comes to bringing pyrotechnics into football grounds.

The club’s position is clear. UEFA’s position is clear.

Here in Scotland, it is a crime.

There is no ambiguity over this.

Most fans do not want this stuff near them.

It is manifestly dangerous. Independent studies confirm that there is no safe way to handle a firework, flare or smoke bomb within a confined area like a football stand.

This stuff is straightforward.

With all that in mind, the arrogance of these people, to think they can continue to behave like this, until it has real consequences for Celtic or fellow fans, is difficult to credit.

This the same mind-set that fuels the Union Bears defence of sectarian singing.

Hold up a mirror to one and see the other clearly.

I am not comparing pyro with bigotry, but the blind refusal from both to toe the line, their insistence on their own “rights” and to Hell with what anyone else says, makes it clear that the same egotism drives both.

And Celtic will not – because Celtic cannot – tolerate it. Celtic has spelled this out over and over again, and those who aren’t listening will sooner or later be brought to book for it.

Those who want to “normalise” the use of pyrotechnics at games are disengaged from reality if they believe that this will ever happen; it will not, not as long as UEFA is making the rules.

I said I would hold fire on talking about the events of that night; I meant those involving the police and our supporters and whether there were Hammarby fans in the Celtic end.

I still want clarity on those things but believe I have established, to my own satisfaction, that Hammarby fans were present and that the police were heavy handed.

But there is no doubt that Celtic fans had flares and smoke bombs.

There is no doubt therefore that the club has to hold up its hands on that.

Yet the club is not responsible for it.

Those who brought those things into the ground are.

These people will not stop until they are made to pay for their own actions.

Before long that’s exactly what Celtic will do.

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