The news that Celtic has allowed The Green Brigade to put up its Palestinian flags on the North Curve for tonight’s game is one of the best things the club has done in a while.
This is a good example of all that’s been missing from those in charge for what seems like an age now.
It’s an example of fan engagement and an example of us showing a sympathetic face to those far-flung corners of the world where conflict rages and persecution is the order of business.
Without wanting to distract from the point, it’s another example of how Ian Bankier is a non-entity around the club where he’s supposed to be chairman. I don’t imagine that the sight of those banners will exactly thrill him. Too bad.
The Palestinian flag belongs at Celtic Park. I used to take one to games.
I remember causing quite the kerfuffle a few years back, when I wrote an article against the flag protest that greeted Hapoel and got us a UEFA fine.
I said in that piece that I had long supported the Palestinians; I’d marched for them, raised money for them, got to know the community in Glasgow … but I wasn’t comfortable with what was being planned for that particular evening.
I did so for two reasons; I thought it was a gratuitous insult to our guests, especially as their club has a history of cross community schemes and I thought it was asking for trouble to no positive end. In short, I didn’t think the gesture would do any actual good.
And about that, I was glad to be proved dead wrong.
The gesture itself made headlines across the world and more; the Match The Fine For Palestine campaign – which was obviously well thought through beforehand – made even more.
I was proud of our fans for having the foresight to see that thing through from A to B to C, and even more proud that it brought hope to the Palestinian people across the world. I didn’t mind being wrong.
The issue is all that matters and I care deeply about that issue.
I am always pleased to see that flag amongst our supporters; I am even more pleased that in recent years the fans who fly it have gone above and beyond mere gestures and done some honest-to-God good over there.
This, tonight, is a gesture but it’s appropriate and it is timely and for once it shows the club paying more than lip service to the fans.
It’s a dark time for the Palestinian people and for the peace process over there which was completely trashed under Trump and leaves Biden with a big job on his hands.
It was good to hear our First Minister condemn Israel’s actions and calling for sanity.
It is not unexpected that Johnson has failed to do the same.
Whether it understands it or not our club has taken a political stand here, and for once it’s one that I think the majority of our fans can get behind.