Tonight Should Be About Celtic, Not Some Armchair Rebels Spoiling For A Fight.

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Later on today I will cover last night’s Green Brigade statement and the response from the club.

That requires a longer article than I can bothered with right now. I wanted today to be about our massive Champions League match against an outstanding team from one of the prestige leagues on Earth.

It is a huge occasion, one that deserves our full attention.

But as has become depressingly familiar, a band of rebels – for that is how they see themselves – are intent on hijacking the occasion, and picking a fight with the club.

They’ve tried fighting UEFA, and they’ve recently started to needle Police Scotland – if there are worse ideas on Earth than a group of people who regularly break the law deliberately provoking the attention of the police, I have trouble imagining it – and have finally turned on their own club.

Make no mistake about it, tonight is about them. That’s how they see it.

Read their last couple of statements if you don’t believe me.

Even better, read the one which came out in support of them from the group that calls itself The Bhoys. That, at least, is about as honest as it can be about what the agenda is. Palestine is an afterthought to these people now, it’s all about sticking it to The Man. Lawwell. And the rest of the board of directors.

The very people who have given these people a platform which they have taken a dump on at every opportunity.

And man oh man, how their egos have grown in direct proportion to the trouble they have caused. It is telling that their statement last night claimed that Lawwell told them in 2016 that they were “finished”.

If he did then he made a colossal mistake in not backing that up. That they are claiming he made such a threat, only for them to survive and grow stronger as they see it, is telling.

They don’t believe Celtic can act against them. They are wrong. They don’t believe Celtic will act against them. They’ve already been proved wrong on that score, and the message still hasn’t gotten through to them.

Everything about their statement and the one before it reeked of a towering arrogance and a completely misplaced confidence in their own position.

It was all about them. How they’ve suffered. How Celtic has persecuted them. How the club is on their back. Previous missives have detailed how Police Scotland is out to intimidate them … in the meantime actual people are dying in an actual warzone on the other side of the world.

Amazing isn’t it? Juxtapose those two situations.

Imagine playing the victim card at a time like this.

The part I found hardest to stomach, or even properly process, was after they had made it clear that tonight is their two fingers to the board they talked up how all they want to do is give their full backing to the team.

Well, too late for that.

The mad thing is, I’m sure they will get behind the players and tell themselves it was a job well done, but they’ve cast a dark shadow over the whole night and the whole experience and we all know that the worst is yet to come because there will be – there will have to be – a reckoning for the things that have happened and which the club has put in the public domain.

Fans all across Europe have displayed Palestinian flags over the last week.

Demonstrations involving millions of people have taken place all over the world.

The Green Brigade believes that a display at our stadium tonight will be exalted and hailed and will “raise the morale” of people who are being bombed and starved and denied medical supplies.

The truth is, that’s nothing but rampaging egotism.

Those people have a lot more on their minds than what flags are flown at Celtic Park.

I wish I believed that this would do some good, no matter how small, because that might in some tiny fashion make up for the enormous confrontation this is designed to provoke … but no good can come of this.

There’s no positive outcome here, and a massive evening for our club is about to be spectacularly overshadowed by events off the pitch.

Don’t let anyone kid you that this is about Palestine any more because it’s not.

Tonight, they want a show of support for that greater cause they believe in; their own. Read their statements if you don’t believe me. Everything else, including the game, is a sideshow for these people.

They think they are the show.

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  • Bill says:

    Sadly the club fed this beast, and now the beast has turned on the club. Was always going to end this way.
    I’m angry at what they’ve done to our Club. A full ban is the only answer. Take away their tickets and give them to true fans on the waiting list. “A club like no other “?- true, no other is run by a group of renegade fans. The Board have lost control.

  • John S says:

    It is heartening to know that this group’s shenanigans are at last being called out. Celtic Park is not a conduit for political disgruntlement, the GB are perverting the club’s charitable history for its own aims. Tonight’s game is a football match, not a National rally.
    All Nationalism is divisive, Keep politics out of Paradise.

    • Clachnacuddin and the Hoops says:

      I agree with a lot of your post – in fact most of your post bar the all nationalism is derisive bit…

      I very much want independence for Ireland and Scotland free from the hideous policies fest upon them by the government that operates The Butchers Apron but I certainly don’t want it done in a divisive way –

      Unfortunately these Brit nationalists that love The said Butchers Apron very much do !

  • Philip Graham says:

    Brilliant article, very well expressed!

  • Torky58 says:

    Well said James ? ?? I couldn’t have put it better myself, I used to have a respect for the Green Brigade as they did some really great stuff and brought in some good publicity for the club. It is apparent now that as you rightly say it’s all about them now and no matter what they think this is a battle they can’t win, the club hold all the aces. They’ve been warned repeatedly over their behaviour and for bringing illegal pyro into the ground, what are the club meant to do now? I think the board have been very lenient so far but it looks now like they’re going to start playing hardball and that’s a war the GB can’t win. They either toe the line or pay the price which will end up with them having their season tickets revoked in favour of supporters who want to follow the club without incident and that’s ultimately what the outcome will be.

  • Biffo67 says:

    Rather than go out to directly antagonise UEFA or whoever, would it not have been smarter to ask that just as many Ukraine flags be flown as Palestine flags and see how UEFA could possibly make an issue out of that.

    • Phil says:

      As a mature (60+) supporter I have both agreed and disagreed with some of the actions of the GB over the years. However, I have never heard them suggesting that they speak for all fans. I know that some supporters would gladly see the back of them but desist from spreading this myth.

  • 18871888 says:

    Disagree completely, James. I’ve come across several articles, including in the Arabic press, noting Celtic fans’ support for Palestinians’ human rights. Liverpool fans demonstrated in their support at the weekend, as have other clubs in England and in Ireland. Are we to pull the plug now?

  • Phil says:

    What’s your thoughts on the show of support for Palestine by the supporters at Tynecastle on Sunday considering the GB weren’t in the Stadium?

  • Kevan McKeown says:

    They’re no the ‘voice’ of the Celtic support they think they are. If they don’t comply with what the board are requestin, shut them down.

  • michael cunningham says:

    Are Celtic FC not in a position to totally ban the GB from all future Celtic fixtures?

    Furthermore can the Club confiscate these flags from,” fans ‘ prior to entry?

    Liel Abada to stay…. GB to go!!

  • John Montgomery says:

    There are over 9 million Celtic fans worldwide so why do the Green Brigade think they have the right to be the voice of us all when they are a self appointed organisation? We didn’t vote for them to be the fan’s representative. Even on match day at home they are a tiny percentage of the fans and we don’t all agree with using or club as a platform for the preaching of their political views. Even if we did agree with their views Celtic park isn’t the place to voice your political views it’s a place to support Celtic.

    • Kevan McKeown says:

      @ JM. Absolutely mate. They’ve created this problem by thinkin they’re above reproach.

  • Jim says:

    One year ago tonight we played Shaktar at CP.
    Ukrainians settling into Scotland were give free tickets; Ukrainian kids were official mascots and the crowd were encouraged to show their support for Ukraine ( rightly, imo)

    Why such a different approach from the board when it’s Palestinians being slaughtered by another dictator?

    I’d rather we talked only football but the hypocrisy on show here is staggering.

    • Kevan McKeown says:

      @ Jim. And once again, from some people, a complete failure tae mention the innocent Israeli men, women and children victims of this horrible situation. Don’t they matter ? It’s a human tragedy for both sides. Russia invaded Ukraine, slaughtering for one man’s power and tae take away Ukraine’s democratic rights as an independent country. The circumstances on how this latest situation between Palestine and Israel began are very different. Of course it’s no THAT simple, ah know that, tho ah don’t think both situations can be held up as any kind of comparison.

  • Billmcallister says:

    The article is very good but the club have it within their hands to deal with this unruly mob. The club should have told them that their would be no admittance to the section occupied by the Green Brigade for the games against Athletico and Feyenoord and the money would be refunded also any further confrontations of this nature will result in the area being closed for the season with no refunds and renewals will not be issued for next season. Bill McAllister

  • Magua says:

    As a keen student of history, James, you will be aware that appeasement never works. When Hitler’s troops marched into the Rhineland in 1936, there was no resistance to this act. If there had been, the history of the world may well have been different. This enabled Hitler, and his demands grew evermore extreme. Austria and the Sudetenland fell into his orbit. When Hitler invaded the rest of Czechoslovakia in March 1939, the scales fell from the apeasers’ eyes. It was clear from then on, that Hitler was an imperialist.

    Hail Hail.

  • Marc Gault says:

    Really good article and bang on point!

    Let’s hope this is the end of these jumped up egotistical wee guys who think they run the club!

    I doubt most of them could point to Gaza on a map!

  • Danny maxwell says:

    Im 67 years of age ive been going to celtic games since i was 10 the older im getting the less tollaarent im becoming of the g b g our club is fined every year because of them i partly blame c f c for this as they panderd to them i remember lenny placeing the league trophy in front of them i said we would regret that big time its time to close it down the gbg now

  • Phil says:

    We’ve had a fair bit of G B bashing today. So what about the thousands of others inside Paradise tonight who supported Palestine. Should they also be banned? It’s the hypocrisy that I can’t stand.

    • James Forrest says:

      Did they break fire doors? Threaten staff? Force their way into our stadium without permission?

      No? Then of course I don’t want them banned.

      Perhaps you can’t read … I have NO ISSUE with the Palestinian flag. I said last week that I think UEFA are stone hypocrites for attempting to sanction us over it. The issue here is a fan group which is basically telling the club to get fucked on everything from banners to pyro … my issue is with HOOLIGANS.

      You gonna defend hooliganism? Go right ahead.

  • John McClenaghan says:

    This might gall you, but it looked to me like the majority of CP was in support of the Palestinian people last night. Of course it’s just your individual opinion that the intentions of the GB are self seeking but I don’t see any evidence of that. I’m not sure what an ‘armchair rebel’ is but it’s plain to see that the GB (whether you personally agree with them or not) are pretty idealist and sincere in their intentions. You’re quite out of step with the majority of Celtic fans here I believe. The notion that politics and football shouldn’t mix is pretty naive. Last night I noticed UEFA displayed a message on the big screens with the word ‘peace’, suffixed with the Ukrainian translation. That dispels the nonsense that sport should be free of politics. I’ve followed Celtic for 40 odd years through thick and thin…huge part of my life, but it’s inconsequential compared to the brutal oppression of the Palestinian people. You may feel that is nothing to do with Celtic FC or Celtic fans, but hey, that’s free speech.

    • James Forrest says:

      Why would it gall me? The article you are commenting on is one of a number and I’ve written on the subject and I’ve written in those pieces, many of them anyway, how I personally feel about the Palestine situation. I have no issue with the flag. The club does. And it’s the club’s house. I also think UEFA would have some balls to sanction us for it since it’s the flag of a UN recognised state. I have never said that sport and politics shouldn’t mix, I’ve said I understand why “political expression” is banned from football stadiums.

      So let’s see; I support Palestine, the right to fly a Palestinian flag, I am all for political expression but don’t see the need for it in a football ground, and UEFA rightly bans overt political expression from its competitions because how would you like to see banners at games calling for the murder of civilians and ethnic cleansing? If the amrchair rebels had their way it would all be legit and football would be just another battlefield.

      I am against fans behaving like hooligans. I think in THAT sense the vast majority of supporters agree wholeheartedly.

      Your problem is that you’ve read one article out of hundreds on this subject and you’ve cast me into the role you think I play here. But that actually sums up the simple-minded way you see the world as expressed in your post.

      And you know what else? I’m fucking sick of the constant references to Ukraine in some replies. Do you not believe Ukraine is entitled to our support and encouragement in their war with Russia? Does football have too much politics or not enough? Make your mind up.

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