Celtic And The Myth Of A Right To Free Expression At Parkhead.

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Make me an argument on almost any element of the current debate on Palestine and Celtic and I’ll have the discussion with you whether I agree with you or not.

Almost any element.

If you come at me with “Celtic is a political organisation” I will disagree, but before you make your case I’ll acknowledge that you have grounds for your argument and I’ll happily enter the debate.

If you argue that we have a moral responsibility to speak up against oppression I will disagree on various grounds but we can certainly discuss it in a civilised fashion.

A good argument depends on two points of view.

There is no such thing as a good argument where somebody is pushing a blatant falsehood. And the one area where there’s no point in us having a debate on this is on the grounds of free speech.

Years ago, when I was at Stirling Uni, at around the time when I started my personal retreat from political activism, in no small part because of the Iraq War, my mate and I met a guy in the student union one night who wanted us to attend a meeting of the debating society.

I never joined the debating society at Stirling, it had just started at the time and I wasn’t friendly with the people who founded it, and it was better to stay away for that reason.

But he said something that night that got me interested; their debate was on free speech and one of their speakers had dropped out. The guy who had dropped out was speaking on behalf of restrictions on freedom of expression and I volunteered to take his place.

My mate thought I’d lost my mind. Because I was then, and I am now, a free speech advocate who believes that there should be virtually no restrictions on free expression at all.

I’m a sneaky sod though, and it was because of the word “virtually” that I knew I could argue the case and actually win the debate on a position I’d basically never have voluntarily taken. Because what I knew then and now was that unrestricted free speech doesn’t exist in any country, never has existed and never will, and with good reason.

All I did that night was take what I knew were perfectly valid arguments against certain extremes and stretched them as far I could whilst still being able to live with myself, and I started my opening statement with an extraordinarily misogynistic “joke” which I wanted to rinse my mouth out for uttering, and which shocked three quarters of the people in the room.

“That,” I said, “is a particularly horrible example of why we need restrictions on what people are allowed to say in public.”

I didn’t believe that jokes should be subjected to political sensitivity vetting; as I said, I was stretching my own view that certain things need to be restricted as far as I could get it to go, and I had reached for something that was egregiously offensive but didn’t cross any legal lines or get into any area which would lead in that direction.

So of course, I won the debate. When you start like that you force the other person to defend something that’s basically indefensible or to surrender the whole point, and although I felt quite bad for having resorted to such a cheap tactic, and felt like I needed a beer to bring me back to myself again, I have never forgotten the expressions on some of the people’s faces that night, especially the ladies in the room, when I hit them with my opening line; “What is a woman?” and then dropped the so-called punchline which I’m certainly not writing here.

And it’s when I look back now that I realise that my own view on this isn’t even what it was then. Because that sort of “joke” should probably be banned. It goes beyond being merely offensive. It’s dehumanising. It’s degrading. It’s just unacceptable.

I know there are people in our support who want to promote their political views inside Celtic Park, and they are forever telling us that they have the right to do so. But they are the same people who have complained, bitterly, when our club has taken a position on something which they do not approve of. Look at the excoriating criticism the club is getting right now for factually stating that it is not a political body and that political banners have no place in the ground.

The free speech brigade love free speech when its something they want to hear. That’s my difficulty with it. I’ve found, in my time, that some of the most profound defenders of free expression are easily the most intolerant people when it comes to free expression that they don’t happen to agree with. It always amuses me to see the state they get into.

But my point really isn’t about them, it’s about Celtic and Celtic’s statement wherein they say that political banners don’t belong in the ground. And to an extent it’s about UEFA and their own view on it, which they’ve managed to express in opening another investigation against us for the GB banner at the Lazio match. It’s a complicated subject.

But it helps, I think, to understand why UEFA’s position on this exists, and to acknowledge that their position on it is actually openly contradictory … and I half suspect that it is intended to be.

UEFA’s ban on political expression exists to combat far-right extremism in football stadiums. That’s not even a secret. The rule was introduced because those political views were becoming commonplace in various countries across the continent and they wanted to nix that. In opposition to those far-right messages of hate, anti-fascist groups sprung up with their own banners, some of them quite aggressive. Which obviously raised the spectre of violence.

I understand exactly why the ban on far-right expression exists. It was needed. It couldn’t be allowed. Football should not, and must not, be utilised to promote hatred and that’s what the far-right does. But how do you ban that without the “free speech advocates” freaking out?

And that’s something to remember in this debate.

The foremost advocates, right now, across the world, banging the free speech drum, aren’t folk on the left. They are people who are spreading hatred and who are being, one at a time, kicked off the social media sites and other platforms where they can disseminate it and even profit from it and it’s because of those people that I shudder whenever I hear people on the left attacking institutions and organisations for “shutting down free speech.” Sometimes it needs to be done.

But that’s what UEFA decided that it had to do. They didn’t want right wing propaganda or sentiment in the stands, and because they also didn’t want questions being asked about whether or not football had a right to promote one political viewpoint over another, they issued a blanket ban on it all. Except … no, they really didn’t, and we know they didn’t.

Because UEFA itself wears its heart on its sleeve. It always has, and the thing of it is, I don’t disagree with a single major political decision or stance that it has taken in my living memory. FIFA too maintains political neutrality, but celebrated diversity and the end of apartheid quite openly when it took the World Cup to South Africa, a country which from 1963 until 1991 was banned from taking part in FIFA competitions because of apartheid.

Now I know that people are going to say that Israel – with more United Nations violations than any other nation, by a distance – should probably be banned by UEFA as well as FIFA; I don’t disagree, but like I said, this is complicated, and there are other factors there, not least of which is that a lot of people who just don’t like the fact of Israel’s existence would be quite happy with that outcome along with those of us who think that the regime there needs a lesson in what’s acceptable and not.

So, whilst I think FIFA and UEFA have been selective in which causes they have chosen to promote over the years, I don’t think any of us can doubt which side they are on, and I don’t have the slightest problem with a single one of the causes which they have attached their names to and no right thinking person would, could or should.

Anti-racism. Kick it out. That’s a social justice issue. They supported Black Lives Matter. A social justice issue. The coloured laces and their support for the LGBTQ community which, by the way, should have seen Russia lose a World Cup and banned from UEFA and FIFA long before they started a war to earn it. The ban on Russia, most of whose club sides are owned by pro-Putin oligarchs … I don’t disagree with it at all although I’d like to see Saudi Arabia and other countries added to the list of the banned … I mean, you get the point.

But UEFA and FIFA don’t hide what side of the fence they’re on it when it comes to social issues. They are avowedly anti-racist. They are anti-discrimination. They have been a positive force in promoting social causes and positive values, it’s a fact, even if they haven’t done it in every case, even if they haven’t done it enough, even as they pretend to be “apolitical.”

I don’t want an apolitical FIFA or UEFA. Those who are sneering at the “hypocrisy” of UEFA today and venting their spleen because UEFA and FIFA honoured Nelson Mandela, I can only ask them one question: would you have preferred the world football bodies not to have done that? And let me amplify that point; do you have some issue with the fact that they did?

No, the issue here is that they want UEFA to reflect their political views, and that’s where we start to run into the wall. Because if UEFA reflected every political view out there and allowed that, we’d have clubs withdrawing, others getting banned and riots in most stadiums most weeks and every international fixture would be at risk of becoming a bloodbath.

Even without UEFA regulations governing this stuff, most clubs know better than to want it in their house, because it causes untold problems.

We all accept that Celtic’s stand on this has inherent contradictions; most of us know a nod and a wink to a political viewpoint when we see it are content not to press the issue.

For a start, we pride ourselves on being “a club open to all.” But I see people trying to parse that kind of statement as if they are members of the Federalist Society or something, that band of right-wing lawyers and judges in America which takes every word in The Constitution literally and are forever trying to work out what that should mean for the law.

I recognise that “a club open to all” is, if you take it literally, absolute cobblers and I wouldn’t want Celtic ever to live up to that sentiment. I would be disgusted if there were racists sitting in the stand next to me and Celtic was perfectly fine with that.

About 10 or so years ago, some enterprising hacker leaked a list of BNP and far right activists living in Scotland with their names, addresses, phone numbers, the lot.

I won’t deny it, I went through that list laughing at some familiar names in there and wondering what kind of weekend they were having.

If some of those people had been season ticket holders at our club – by the way, I have no doubt that at least a couple of them would have been – and Celtic had been notified of that, the club would have kicked those people out of the stands without a second thought, without a moment’s hesitation and not one Celtic fan site would have complained about it.

A club open to all? Let’s just say “nearly all.”

We know it’s a contradiction, we’ve always known it.

We know better than to take it literally, and 99% of the time we do not dwell on it too much.

We know what the sentiment represents … we don’t have to take it a face value.

That’s why I find the idea that the club are “hypocritical” for their statement of the other day to be just a tiny bit absurd; we know the club is not apolitical. We know we’re not open to every shade of opinion. We know there are views and opinions which are simply not compatible with us and that’s the stand we would want the club to take.

Celtic doesn’t always get this stuff right, and fans aren’t shy about telling the club that.

The protests on behalf of Celtic staff not being paid the living wage were bang on. The club’s stance was grossly incompatible with our founding principles.

When Ian Livingston was on the board many of us considered that a gross insult and I wrote about it at the time, and then wrote that our chairman had disgraced himself and the club and should resign when he said that our anger had anti-semitic undertones; there was no such thing, he was a Tory peer who voted for austerity, which affected tens of thousands of people in this city, one of the most poverty blighted in Europe, and he should never have been near Celtic Park’s directors box.

I disagree with our club’s pro-Unionist stance. Profoundly. But that disagreement doesn’t bother me in the way bad strategy does or nepotism and cronyism inside the walls does.

For all that, I have never hidden my deep concern that one of our directors has spent years, whilst in that role, basically trashing the Scottish Government, with whom we need a working relationship, in the most blatant fashion and with the most hostile language.

Everybody wants rights without responsibilities, and as long as they personally don’t have to pay the consequences.

You see it everywhere.

I remember a story my old man told me about his time working as a supervisor in the Parks Department.

A guy, one of his staff, came into the yard one day wearing a Celtic top.

Rather than send the guy home straight away, which would have provoked exactly the debate about “rights” that the guy evidently sought, my old man asked him calmly if he was sure he wanted to wear that, the guy said yes and my old man detailed him to work hoeing and weeding the flowerbeds around Bridgeton Cross.

Then he asked the guy if he wanted to go home and get changed first, which he was perfectly happy to do.

When you buy a season ticket for Celtic Park there are requirements on there, regulations and rules which you are expected to follow. You have the choice of rejecting those rules, but that means not buying a ticket.

The moment you buy the ticket you’ve accepted those requirements and the rules of the house, and as you’ll all know, that applies not just at Celtic but in every field of our work and social lives … it’s all held together by an acceptance that all of us have certain responsibilities to respect the people within our sphere of activity, and to accept the rules of the house.

Most pubs don’t allow colours. I’ve been to karaoke nights where you can’t sing certain songs. On those nights when I’ve been in a boozer and someone’s got up and given a lusty rendition of Simply The Best and some of the patrons have responded with all the obligatory Ibrox add-ons I have not even finished my drinks before I’ve left.

The landlords and the staff are cool with that stuff. I’m not. In allowing that, they’ve made it easy for me to decide not to drink there, and I’ve done that a load of times.

For all I know, those landlords might well have allowed me to get up and sing whatever I wanted, Beautiful Sunday for example, with my own additional lyrics on the same night.

But … no, I just don’t think it’d be a good idea to drink there either way.

And that’s the house rules, and those rules comes with consequence of their own.

The pub I drink in regularly doesn’t allow colours on a non-match day, but two supporters buses frequent it and on a match day you can’t move for Celtic tops in the place.

I know that the perception of that pub as “a Celtic pub” has undoubtedly cost them money from people who just won’t drink there, period, but equally that there are nights in which “neutrals” and even Ibrox fans feel perfectly at home there … because on those nights the rules of the house, and the vibe, are very different indeed.

And every time I’ve been in there on those nights, I’ve respected the house.

Because it’s either that, or go somewhere else and have a drink, and I like it in there, with its friendly bar-staff and all-round excellent people. If not wearing a certain outfit is the price I have to pay to continue drinking there, it’s one I’ll pay quite happily and without a second thought.

But that’s not the final extent of it of course, because even on a match day, surrounded by my own fellow fans, there are things I just wouldn’t be allowed to do, period, and things I’d never be allowed to say or to sing, and nor would I be allowed to walk about wearing whatever I wanted.

I mean I could go with the extreme example of walking about in a white hood, which would get me punched from one end of the place to the other, and trying out my “free expression” argument there would get me cut no slack whatsoever … but even some t-shirt with a slogan on it that was explicitly designed to offend people would probably get me barred for at least a day.

Celtic Park is no different than any other place in this country which seeks to impose limits on how people behave within its walls.

No different.

To hold our board up as some examples of ultimate evil for imposing a minimum behavioural requirement is ludicrous because it’s an argument you wouldn’t attempt to make at your work, or in your partners house, or in your parents or your neighbours house or in the pub you frequent.

You’d get told to chase yourself, and that’s putting it nicely.

What a choice people are being asked to make.

If we are for unrestricted free speech that means all of it, whatever lines it crosses whichever people it offends and with no consideration for the damage that it does.

Support for Hamas and Andrew Tate’s rancid “ideas” are on different ends of the same spectrum, on the extremes, and you aren’t getting one without the other and in between is every batshit view from the flat-earth theory to the true crazies like the Holocaust deniers.

That’s why I laugh when I hear arseholes on the right, like Piers Morgan, tie themselves in knots over “cancel culture” whilst telling the Celtic fans to sit down and shut up because a woman in her 90’s has died of natural causes, and having a go at climate protesters and everything else …their hypocrisy stinks the place out and they know it and they don’t care.

When it comes right down to it, we have only the rights that our circumstances dictate.

If we’re at work we follow rules. If we’re at home we follow rules. If we’re in the streets, we follow rules. If we’re in the pub we follow rules. And at Celtic Park we follow rules.

Most of us are perfectly happy with that and get on with it without a second thought.

Because most of those rules are there for our own good, and some are restrictive only in that they prevent our actions from potentially harming ourselves or others.

And hey, I know that will be scorned by some as weak and supine and I can only laugh and suggest those who label me an “Uncle Tim” or whatever else remember what I do for a living, because at some point I decided my opinions were worth sharing, and that makes me an egotistical twat at best or (and I’ve been accused of this) someone whose self-regard borders on megalomania.

The last charge I’ll ever accept is that I’m a conformist or someone seeking an easy life.

I just know that I respect other people enough to respect the same rules they do.

So, I don’t like the “free speech” argument, or the “right to protest” argument, because it’s invalid.

It literally does not exist unfetered in any nation, anywhere in the world, and in a lot of the places we live the majority of our lives it would not be tolerated even up a point.

If you took your “right” to say what you will and protest what you don’t like to your place of work I suggest you’d last about five minutes before someone tapped you on the shoulder and told you the gig was up.

If you took it to your boozer, you wouldn’t last much longer.

To think Celtic Park should be some exception to that, or that Celtic itself should pander to all of our opinions and views, far less that the club should act as the mouthpiece for every cause we want to promote or as our voice shouting at everything we want to condemn … I cannot understand why people don’t recognise the impossibility of that.

We all know we live and work in a rigged system, and that life itself is sort of a rigged game where the House always wins and the odds are not even remotely in your favour because it all ends with the one outcome we all try not to think about. It was Orwell, my idol, who said that “every life … is a series of defeats” and the last one is the biggest of the lot.

And every one of us, living in this world, knows that everything we do is a series of compromises, and sometimes they are compromises with our values.

I will back striking workers, and cheer on trade unions, but I’ll still buy nearly everything from Amazon. I lament the state of the environment, and know one of the biggest industries responsible for our multi-layered crisis is fast food; I still love a Big Mac every now and again. I know that air travel causes as much pollution as anything else on the planet … I still want to go abroad at least once a year.

But here’s the thing; that’s rights without responsibilities.

That’s wanting rights without consequences.

They don’t exist either, because when I’m planning my holiday next year I have to consider what the temperature will be in Southern Europe and take into account the possibility that I’ll have to leave my stuff in the hotel as I’m rushed to the airport because Tenerife is burning from multiple wildfires which more and more are becoming the seasonal norm.

In any number of small ways, I’ve helped cause that catastrophe and the impact on me is that I have to shift my holiday dates. I don’t actually have to live there. So consequences … that’s a vaguely defined concept at the moment.

What I’m saying is that before we accuse people of hypocrisy … we’re all hypocrites man, we’re all guilty of the sin, it’s the one that all the soap in the world won’t get off our hands. None of us “does enough.” Nobody does everything they possibly can.

This has been a hell of a few days for Celtic fans, and not in a way that we would ever have wanted. I don’t believe that with the best will in the world that we can prevent a serious fissure developing now between the club and The Green Brigade, and there is wrong and there is right on both sides, and what all of us want more than anything else is a peaceful resolution.

There’s little hope of a settlement here.

This is now in a place where one side is telling the other “you’ve made your position clear, we won’t respect it and we invite you to do your worst.” Celtic has asked that the fans respect the rules of the house, and the answer is “we have the right to protest” and “we have the right to speak out.”

And I’ve been hearing that argument all of my life, in politics and in this gig, and I know there are things I couldn’t write on this site even if I wanted to, and that there are things I couldn’t legally do even if I was so inclined.

No country anywhere accepts free expression without restrictions, even in the US where the First Amendment protects it … up to a point. Even the Federalist Society knows where that point is, and what it does not allow.

And the idea that any football fan, in any ground, has ever possessed that right is for the birds.

Football stadiums are like any other arena or location on the map; you abide by the rules of the house.

When you don’t, or won’t, you need to understand that those who do aren’t going to like it, and aren’t going to have a problem when the landlord throws you out on your ear.

Just in case the point has got lost somewhere amidst all this – it sometimes does when I’m on a roll – let’s take it back to first principles, and those who want their rights to be respected no matter what others might think of it.

I want you to ponder this scenario.

If, on the night of the Atletico game, a group of our supporters rolled up to Celtic Park to pay tribute to the victims of the Hamas attack, and had with them their Israel flags, who do you reckon would be amongst the loudest voices condemning Celtic for letting them in the ground in the first place?

You don’t even need to phone a friend to answer that one, right?

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  • Magua says:

    At a time when we should all be uniting behind Celtic FC-given the importance of winning the league-the Green Brigade are behaving in their usual spiteful and divisive manner. We will undoubtedly cop another large fine from EUFA after the Atletico game. I find it apt, that the self-professed ‘best Celtic supporters ever, were the ones booing the team after the St Johnstone game. It is also a matter of deep irony, that these ‘rebels’ are up to their necks in collaboration with the PLC. And for what? Access to away tickets. The away ticket scheme is both a scam and a sham. No matter how few tickets we receive for certain venues, the Green Brigade are always there, front and center.

    Hail Hail.

  • Michael McCartney says:

    Good thought provoking article James, with all its faults Western Democracy and its rules has mostly suited me throughout my life. It can come under threat from the extremes at times and at this moment in history I feel the twin threats of fascism and religious fundamentalism are the twin dangers.
    The Green Brigade will need to accept the rules created by the football authorities or find themselves banned from Celtic Park. In some ways I would be sorry to see them go but they cannot dictate to the club.

    • RMcMillan says:

      Good stuff, James. T he club really need to show their teeth or the GB will push things even further. Another fine and they should be banned. I wonder if at the top they are influenced or infiltrated by older guys with a political agenda. If they want to demonstrate do i t inGeorge Square or Glasgow Green. Why should CP be a venue for them. Magua makes a good point about booing the players v StJohnstone. They should stop going near them.

  • Roonsa says:

    Freedom of speech does not give you the right to shout fire in a crowded theatre.

    Lest we want to align ourselves with the MAGA crowd.

    Common sense is being chucked out the window her.


    Excellent James.
    You have a true gift in developing a position on things.
    A roadmap to an inescapable conclusion.
    Unfortunately for people like the Green Brigade it like chaff in the wind.
    It’s inconsequential as their minds are fixed on the perceived righteousness of their cause.
    Alas many who claim fraternity with the ‘ Brigade’ are young immature idealists prone to manipulation
    by older activists pursuing their own agenda. People who have invariably been expelled or laughed out of
    mainstream Political groups. They are not amenable to the concept of compromise.
    They remind me of a group of 6th year pupils picking a fight with the school administration because they’ve
    been refused permission to have a smoking room. It’s the rules.

    ( I was fortunate enough to be on the winning side in that argument in the late 60’s early 70’s when attitudes were different.
    Wish to god they had refused it ).

  • John S says:

    The Green Brigade have exposed themselves. They have come to the party and spewed on the carpet.

  • Bill says:

    One thing that’s become apparent now (and for some of us it has been apparent for some time) is that the GB care more about their agenda than its detrimental effect on Celtic and its fans.
    For reasons I cannot yet fathom the Club have let this one group exercise great independent authority and it has now gotten way out of control. Time the Club and its Board regained its authority. I venture the opinion that closing down the GB inside Celtic Park would be met with widespread,(though not universal) gratitude, or at worst, apathy.

  • Clachnacuddin and the Hoops says:

    I’ll be honest James and say when I started off going to Celtic games as a teeny bopper that I sang The Good oul’ Reb Songs big time in The Jungle – Sure I tailed off in The New Paradise (I’m not sure if it was just me getting older or wheather it was just that the atmosphere was as quiet as it was in the cemetery behind me – I’d say probably the latter) – Though I gave the good old Rebel Songs laldy In Celtic pubs in over 20 years of going to Parkhead week in, week out…

    Now – I’m a great supporter of Scottish Independence and Irish Independence as well – We had our chance of it and tragically blew it big time and now our children will be working until their 70 years old no doubt (and to think The French took to the streets because they were gonna raise the retirement age from SIXTY TWO) !

    But for sure one man’s meat is another man’s poison and one man’s terrorist is another man’s freedom fighter…

    I’ve two fairly nearby neighbours – both Gaelic speakers and Independence voters – Well having spent a substantial time in Ireland on many holidays (31years) and a bit staying in North Belfast then I like to think that I’m clued up on things. However when I explained that The Provos had to be mobilised to protect The Nationalist (Gaelic) community from their local police force (RUC) and Brit crown forces one got around very much to ma way of thinking fairly swiftly – the other no matter how much I tried to explain their need to protect civilians from POLICE OFFICERS still seen The Provisional IRA as terrorists –

    Aye one man’s terrorist is another man’s freedom fighter right enough – (That’s my little experience of the subject anyway) !

    • Magua says:


      May I recommend a book to you?

      Burnt Out by Michael Lynch.

      It tell the true story of the ’69 pogroms in Belfast and Derry. The book exposes the myth, that the Unionist establishment of the time, was keen to pedal. That the downtrodden Nationalist people were to blame for the calamity which befell them. In future years, revisionist historians in the south of Ireland, were declaring this nonsense as fact.

      Hail Hail.

  • Alan Connelly says:

    Such a well written piece and true to. I agree Free speech is Not 100% guarenteed in any society, particularly the modern and vastly complicated one we all live in. So much of society is now political but I believe Politics is Set up, to divide people and opinions and the passions and imbalances that go with those opinions.
    Respect the Rules of the House seems to be a good place to work from. The Hellish tragedy presently unfolding in The Middle East is just that, A Hellish Tragedy and if there is a solution to it? Well it is and has been for Eons, well hidden. The Divide there is Cataclysmically deep, I hope it doesn’t spread its divisiveness to Paradise.

  • Johnno says:

    As a republican to the core, I can accept that our club was used in the past as a symbol of promoting the republican movement.
    But does that still apply today?
    No it doesn’t, and no longer is there a call for our club to be viewed as the likes.
    The GB are nothing more than a shower of militant wanabee gobshites that have become nothing more than a total embarrassment to the republican cause.
    How long would the republican movement have remained operational, if such an attack similar to the one carried out by Hamas was ever carried out?
    To even be linked to the current atrocious actions ongoing within the middle east, is nothing more than insulting to any supporter of the republican cause.
    No longer is Celtic to be used as any form of terrorism supporter, and yet the GB are currently trying to gain numbers for the likes imo, and continue to bring nothing but shame upon our club, and calling themselves supporters with a continuation to drag our proud name through the muck?
    These eejits within the GB would never be accepted or tolerated in any of its current form within any republican movement, so why bother with the songs?
    Democracy has long replaced the bullet, and shame that it doesn’t exist within so many parts of the world today, so is there any real democracy within today’s world?
    Your piece there James, sounded like a message of respect to myself anyway, but to gain respect, it has to be earned also.
    The GB currently are showing none whatsoever, and especially towards our club.
    I will remain a republican and Celtic supporter, even if the links can be close at times, I’ve still managed to define between the two, and when appropriate to do so, and long ago made the decision that Celtic Park will never be used as a place to use my republican views, within the stadium upon a match day.
    I will never show any form of respect towards the scum in everything they stand for, and won’t be expecting any in return either.
    If that makes myself a sectarian bigot in return, then a sectarian bigot, I will die.
    But that’s my own cross to carry and one I’m still prepared to carry also.
    But what I can say, and no longer will I bring such views into celtic park ever again, can the gobshites within the GB make such a claim?
    I very much doubt it and nor do I longer believe they want to, with there own heads stuck to far up there own arseholes, to show any respect towards the club and the majority of its supporters also imo.

  • brian cavanagh says:

    Hi James

    i am sure you would have got an A for that at Stirling -don’t disagree with one iota – the challenge is what can be done? GB believe they are the custodians of Celtics values, and everyone else who doesnt support them are backsliders. I am not comfortable with that perpetual certainty. However the club needs to sit down with GB and respond in manner that is finds a common accord if at all to this horror and violence. I like to think of Celtic as political organisation, but it is not- it is a football club and a Plc. But the fans can adopt political stances. The Spanish Civil War was an example when the Club was split. We could do with cool, wise and compassionate heads at the this time

    • James Forrest says:

      I would totally agree with everything you’ve said mate.

      The question is, are The Green Brigade willing to behave rationally and accept the house rules?

      Cause if they don’t then there’s no end in sight to this except Celtic shutting the section.

      There are 10,000 fans on the waiting list … it’s not an empty threat.

  • SSMPM says:

    The American Congress upheaval clearly highlights this with only a few imposing their views on the vast majority of the House Republicans. What’s the difference between a caucus and a cactus. A cactus has pricks are on the outside

  • Steve bhoy 67 88 hail hail says:

    Its hightime this scum that claim to be Celtic fans and hide behind thereGreen Brigade banner were shown up for what they really are booted out of parkhead for good ,all they do is bring shame on Celtic FC and every decent celtic fan World Wide, it is time the Celtic Board grew some balls and Banned this Shower of REPROBATES..

  • Patrick Cannon says:

    James great piece, but I’ve had a thought about those who demand their free speech. I know you liked the west wing do you remember when ged was being asked about someone burning the us flag? He said the hard part of free speech is allowing people’s right to burn the flag. Some bumping their gums can’t get that consept

    • James Forrest says:

      I do, that was a great episode. The one where Penn and Teller “burn the flag” inside The White House … or did they? 🙂 Great trick that, and one of the best moments was seeing Josh and Toby’s faces as it went down!

  • Paddy says:

    I concur. Sick fed up of cafeteria Celtic supporters treating our Club’s history like a pick n’ mix. Celtic FC have made our position clear. If you don’t like it, feck off and support another Club that fits your beliefs.

  • Malc says:

    I wonder what Ian Archer would pen of the Green Brigade… Do I really need to elaborate?

  • Magua says:

    The GB did not get their own way, as regards trying to take over the lower half of the Celtic End. Obviously, the bhoys in that section, quite rightly told them to feck off. The club should make it clear to these dolts, that one more infraction will have immediate results. Reverting the so-called safe-standing section back to seating, would make it easier to identify the law breakers in that section. Obviously, this would be mightily unfair on supporters in that section who obey the house rules…but it is what it is.

    Hail Hail.

    Hail Hail.

  • Seosaimh says:

    How dare you to castigate the Green Brigade for calling this out! I grew up in Belfast in the 60s and 70s,when we were denied gas and electricity and water, my mum kept us alive by cooking in the back yard on an open fire, I stand in solidarity with the Palestinian people, disgraceful behaviour from you James

  • EL Greene says:

    I just wish the Palestinian people had a joice and where not living in fear, Fear of HAMAS! G*d help them and G@d Help Israel 🙁

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