THE flags above the North Stand at Celtic Park yesterday were at half mast as a sign of respect for Celtic groundsman Andy McCann who passed away last week. As the Celtic supporters paid their respects to Andy, many eyes looked up to these flags and to one in particular, the Irish tricolour that flies proudly alongside the Scottish Saltire – both showing the cultural roots of our club.
Celtic are a Scottish club. A Scottish club with a proud Irish heritage.
On Saturday evening on a Radio Clyde phone-in it was suggested that both the singing of the Irish National Anthem, The Soldiers Song, and flying the Irish flag at Celtic Park were in some way sectarian. This was in response to the vile behaviour at Kirkcaldy on Friday evening when Rangers* supporters chanted about being knee deep in fenian blood and a song where they called English football pundit Stan Collymore a “Black, fenian b******”
This all happened on the same week when Chelsea fans were caught racially abusing a man on the Paris Metro due to his skin colour.
Radio Clyde could have condemned the racism and the sectarianism that shamed Scottish football once again – just one day after Celtic thrilled Europe in a brilliant match with Inter Milan in the Europa League.
They could have mentioned that there is no sectarian singing at from Celtic supporters at Celtic matches – despite one of many Rangers fans group releasing a statement justifying their behaviour at Kirkcaldy by stating they heard a song about ‘Orange B******’ on TV from the Celtic v Inter Milan match. The problem here is no-one else heard it because it never happened. Contrast with Friday night’s bigotfest on BT Sports or the 25,000 bigots singing from the blue and white end of Hampden in the recent League Cup match.
Clyde could have, if they wanted to bring other songs into the debate. They could have referred to the sick minded Jimmy Saville chant that for some bizarre reason is directed at Celtic supporters. Saville was Establishment, a friend of the Royals and the Police. He was far from being anything to do with Celtic FC.
Why do these people seem to have a need to refer to child abuse when they go to a football match or when discussing football?
Clyde instead opted for a evening of whataboutery and choose to drag Celtic into the sectarian and racist chants from the Rangers support.
Did anyone in England drag Tottenham or Arsenal into the Chelsea racist incident in Paris? Of course not.
Celtic fans are no angels. When they are in the wrong – like the time 30 odd years ago when some bananas were thrown onto the park – we should say so and we should make sure that this has no place in our club. It is shameful and it is never something that the Celtic support would tolerate among their own.
But when it has nothing to do with Celtic then please leave us out of it.
CQN contacted the Irish consulate this morning regarding Radio Clyde’s broadcast at the weekend, mindful of the fact that Clyde’s parent company Bauer Group, owns radio stations in Ireland. Here’s what the Irish consulate had to say:
‘I did not hear the ‘Super Scoreboard’ show live at the time but I have listened to the recording on the Radio Clyde website archive.
Needles to say, I would not consider it appropriate that the Irish National Anthem should be characterised as a sectarian song or the singing of it associated with sectarian behaviour.
Thank you for getting in touch on this issue.’
Patrick Bourne | Consul General
16 Randolph Crescent, Edinburgh EH3 7TT
Anyone who watches the Six Nations rugby matches will know that The Soldiers Song is played and respected alongside the five other national anthems. Indeed the tricolour flies above Murrayfield without comment or criticism.