Neil Lennon speaks out for the heart of Celtic


I spoke to Phil Mac Giolla Bhain, a man who wears his Republican heritage on his sleeve, about the hostile reaction to his comments on modernising the Celtic songbook a few months back.  Phil found himself to be an easy target for conspiracy theorists who turned on him for issuing a request to an end of political chanting.  I’m sure Neil Lennon will not find anything like the same reaction to his comments in the Sun today, but it remains to be seen if anyone listens.

Neil said, “It’s important that we put a general message out that these chants have no place around our club. To be honest, we are better than that as a club and we always have been, we just don’t need it.

“We are and always have been a club open to all and we do not have issues around sectarianism. We have our own values and traditions but they do not include these chants. We don’t want them at matches and they must stop.”

This is not the first time Neil has given the same message this year.  After his earlier comments I actually heard, “Who is Neil Lennon to tell me what I can and can’t sing?  I’ve been going to Celtic Park a lot longer than he has.”

We are in a classic social paradox.  The reputational damage of political singing is not felt by those who sing, and the risk of personal consequences arising for any individual singer is probably around 1%.  And let’s be honest here, for all the supportive flags, banners and “I’m Neil Lennon” proclamations, is Neil respected enough to be listened to, or has he become a modern Che Guevara-poster boy?

Whatever you think of Neil, or his rights to say what you can or cannot sing, he has the best interests of our club in mind whenever he speaks on this subject.

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  1. This is the Headlone I have just copied from The Independent (Ireland)referred to earlier. No mention of “racist”. Has it been changed already?:



    “Lennon tells Celtic fans: stop illicit chants”



    Thursday November 17 2011



    “CELTIC manager Neil Lennon has repeated his call for fans to stop the chants that have brought a UEFA charge against the club.”




  2. Big Joe



    From French illicite, from Latin illicitus, from in- ‘not’ + licet (“it is allowed”)




    Who decides it is not allowed? That is THE QUESTION!




  3. BontyBhoy, with respect, how are things simpler? Neil has talked about “these chants”. Until “these chants” are defined nothing is clearer or simpler.



    Hail! Hail!

  4. The banger ‘plants’ will cling onto the anti-Celtic innuendo and faux concern for as long as they can I suppose.



    (scotland’s shame)

  5. hamiltontim says:


    17 November, 2011 at 13:22





    Aw but I enjoy your posts sooooo much as well…bawbag stop talking pish and try supporting Celtic for a change.




    Here’s me thinking ,you where a nice quiet ghuy too .



    Mort,well done.

  6. Big Joe at 13:34



    illicit – in this context it doesn’t really mean anything or at least we haven’t been told what the policeman meant by it.



    Jungle Jim at 13:37



    They changed it from racist to sectarian to illicit after I sent them a couple of emails. Still have the original version of racist:



    original headline




  7. Jungle Jim, the headline was initially “racist”, then changed to “sectarian” and only now, finally, is it accurate. They’ve obviously paid attention to the comments posted although they haven’tpublished them.

  8. Imatim and so is Neil Lennon on

    2010 Never Again



    Does anyone know how proportional are the members of the orange order…… to the total population of Scotland?

  9. All this talk about “illicit” and”Illegal”. It’s simple children. Illicit means against the law. Illegal is a sick bird. OK?

  10. Whatever you think of Neil, or his rights to say what you can or cannot sing, he has the best interests of our club in mind whenever he speaks on this subject.



    Paul, if he had the best interests of the club at heart he’d have walked after the Hertz game.

  11. Big Joe @13 34-



    Illicit ——-



    means- forbidden by law or rules.



    Which law forbids which songs.?



    Whose rules forbid which songs and where ?.



    Is it too late to start a career as a lawyer specializing in the legal aspects of singing and where you can sing ? . I can smell the money.





  12. Big Swee walks on with Neil Lennon on

    Have UEFA actually charged the club or simply opened a case to see if there is anything on which to charge?



    Lazy and tawdry journo’s

  13. Canamalar



    I agree our songs are neither sectarian or racist in nature, and currently they are not illegal either.



    It’s been the tone of your posts in recent weeks that led to my response to you and I apologise for that.



    I’m no board lover let me make that clear. However, I am of the opinion that Celtic should bide their time and be in full receipt of all the facts before getting stuck right into the media/SFA/Scottish Executive.

  14. I think most on here miss the point ENTIRELY.



    It is not about Celtic songs, it is about a large majority of people in this ‘One Nation’ singing what they want at grounds across the country without fear of reprisal and actually being applauded by the Justice Minister.


    It is about a police force who turn a blind eye to this singing/hatred, but feel obliged to report Celtic fans to all and sundry.


    It is about a campaign of misinformation and distrust being waged against everything that is Irish or connected to Ireland being voiced or celebrated in this country.



    I am pretty sure this is how another ‘Nationalist Party’ started off in 1933… HH

  15. Can Paul67 or anybody tell me what songs celtic fans sing about the (provisional) IRA?? James Connolly, Micheal Collins Padraig Pearse were all members of the IRA and that is who I think about when i sing about the IRA. I know Celtic Park still might not be the right place to sing these songs and i accept that but a lot of other clubs sing Rule Brittania and songs like that with no issues, i dont think have ever heard celtic fans mention the Provisional IRA can somebody please tell me if there is a song that we sing that states the words Provisional IRA or PIRA, if not Mr Lawell i think has to be educated in the fact that we’re actually singing about the heroes of 1916 and so on. I would appreciate all your feedback on this…

  16. Imatim and so is Neil Lennon on

    starry plough says:


    17 November, 2011 at 13:37


    Imatim and so is Neil Lennon says:


    17 November, 2011 at 13:35



    Had a quick look it costs 317,000 to police the biggest one…






    2010 Never Again






    Any idea of the total cost per annum? I have a feeling it will run in to many, many millions of pounds

  17. Seriously, what can be sung now? Is the Fields of Athenry ok? the Irish national anthem?


    Will the police find those offensive because the opposition fans boo them?

  18. Lurgan53



    We are all struggling, with this issue and you’re not?



    Michael Kelly the orator * revised from polished mouth * for your benefit has been clear and is willing to take his platform, in the debate.



    I am comfortable that the people in power at the club, understand the problem as well and better than he does.



    Now that the charges have been made, and the media frenzy is no longer news, let’s see what Celtic do.



    We’ll soon see if the right people are in power at the club.

  19. Neil canamalar Lennon hunskelper extrordinaire on



    do you agree that the tax evasion by rangers has a direct impact on the lack of basic survival kit of our armed forces, which would imply their financial strategy is responsible for the deaths and injury of soldiers serving in overseas conflits ?

  20. Imatim




    250 Orange lodges in England.



    182 Orange lodges in Scotland.



    England’s Population Approx. 51M


    Scotland Population approx 5.2M



    For every 204,000 approx people of living in England there is an Orange Lodge.



    For every 28,570 approx people living in Scotland there is an orange lodge.






    MWD that’s the best I can do.

  21. I think the most telling argument for the “Chants” to stop came from the last part of your post Paul “the best interests of our club” sums it up perfectly. Anyone or any body who cannot see that is full of self interest and does not have “the best interests of our club” in their declarations or in their actions. por cierto

  22. Neil, with the support of the board, could and should have made reference to real sectarian problem in Scotland – Orange Order marches for instance. He should have questioned why our support is being systematically targeted by the police and why there isn’t, apparently, as great an emphasis on policing the support of other teams. Neil is simply regurgitating the board’s stance on singing Reb songs. I am disappointed that the official stance the Celtic board would appear to be simply adopting one akin to an ostrich.


    I believe most Celtic fans would agree that we shouldn’t sing the add ons however it is a bigger issue than a few questionable lines being sang by part of our support. In reality the life blood and soul of Celtic, the support, is seemingly under a concerted assault by the Scottish establishment and the custodians of our club are conspicuous in their absence in support of the clubs fans. All we can offer is our manager saying ‘Don’t sing the songs’! Hopefully I am wrong and perhaps they are keeping their powder dry but I have little faith in our custodians.

  23. I love Celtic. I love Neil Lennon and I love Celtic fans, particularly the Green Brigade.



    I also love the rebels, although i don’t sing them when I’m at the game. The add ons are pretty moronic, hopefully we’re all agreed there. But the songs themselves are in no way illegal. So they’re offensive to some. So what? Equal rights for black people was offensive to some people in mid-20th century America.



    There’s more at stake here than the singing of a few songs.

  24. .



    ASonOfDan says: ……………………………….







    Mort …………………………………………..







    cheers for that chaps…………………………………….



    I thought it waS SOMYHING 2 DO WITH THE BIRDS That walk the streets at night *-*




  25. Moonbeams Wet Dreams



    Well said.






    The biggest issue for Celtic supporters is for how long are we willing to accept this jiggery pokery ?



    Let us not forget the impeccable one minutes silence that Celtic fans observed for the Ibrox disaster 40 year anniversary. I presume many of the GB were there at Ibrox. As soon as that minutes AND 20 seconds of silence was observed the sectarian abuse that the away support was IMMEDIATELY subjected to was not lost on anyone.



    The next day in the Scottish media we had to deal with Coughgate ?



    I know a wounded animal and a cornered bear are extremely dangerous figuratively speaking but we are not even speaking at all.



    So why are we still playing their game ?



    Why do you consider it to be a “The entire episode is a classic internecine dispute among Celtic supporters



    I think we cant keep on browbeating 60,000 and more for the sake of a couple of hundred who wont be told WHEN THEY KNOW THAT IT DOESN`T MATTER HOW THEY BEHAVE WE WILL STILL GET IT IN THE NECK ?



    The same thing happened at Falkirk



    The same thing happened with the mark of respect for the Queen Mother …. which thankfully didn´t make international headlines the way the baby huns did when they booed the minute silence for Pope John Paul II



    The club has to make a stance here. Too many are far to upset by it. And by it I dont mean the victimisation I mean the abject pitiful submission and acceptance of the situation.



    If something is afoot and their is some kind of background agenda here and I suspect that with Phil article a few weeks back suddenly appearing then the support needs guidance and very few within the support need to hear this yet again and want to hear about the callous victimisation and what we are doing about it.



    I think many and I include myself in this fear that we are getting into bed with the authorities that defecate on our heads willingly and joyfully and do so to protect Rangers FC.



    It is high time to speak out about this.



    The balancing act no longer works. The scales broke and dropped to one side about 5 years ago and the ostrich act no longer cuts any ice.



    Hail Hail

  26. Completely agree with Neil – in fact imo the responsibility for dealing with the tiny minority within our support who insist on belting out the offensive chanting should be with the police, not the club,



    We will never be able to stop them, they are to set in their ways to change now, and it’s unfair to expect Celtic to deal with persons who are, in effect attending matches simply to use Celtic as a platform to sing out this offensive stuff,



    Unfortunately the police’s way of dealing with it is to go clipe to the UEFA observer or any other authorities that will listen rather than confront the issue head on, so around and around we go,

  27. Adults singing IRA chants?



    The club , Neil Lennon have asked grown men to stop it.



    Can l ask why do grown men need to be asked to stop chanting this drivel?



    I just do not get it, the struggle is over move on IF it ever had a place at Celtic Park that time has gone. Let it go please for the love of God let it go.



    What is actually achieved by singing these we ditties ?



    Sing songs to support our team. Celebrate our team.




  28. Neil canamalar Lennon hunskelper extrordinaire on

    The board have had all the facts for a long long time, as long as they have been driving good Celtic supporters away from the club.


    The facts are


    The hun are allowed to break the law every time the come to Celtic park and invited back every time.


    The Celtic support are accused of breaking the law when in fact they have not done so.


    The board are systematically reducing the freedom of the Celtic support.


    The board support the vilification of the Celtic support and have done so throughout their tenure.


    The board do not represent the club they represent the plc.

  29. coorslad is Neil Lennon on

    Lenny has shone the light on himself,by getting involved in this ‘orchestrated debate’..


    Lenny is charged with running a football team,getting results,winning trophys and dealing with taking the club forward on the park..


    There is enough fat cats inside Celtic Park charged with dealing with off field matters.


    I hope im wrong,but if results dont go Lenny’s way,I think the support will let him know what they think of his opinion..If its his or is he doing someone elses dirty work?

  30. Neil has spoken well from the ‘heart’ of the Club, Im hoping we’ll also soon hear from the ‘head’……

  31. mickthetic says:



    I dont disagree with what you say but please see my earlier post @ 1.45, im more annoyed at the fact its been thrown about that we sing about the Provisional IRA.


    Micheal Collins Padraig pearse and James Connolly were all members of the IRA and that is who i sing about, what celtic songs contain the words Provisional IRA or PIRA?

  32. Tommy Pischedda on

    Paul/learned posters…Something has been puzzling me re the songs debate. I was under the impression that the role of the police in society was to uphold the rule of law. If the new anti-sectarian bill has yet to be passed as law, how can it be that the police have the grounds under law to determine what is acceptable and unacceptable song/chants etc? This leads to what charges have been brought against Celtic supporters who have already been up in front of the courts? BOTP? If so there had to be precedent and I if this is the case surely if enough people complained about any song (famine/sheep sha**ing bassaa/Jimmy Hills a p**f) then you must be able to have any person who sings a song at any football match, if enough complain, to be deemed unacceptable and the singers arrested???

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