Friday, April 30, 2010


CELTIC are facing protests over their summer friendly in Seattle - just 24 hours after their Old Firm clash with Rangers in Boston was thrown into doubt.

Plans for a July 21 clash between Scottish football's Big Two at Fenway Park baseball stadium are in the balance after the Boston Globe newspaper launched a campaign to have the game called off in fear that Ibrox fans will riot in the American city.

And despite blundering media bosses last night issuing a grovelling apology for their slur on the Rangers support feelings are running high that the proposed July 21 " friendly " should be abandoned.

Now, Seattle Sounders General Manager Adrian Hanauer has confirmed a group of his supporters are unhappy at Celtic being chosen for a July 18 showdown at Qwest Field due to the " political baggage" they claim the club carries !

Representatives of anti-bigotry organisation Gorilla Fan Collective, Seattle's second-biggest supporters group, stated earlier this month that they didn't want Celtic or Rangers to be considered for challenge matches and have now been backed by the Emerald City Supporters Group .

Fans' internet forums are buzzing with arguments over the wisdom of hosting Celtic and Hanauer has confirmed club bosses are aware of unrest.

Hanauer said "I caught wind of it.This was the first I've heard of people being upset with Celtic coming.But soccer has been a political game over the years and just about every team we could think of bringing has some political baggage that it carries.

"I was thinking about Barcelona coming last year. There's a strong movement and conflict between Barcelona and Real Madrid and that's deeply rooted politically.

Thursday, April 22, 2010

'Best fans in world? It doesn't look like it'

By Alan Pattullo

CELTIC supporters are having to indulge in a lot of slightly embarrassed shuffling of feet at the moment.

They don't know where to look. It's bad enough when one of their player of the year awards goes to someone who only joined the club on loan at the end of January. But they must also deal with the horror of seeing a great corner stone of the club's reputation kicked away in recent weeks.

• Swathes of empty seats at Celtic Park have been evident at recent games. Picture: SNS

The ever-swelling number of Celtic fans estimated to have followed their team to Seville for the Uefa Cup final seven years ago has become something of a running joke. Over the last fortnight it has been suggested that the tendency to exaggerate is still apparent in the east end of Glasgow.

One newspaper report claimed that no more than 15,000 could have attended the first post-Ross County game, when Motherwell were the visitors to an eerily quiet Celtic Park. Celtic have been quick to refute this, although the club's own stated figure – 22,000 – still does not do much for the fans' reputation – admittedly, one that is largely self-appointed – for being prepared to go that extra mile for their club. Not that this attendance is recorded on the club's official website. The crowds at the last two fixtures are logged as "unknown". The last recorded attendance is for the game against Kilmarnock at the end of last month, when 41,000 – almost 20,000 below capacity – were present.

Many Celtic fans are alert to the problems being stored up by claiming – via such songs as Over and Over – that they are faithful through and through. Because when it comes to the crunch, they clearly aren't. This isn't to say they are any worse than fans of other clubs, but when their own shtick is the claim to be the most loyal supporters in the world they surely cannot be surprised if such a low attendance is remarked upon.

Last Saturday's attendance, for the visit of Hibernian, was slightly better, but anyone who caught the match on television could not fail to be distracted by the acres of empty seats which formed the background to the action. It will be interesting to note whether the visit of Dick Advocaat's AZ Alkmaar will prove tempting next midweek in a game designed to appease season-ticket holders owed a game due to the absence of home Scottish Cup ties this season.

Many Celtic fans, alert to having set themselves up for a fall through years of self-mythologising, had braced themselves for low turn-outs at the end of one of the bleakest seasons in recent times. They have duly got them, even if some present at the last two home league games believe far fewer than claimed attended. This isn't so, according to a Celtic spokesman yesterday. He also denied that all season-ticket holders, whether they attended the game or not, were included in an effort to help swell the total. The club has been accused of this ploy in the past when seeking to massage crowd figures. The figure against Motherwell was comprised solely of those who clicked through the turnstiles – or at least, in this digital age, bleeped through them.

But how are we to judge quality of supporters in any case? Over 7,000 – more than 2,000 more than the population of Dingwall itself – watched Ross County gain the result which has all but finished Celtic's season. But this is a one-off occasion. The First Division side have not played at home since, but it is fair to say this number won't cram into Victoria Park on Saturday when they host Partick Thistle. Yet, their last home fixture was watched by just over 2,000 – not bad in terms of population/attendance ratio. The Celtic attendance, in comparison to those who travelled down from the Highlands, was, though, undeniably pitiful. Just over 16,000 felt compelled to support the team in a game which represented Celtic's last chance to win a trophy this season, and which took place just four miles from Celtic Park. This fact alone is enough to warrant being stripped of any 'best supporters' title, if it was possible to even award such a thing.

In reality, Celtic fans are no better and no worse than fans of any other club. They are as fickle as the rest and will be attracted by the thought of watching a winning team. If what they see instead is a team in a state of some distress then many Celtic fans remain consistent with one part of their great supporters' anthem. They walk on.

Monday, April 19, 2010


Daily Record

Apr 9 2010 Hugh Keevins

Petta:Lennon knows he can't afford another Caley disaster

BOBBY PETTA was ordered to stay in Celtic's dressing room as emotions ran high outside.

Then Petta was told it would only be safe to leave for his car if he was flanked by two burly security guards.

That still didn't prevent the midfielder being booed and spat at by disgusted fans as they tried to come to terms with Celtic losing to Inverness Caley Thistle in the Scottish Cup.

Ten years on the memory is still fresh for Petta - who didn't even play the night Celtic were humiliated and John Barnes' card was marked for dismissal.

Now Petta's back in Glasgow ready for Hampden tomorrow and the latest clash between Celtic and Highland opposition.

And past experience tells him the game with Ross County has the potential to be a ticking bomb for his former team-mate Neil Lennon.

Petta said: "If Celtic win the Cup it strengthens Lenny's chance of getting the manager's job.

"If he loses to a First Division side then there's a problem - that should never happen to a club like Celtic.

"But if Ross County don't believe they can cause an upset then they shouldn't bother making the journey down from Dingwall.

"They have the example of Inverness to inspire them.

"And I can see similarities between what's happening at Celtic now and the way the club was a decade ago."
Petta was signed by Barnes and had a first season to forget at Celtic Park.

But when the Caley result meant an immediate sacrifice in the manager's office Martin O'Neill came in and transformed the player's fortunes.

He said: "My last club was Sydney in Australia. And I would get people coming up to me in the street on the other side of the world from Glasgow and telling me I had given them the happiest day of their lives.

"They were talking about the first Old Firm game we played under Martin as manager.

"Celtic won 6-2 and I had a big day up against Fernando Ricksen who was taken off in the first half.

"That's the flipside of being with a club like Celtic and having fans so passionate. One minute you're running to your car with minders, the next you're a hero. It's frightening when you're on the way down and thrilling when you're moving in the opposite direction.

"Lenny knows all about that side of life in Glasgow. It shows great character on his part to live in the city and want to be Celtic's manager when he's had so many well-publicised problems."

Petta's previous brush with humiliation - being an unused sub on the night Caley Thistle won 3-1 at Celtic Park - has given him an insight into what he'd like to see Celtic do at Hampden tomorrow.

He said: "They must set their stall out early and go for quick goals to make sure there will be no embarrassment.

"A new manager's all about a fresh start for everyone and Celtic have to dominate the opposition on that big park at Hampden."

Petta well remembers the fans' reactions 10 years ago.

He said: "My abiding memory of what was the worst night of my life is the way emotions ran so high. It wasn't a nice night for anyone associated with the club.

"Anything's possible in cup football. But Lenny's started off with two wins out of two.

"I don't think he'll have to be as quick to his car as I was after the cup -tie I'll never forget."

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Celtic fans rampage through Newcastle

From the Newcastle Fanzine True Faith - July 2007

'View from the Newcastle fanzine


Celtic eh? No history of British football would be complete without reference to the remarkable club from Glasgow. Formed to raise money to provide relief for the poor of the East End of that famous city by Brother Walfrid and the Marist Order, the club has gone onto become one of the most famous the world over and has a romance attached to it few can compete with - Patsy Gallagher, Jimmy McGrory, the tragedy of John Thompson, Jock Stein, Billy McNeil (Ceasar) and the Lisbon Lions of 67 and a procession of top, top players who have lit up the game and played the game in a distinctive, Celtic way. A good way.

At Celtic Park, on the big occassion, the home support can generate a spine-tingling atmosphere and despite the advent of all-seater stadiums, the place can be a riot of colour and provides the backdrop for the way football should be. At SJP they had a display of flags in the Leazes that were excellent - the best we've had in NE1 for a long time. Well done to those responsible.

There are plenty on Tyneside who hold a candle for Celtic - the Irish-Scots diaspora has generated a quiet affection for the Glasgow club and having had Celtic down to SJP to provide the opposition for testimonials for two of our most loved players of the modern era (Beardsley and Shearer), we have viisted Celtic Park twice in the last ten-twelve years for their return from Hampden and for a friendly match - we should be getting on with them like a house on fire.

But we're not. And its not our fault. Celtic should not be invited back to Newcastle and it saddens me deeply to say it. Not for the first time has their support visted our city and generated sheer disgust at their behaviour. I'll say now there are plenty of Celtic fans who have visited Newcastle and behaved perfectly well and I'll freely concede there are elements within our support who are hardly angelic but there is a large section of Celtic's support in Newcastle who behave in a thoroughly obnoxious manner.
This isn't meant for the Celtic fans who have visited Newcastle, had a few pints, a sing-song, gone to the match and behaved themselves. Not at all. But they do bring some of the detrius of Scotland with them and despite the money generated for Newcastle United, their visits have to be put to an end. A good 30% of their following simply don't know how to behave and see these visits south as an opportunity to behave completely without a lack of regard, respect for our city and without dignity for Celtic Football Club.

Newcastle is a safe, modern, friendly, laid back city with loads going on - much like Glasgow - but we can't have it turned upside down because NUFC can get a good run out and earn a few shillings.

Around the city, Celtic fans left a trail of rubbish - as any self-respecting Geordie Mam would ask - I wonder what their homes are like - and as I made my way up Blackett St queues of absolutely stotting Celtic fans urinated in the streets in full view of women and children and appeared to take a delicious pride in their bone-headed behaviour.

Its not the vulgar displays of their Roman Catholicism - huge crucifixes prominently displayed by some who I'd guess haven't found their way into a Church for many a year - that's a matter for them, though it cheapens an ancient religion in a way none of their detractors could ever do. Not so much Catholic kitsch but bling. Its not even the renditions of irrelevant Rebel Songs but it is the constant abuse of Alan Shearer, which was meant to be provocative but were largely blanked by supporters inside SJP bemused by their hostility to a man who has no history with them, who I hear has attended games at Celtic Park with Shay Given and who spoke warmly of their support after his testimonial. I don't recall us getting so uptight about Larsson do you? Why should we? A fine player. Shameful that they have to abuse a player who didn't play against them in a proper fixture in order to sing the praises of one of their all time greatest players.

To abuse one of our club's most beloved sons wasn't annoying for us - it was strictly small time for them. The "Keano" chants were predictable but harmless - we'll put that under banter - we're not so po-faced we can't take a bit craic.

But most seriously the hail of bottles and glasses hurled towards St. Andrew's St. from Gallowgate, under the Chinese arch next to the Tyneside Irish Centre (who rumour tells me ironically weren't keen on being swamped by support from Scotland) by Celtic fans was criminally dangerous, completely indiscriminate and should end the invitations to Celtic Football Club to visit SJP. I saw bottles narrowly missing families and they were being thrown with wreckless intensity. Remember this was a game to which U-11s were encouraged with free admission. Again, I'm not suggesting our support was completely innocent but there is no question of provocation.

Its truly sad when a fanzine feels the need to call for a football club to be banned from our city because large numbers of their supporters can't conduct themselves acceptably . Sad and probably irrelevant.

And we won 4-1. We're not getting excited.'

Celtic fans welcome their players back after Ross County Defeat

"Faithful through and through" they sing. Only when their winning.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

"Celtic crowd claim laughable"

"Celtic tried to claim an official crowd of 27,750 but that looked a laughable estimate."

Read more:

Faithful through and through?

Celtic have released their official attendance of last nights match against high flying Motherwell as 27,500.

Lets carry out some simple arithmetic.

The capacity of Celtic Park is 62000. As you can see from the images there is less than one Celtic fan per 8 seats. The attendance at Celtic park last night looks closer to 7200 than the 27'500 Celtic claim. Faithful through and through? Only when their winning.

Monday, April 12, 2010

Celtic fans tear gas attack

The Glasgow Herald - Nov 30, 1987

The Glasgow Herald - Mar 16, 1988

The Glasgow Herald - Jul 9, 1988
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