Being a real football supporter

I was in the Jock Stein stand during the match against Cliftonville FC when the first big bang went off two nights ago and I wasn’t sure what it was.

The second one dispelled any of my doubts that someone was letting off fireworks of the noisy variety.

When the stadium PA played a police warning to the fireworks person to desist then it was clear to me that the club would be punished by UEFA for this.

When I got back to my accommodation in Glasgow I emailed a question to UEFA Media and today they got back to me and I immediately put this link out on Twitter without comment.

My timeline seemed to be mainly condemnatory of the perpetrator(s) of this criminal act.

For the record using fireworks inside a sports stadia in the UK is illegal.

However there are some who claim to be supporters of the Parkhead club who know that ordinary rules don’t apply to them.

Celtic was fined £21,000 after the Udinese game in December 2011.

Because the UEFA Match delegate on Tuesday night was the hugely experienced René Eberle from Switzerland along with the referee Thorsten Kinhöfer from Germany I was convinced that Celtic would be reported for the fireworks.

UEFA’s rules are fairly clear:

Article 16.2 “All associations and clubs are liable for the following inappropriate behaviour on the part of their supporters and may be subject to disciplinary measures and directives even if they can prove the absence of any negligence in relation to the organisation of the match.

“[This includes] the invasion or attempted invasion of the field of play, the throwing of objects, the lighting of fireworks or any other objects, the use of laser pointers or similar electronic devices, the use of gestures, words, objects or any other means to transmit any message that is not fit for a sports event, particularly messages that are of a political, ideological, religious, offensive or provocative nature, acts of damage, the disruption of national or competition anthems, or any other lack of order or discipline observed inside or around the stadium.”

Of course the people who perpetrate these acts never seem to suffer the sporting consequences of their actions.

The club will pay the inevitable fine from UEFA.

However, Celtic has previous in Europe for the fireworks thing because of that match in Italy against Udinese in 2011.

The people who perpetrate these acts and those who argue on their behalf have a self-regard that they are somehow at the apex in a hierarchy of Celtic supporters.

They are elite fans and the rest of us can only aspire to be like them.

Moreover, they go to every game make the most noise (obviously) and they really get behind the team.

Subsequently, these chaps are above criticism.

If this illegal behaviour continues then at some point Celtic will play an away match in Europe and the guys on the pitch will be in a stadium exclusively of home fans as Rangers players experienced in Malmo in 2011.

Of course the genius with the fireworks will be convinced that he is blameless and he will continue on his merry way.

It will be vast majority of Celtic supporters and the club itself that will suffer.

Celtic FC find themselves in an invidious position as their statement today indicates.

However the firework chap is happy because he knows he is right, he knows he is a real supporter unlike the rest of us.

You will know him by his noise.

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