Usually when an individual or an organisation faces some form of disciplinary hearing or legal proceedings they usually hope to be found not guilty.
It is the human condition.
It is strange to secretly wish for a conviction.
Today Celtic will face the consequences of the alleged “illicit changing” of their fans at the Rennes game in the Europa league.
The extent to which the club will defend this action will be instructive regarding how people in the Celtic boardroom actually feel about this UEFA case.
UEFA confirmed to me recently that Celtic has had the details of the case against them for some time.
Hence the “illicit chanting” is no mystery to the club.
Despite this it has passed me by when the club actually told the supporters what the UEFA match delegate deemed to be “illicit.”
Since receiving that information from UEFA Celtic has played Athletico Madrid in the same competition.
The Celtic fans went into that game against the Spanish side not knowing the specific nature of the charges.
My suspicion is that the club would rather like a minor censure from UEFA.
At the recent AGM the club’s Chief Executive Peter Lawwell made it very specific that the Provisional IRA chants were unwelcome and unwanted.
Would I be irredeemably cynical if I thought that the club would rather like a minor slap on the wrist to use as Exhibit ”A” in their campaign against what they see as problematic and embarrassing behaviour from a set of the club’s fans?
There is a case to be made for defending this charge.
The defence could be based upon the right of Celtic fans to chant endorsements of Irish Republican organisations on the grounds that these organisations and their political project are not “illicit.”
These chants maybe, depending on your opinion, offensive, out of date, and out of place.
However are these political chants “illicit?”
The extent to which the club defends this disciplinary case might shine a light on the club’s true feelings about the charges.
It might answer the key question:
“Does the Celtic board want the Celtic fans to be guilty?”