How to destroy a well earned reputation

Three leading members of the Green Brigade will meet with Peter Lawwell early next week.

I understand that Ronnie Hawthorne delivered the “summons” and the trouble at Dens Park will be on the agenda.

It is the belief of people at Celtic Park that some of the Green Brigade’s younger members were among the main troublemakers at Dundee.

That is certainly not a view shared by the denizens of Section 111.

At Easter Road, ten travel stewards had a special job.

Having viewed images from Dens Park, their task was to try and identify any of those fine fellows who had distinguished themselves at the Dundee match.

At Dundee’s ground there were around 50 police officers and 150 stewards.

Normally, that would be adequate for a match of that size, but they were stretched on the night.

I am told that there was something of a revolving door of admissions and ejections for drunkenness.

One vignette from that night came to me from a Donegal man of my acquaintance who gets to every away game.

He told me that he was sitting directly behind a group of between 30 to 40 kids, some as young as 14.

He told me that they were throwing “bangers”.

He said that one of these fireworks landed very close to a Celtic supporter in a wheelchair.

Disabled supporters have already asked for this practice to cease.

He told me that he recognised some of their young faces from the match at Arbroath but that he hadn’t seen them before that.

He told me a middle aged man sat down beside him at Dens Park and said that the young crowd had told him to leave his seat – they didn’t put it quite so politely – or there would be physical consequences for him.

After the match the Donegal man left Dens Park with one of the leaders of the Green Brigade who he knows well and he was assured that the yobs had nothing to do with them.

Did you like the display at the Barca match?

My Tir Conaill buddy helped to raise the cash for that by donating  framed boots from Hooper, Samaras and Stokes in Ireland and organising the raffle.

Mo cara ó Dhún na nGall said that some of the behaviour he witnessed at Dundee was “a disgrace” and that’s good enough for me.

The differential coverage of crowd behaviour at two football matches in Scotland will no doubt make a fine case study for journalism students in the future.

That in itself would make people who follow Celtic have some cop on.

No doubt Peter Lawwell will be making that point to the “three leading members of the Green Brigade”, as they were described to me.

In a hostile media environment some of the people who go to Celtic matches need to have a look at themselves.

I was seriously disappointed in some denizens of the green blogosphere for edging towards trying to explain away criminal behaviour.

The dangers of uberism are apparently clear to see to all of those except those who indulge in this criminal behaviour.

Apparently, it was a greater crime to make reference to this conduct than to perpetrate it.

What I saw of the treatment of John Hartson on Twitter was shameful.

I was heartened by the positive response to these blogs, which nailed it.

As well as the “young team”, there appeared to be some conflict between older Celtic supporters on the concourse at half-time.

To blame alcohol for what transpired at Dens Park is like blaming car accidents on petrol.

Were these poor dears abducted and force fed booze all day by their heartless captors?

Putting a green and white scarf around your neck does not give you a pass on personal responsibility.

To bleat plaintively about the lack of consistent mainstream media coverage, ignoring one set of neds yet “going big” on another bunch of yobs, doesn’t take away from the fact that what is at issue here is  criminal and anti-social behaviour.

I was at the Helsingborg game and the match against Spartak.

It was wonderful.

I was in section 108 against the Scandinavians and in Section 113 to watch Gary Hooper net against the Russians.

So I was either side of the Green Brigade.

They are brilliant, just brilliant.

The Green Brigade accepts that in their leaping and dancing they break seats, but not deliberately.

They want a safe standing area and they’ve asked the maintenance lads at Celtic not to fix broken seats.

However, they are fixed in order to comply with health & safety regulations, and rightly so.

The safety people at the club are genuinely worried about “migrations to Section 111 during the match”.

They believe that if that section becomes seriously overcrowded during a match people could get hurt.

The Green Brigade has stated that none of their members were involved in the trouble at Dens Park.

It is precisely because the Dens Park behaviour was, on the whole, aberrant that this is such a serious issue for the “Celtic family”.

The relatively small numbers involved means that it is fixable.

However, if it is not tackled then the problem will grow.

The LAST thing that is needed now is for other Celtic supporters to minimise and mitigate, to become defence lawyers for yobs.

The Celtic support has a great reputation around Europe.

It is always a friendly invasion.

The people of Malaga were praying for Celtic in the Champions League because of the boost to the local economy.

They wouldn’t have that view if they thought that a mob was about to descend upon their beautiful city.

The Spaniards were confident that it would be more like Seville 2003 rather than Manchester 2008.

The Celtic support are rightly proud of their well-earned reputation.

Many in the mainstream media in Scotland would wish it was otherwise.

The coverage of the trouble at Dens Park was gleeful and disproportionate.

That is only one reason why there must be no equivocation or wriggling on this.

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