Match Reports Focus on FoCuS

Hamilton vs Celtic (17 01 15)

Another quiet day the most excitement seem to come at half time when both sets of supporters cheered the young lad Jay at half time. There was a problem in entering the ground as there seemed to be only a few turnstiles open for Celtic fan’s however no problems arose

I would say that the recurring theme in these games is the time and day of the kick off’s.

 Kilmarnock vs Celtic (05 01 15)

We know of no incidents – let us know if there were any.

Motherwell vs Celtic (06 12 14)

A 1 -0 win at Fir Park  with nothing much in the way of problem’s for our fan’s inside the ground that I saw. There were several flares let off from a section at the front of the lower tier but the officials seemed to be content to let this go.  After the game as our bus passed near Motherwell train station the police appeared to have stopped a group of around 25 – 30 youngsters none of whom were wearing colours.  I looked for any reports of disorder the next day but could not find anything. In the past at Motherwell group’s like this have been alleged to have been Motherwell supporters looking to fight Celtic fans .

Celtic vs Ross County (18/10/2014)

The Celtic support was in fine voice as the team turned on the style on the pitch against Ross County. The fans were undeterred by the early kick-off time for our longest jaunt in the league of the season and supported the team vocally throughout.

There seemed to be a bit of a return to some of our older Irish songbook, as the fans expressed their identity as they always have through song in defiance of the ongoing attempts to repress such expression. The match wore on as Celtic over-powered the Dingwall side and the mood of the away fans become increasingly jubilant with every goal. It was however noted that our friends at FoCuS had taken it upon themselves to ensure that the Celtic fans were filmed for almost the entire match. Songs about Emilio Izzaguirre are seemingly suspect and warrant close scrutiny according to Police Scotland.

All in all, it made for a good trip, a good trip and a valuable 3 points. As always though we would advise fans to be vigilant about the tactics of the police and be wary of their eagerness to ratchet up statistics at all times.

Celtic vs Dinamo Zagreb (2/10/14)

CelticVsDinamoZagreb

As Celtic fans made their way to Celtic Park for the important clash with Dinamo Zagreb in the Europa League, the vast majority would have been unaware of anything out of the ordinary taking place in the city. Things seemed much the way many of our home European ties have done over the years, with a cautious optimism among the locals and very little obvious presence from the visiting support. Some fans may have noticed that there appeared to be segregation set up within the away section, which whilst odd, was no cause for alarm.

On the park, the performance was shaky and Craig Gordon was pivotal in delivering the 3 points. Given the inconsistency of the team though, a victory in Europe was welcome regardless on the manner in which it was delivered. Most fans would have went home relatively content on a night which seemed to pass without incident.

What many would not have known is that the most drama on offer that evening was actually taking place several miles away from Celtic Park, as Police Scotland kettled a large group of several hundred Dinamo Zagreb fans. These fans were held for hours. They were not allowed to watch the match on the television from the comfort of a pub, let alone anywhere near the stadium.

There were fears that these supporters would be attempting to attend the match in order to engage in violence with rival factions within their own support, linked with the understandably unpopular Zdravko Mamic, president of Dinamo. The internal conflict between these fans, the club and the authorities that be are extremely complex. There are political tendencies among elements of their support which Celtic fans would find to be abhorrent, however the treatment of those opposed to Mamic within the Zagreb fanbase has been truly disgraceful. There has been a deliberate and systematic attempt to ban, harass and intimidate all opposed to his reign, with even some recent allegations that some Dinamo fans were shot by associates of Mamic. This is quite simply a different world from the one we live in as Celtic supporters and whilst there may occasionally be tensions between those with opposing viewpoints among the support and the club, it is simply unfathomable that an even remotely similar situation could ever develop here. It is important to bear in mind just how intense this conflict is.

It was unsurprisingly those on the anti-Mamic side whom were subject to the same kettling tactics that several hundreds Celtic fans had been on the receiving end of in early 2013. Whilst it is understandable that efforts will be made to prevent disorder, the worrying use of this tactic is the manner in which it collectively demonises, punishes and de-humanises an entire group of people. These fans were held captive in this small enclosed space. They were not allowed to go to the toilet, nor were they permitted to go to the shop for a drink. There were several pubs close by that the police could have shifted them to, allowing for the police to keep a watchful eye whilst demonstrating a respectful and common sense approach meaning that the fans could watch the game that they had travelled from Croatia to see.

Whatever way you wish to paint it, to kettle a large group for hours and to treat a large group of people, the vast majority of whom ha not commited a crime is a dangerous precedent to set. And given the record that Police Scotland has when it comes to dealing with football fans, there is every reason to be fearful that this is not the last time we will see such tactics employed.

Food Bank Thank You

The Green Brigade would like to extend our heartflet thanks to every single person who volunteered at or contributed to the food drive organised at Celtic Park prior to our home match against Inverness Caledonian Thistle on the 1st of November of 2014.

Watching young bhoys and ghirls proudly dropping off bags of food with their parents by their side seemed to epitomise exactly what Celtic Football Club means to so many of us. People struggled over from the Emirates bus park and up the Gallowgate with hefty bags of shopping, supporters buses organised their own collections to hand in and those who had perhaps not realised that the collection was due for this date thrust notes in to the collection buckets. The benevolence on display was overwhelming.

Over the course of the day, we collected in a total of £8,739 in cash donations alone whilst the food collected is still being sorted and weighed, which is a testament to exactly how much we received. Most of our volunteers even managed to miss John Guidetti’s opening goal in the 49th minute of the match, as the bags were still being transported to various food banks in the city and sorted upon arrival.

The success of this event is owed to the incredible collective generosity of the Celtic fans and this merely served as yet another of countless examples of our support’s absolute commitment to the values on which our great club was founded. When the Celtic support is called upon to help the local community, it can always be relied upon to do so in emphatic fashion.

Events like this are absolutely crucial when it comes to tackling the symptoms of poverty, and we all have a responsibility to continue in this vein to ensure that those facing financial hardship are able to feed themselves and their families. It is however an eternal shame on this country that food banks are required as we approach 2015, and we would like to stress the importance of challenging the causes of poverty as well. With this in mind, we would like to urge the Celtic support to back the campaign lead by the Celtic Trust for our club to introduce the Living Wage. Given the history of our club and the social significance it carries, we feel that as a club we have a duty to pay employees a wage that they can live on.

But whilst we are faced with rising inequality and poverty, we as a group will continue to help in the way that we can, and we would like to ask the support to continue to support these charitable endeavours as well.

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