Northern Ireland

Celtic ultras face criticism over use of Battle of Bogside image at Old Firm game

The Green Brigade tifo featuring the image of the late Paddy Coyle
The Green Brigade tifo featuring the image of the late Paddy Coyle

THE GREEN Brigade group of Celtic supporters have faced criticism for displaying a banner depicting an iconic image of a young petrol bomber during 1969's Battle of the Bogside.

The so-called tifo was displayed ahead of Saturday's lunchtime clash with rivals Rangers, which the Parkhead side won 4-0.

The image of the late Paddy Coyle, based on photograph by Clive Limpkin and similar to that which adorns a gable end adjacent to Free Derry Corner, was accompanied by the phrase 'Today we dare to win', which is thought to be based on a phrase used by civil rights campaigner and one-time MP Bernadette Devlin-McAliskey.

Mr Coyle, who was latterly known in his native city as a driving instructor, died in 2020.

The Green Brigade, a group of Celtic ultras who occupy the North Curve at Parkhead, are no strangers to controversial political gestures. In the past, the supporters have shown support for the Palestinian struggle, Black Lives Matter and protested against the display of poppies as an act of remembrance.

Celtic have made moves in the past to disband the Green Brigade.

It is unclear whether the Glasgow club will face any sanctions for its supporters' behaviour on Saturday.

Andrew Smith, a sports journalist and columnist with The Scotsman newspaper, yesterday said the group of supporters "appear to drag down Celtic with impunity".

He noted that ahead of kick-off the 700-strong Rangers support were heard to sing The Billy Boys, which includes the line “up to our knees in Fenian blood”.

The journalist described the Green Brigade tifo as: "Further tawdry commodifying for football entertainment/attention-seeking purposes of the human tragedies, sacrifices and struggles endured by those who experienced The Troubles."

Both Celtic FC and the Scottish Football Association have been contacted for comment.

Meanwhile, members of Kerry's All-Ireland winning team were at Celtic Park on Saturday where they were greeted by Celtic manager Ange Postecoglou.

David Clifford, Micheal Burns, Tom O'Sullivan, Dara Moynihan and Adrian Spillane were among those who travelled to Glasgow for the Old Firm game.