Glasgow /PNN / Roddy Keenan -
Despite warnings from the board of directors of Glasgow Celtic football club, Celtic Park in Glasgow was a sea of Palestinian flags tonight, as the club’s supporters defiantly showed their support for the people of Palestine.
In the run-up to Celtic’s UEFA Champions League clash with Atletico Madrid, the club hierarchy released a statement requesting that ‘banners, flags and symbols relating to the conflict and those countries involved in it, are not displayed at Celtic Park at this time.’
With Celtic supporters having consistently demonstrated their support for Palestine in the past, it appeared to be wishful thinking by the board to believe that the supporters would heed the clubs warning. Furthermore, the notion that Celtic fans would acquiesce to the board’s request at a time when Palestinians are being genocided by a fanatical Israeli occupation regime, backed by western governments and a supine media, was even more unlikely.
In response, The Green Brigade, a Celtic supporters’ group, argued that a number of restrictions being placed on them, including the ban on flags at the stadium, were ‘motivated by a desire to quash political expression within the Celtic support, specifically in relation to Palestine at this time.’
However, the group declared that ‘in spite of this, and any further obstruction, we once again encourage fans to courageously fly the flag for Palestine.’
As kick-off approached, it was clear as to where the Celtic fans loyalties lay, as a sea of Palestine flags greeted the Celtic and Atletico Madrid teams onto the pitch.
At Celtic Park, while the supporters have numerous songs that they sing throughout each game, there are two that stand out.
The first is The Celtic Song, a song that ends with the lyrics:
‘And if you know your history, it’s enough to make your hearts go,
We don’t care what the animals say, what the hell do we care,
For we only know, that there’s going to be a show,
And the Glasgow Celtic will be there.’
Well, the Celtic fans certainly know their history. Moreover, they know the history of Israeli oppression, occupation and brutalisation of Palestinians.
And tonight, as the colours of the national flag of Palestine illuminated the dark sky in the east end of Glasgow, it was the Celtic supporters who put on a show.
A show of support, a show of solidarity, a show of love for the men, women, and children of Palestine.
The other anthem that Celtic fans sing before every game is ‘You’ll Never Walk Alone’.
As its spine-tingling chorus reverberated around an emotional Celtic Park, and a sea of Palestinian flags swept across the stadium, Celtic supporters reminded their Palestinian brothers and sisters that they will never, ever, walk alone.