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Flag and banner ban for Boxing Day Celtic match

Banners have been banned from the Boxing Day game between Celtic and St Johnstone at McDiarmid Park, so they cannot be used to light flares or smoke bombs.

Trouble earlier this month at Motherwell v Celtic game
Trouble earlier this month at Motherwell v Celtic game

St Johnstone issued a statement on their official website today asking fans not to bring flags or banners to the game.

The club say the decision was taken following discussions between St Johnstone, Celtic, Police Scotland and other agencies.

They are concerned that flags and banners could be used to light fares, smoke bombs and pyrotechnics, and are banning them to crack down on disorder. They say use of flares and smoke bombs at football games has increased this season.

Five people were arrested following trouble at a Motherwell v Celtic game earlier this month.

A flare was let off in the crowd, two green smoke bombs were thrown on to the pitch and seats were damaged during the clash at Fir Park stadium.

A statement on the St Johnstone website regarding their Boxing Day game with Celtic reads: "Supporters will be aware that, regrettably, there has been a significant increase in the letting off of flares, smoke bombs and other pyrotechnics at games across the country this season.

"These are inherently unsafe not only for those around the devices but also for spectators in general, particularly those who suffer from breathing disorders.

"They also have the potential to set seats alight and cause flags to burn.

"St Johnstone FC and Celtic FC fully support Police Scotland in their attempts to eradicate this nuisance from our game and as part of the planning process for this match between the three parties and other agencies, and as there have been several instances of flags being used as cover for the igniting of these devices, a decision has been taken that for this specific fixture flags and banners will not be permitted inside McDiarmid Park.

"Fans are asked to be considerate of this requirement in the interest of their own safety and the safety of others."

Police have also issued a statement reminding supporters to comply with the ban.

Officers will be there on the day to deal with anyone engaging in disorder.

Match Commander Superintendent Kevin Lynch said: ''We welcome both sets of supporters for what we are sure will be an excellent sporting event. We hope that they all enjoy themselves and we will be there to help keep them safe.

''The police and both clubs expect everyone to enjoy the occasion in the right way and abide by the law, as well as the ground regulations.

"We will be on hand to assist them where required and, where necessary, to deal effectively with anyone who is involved in disorder or other criminal behaviour.

''Those attending the game, as well as the local community, can rest assured that we will deal effectively with any incidents and put offenders before the courts.

"That could mean a spell in custody for offenders at a time when I am sure they would prefer to be with friends and family. So please come along and enjoy the game in the right way.''

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