JOHN REID, the Celtic chairman, spoke out at yesterday's annual meeting to condemn the singing of the Famine Song by Rangers fans and said it was up to the police to take action.

Reid also conceded that Celtic have an ongoing issue with offensive chanting among a "tiny minority" of their own supporters at away grounds and appealed to the club's fans to use self-policing to eradicate the problem.

Reid branded the Famine Song "vile, vicious and racist", while urging the authorities to take the necessary action against those who continue to indulge in offensive chanting at football matches.

The Famine Song - sung to the tune of the Beach Boys' hit Sloop John B - is aimed at Celtic fans with Irish heritage and includes the line "The famine's over why don't you go home?" in reference to the famine in Ireland during the 1840s.

"The police have a very difficult task in all respects, not just footballing," Reid said. "And I don't think anybody should be giving operational directions to the police about the judgments they make. There is offensive chanting and singing going on and our position on that is quite plain. We believe that some of that is very offensive and I would encourage anyone who hasn't read the song, however distasteful it is, to read it and see that we are not over-reacting to it.

"It's up to others now. If this transgresses the law, it's up to others to take the necessary action whenever they can. It's not for us to carry that forward."

Celtic have worked hard to eradicate offensive behaviour within their own support and Reid now believes that "peer pressure" is the best way to deal with the small minority who continue to tarnish the club's reputation.

The issue came to the fore after an elderly supporter at the annual meeting condemned the conduct of his fellow fans during Celtic's visit to Fir Park. "The vast majority of our fans are not only conducting themselves in a way that is acceptable to the club and football authorities, but in a way which is lauded and congratulated by the football authorities," said Reid.

"They the fans have the right to say to the tiny minority, particularly at away games, who are blemishing that image, Don't do this - that's not the Celtic way of doing things'. However much you police these events, however willing we are to take action - as we have done at Celtic Park - the best way to do these things is through peer pressure. It's a more effective way of doing it because it's not a scripture handed from on high, it's your fellow fans saying to you, enough is enough'."

Reid and Peter Lawwell, the chief executive, also addressed the issue of player budgets after accusations that Celtic had not strengthened their squad sufficiently in the last transfer window. Reid said: "I think anybody who looks at the strikeforce strengthened by Georgios Samaras, the midfield strengthened by Shaun Maloney and Marc Crosas, the centre-backs strengthened by Glenn Loovens - will see we have put in the amount of resources available and used it wisely. We have also signed longer-term contracts for Artur Boruc, Scott McDonald, Aiden McGeady, and that is another sign. Is the manager happy with the way we are approaching it? Yes, he is."

Lawwell added: "Was there more money available for Gordon? It doesn't quite work like that. If there was an opportunity to strengthen further we look at it. So there's not a defined budget where we say that is in the kitty'. That doesn't happen. We understand where he wants to strengthen, look for the opportunities and then try to fund them."

Lawwell insisted that he had no regrets about rejecting a move to Arsenal last month to remain at Celtic. The Celtic chief executive was headhunted by the London club but claimed that he has unfinished business at Parkhead. "Firstly, I was flattered and honoured to be associated with a club such as Arsenal. I took it as a compliment to myself as well as the club. It was clearly a massive personal decision, but I've no doubt I've made the right one. Celtic are my club and I look forward to being part of it for many years to come.

"There's a lot more I think to be done here. There is a huge financial disadvantage at the moment between us and the big leagues, which means we have to look for an edge elsewhere. I genuinely believe we can improve here and that disadvantage that exists can be overturned. There are examples of that - Porto, PSV Eindhoven - clubs from lower leagues getting to the very top. Arsenal or any other job is a fantastic honour, but this is more than a job."

Celtic also confirmed that they are making plans to stage a benefit match in memory of Tommy Burns next year, while also working to create a lasting tribute to the former first team coach who died of cancer earlier this year. "We have spoken to the family and they are in the process of putting ideas together with regard to a charity named after Tommy for some form of melanoma support. We are hoping that some time in May we will have a benefit match for Tommy and his family and their nominated charities. We are looking at ideas for a longer-term memorial."

Reid also confirmed that Celtic plan to donate 0.7% of their turnover, around £500,000, to charity to bring it into line with what the United Nations asks of nation states. The club also announced the donation of £10,000 to Francis House, a respite care home for terminally-ill children in Manchester, ahead of next week's Champions League match against Manchester United. They also stated their ambition to play a match at Croke Park, in Dublin, for the benefit of charity.