There are no marches and there are no matches, but still the menace of sectarian violence hangs over Glasgow this summer.

City leaders had hoped lockdown - with its ban on football and parades - would bring respite after two years of tensions between loyalists and republicans.

Ever since a Catholic priest was spat on almost exactly two years ago Glasgow - and especially its east end - has been on edge.

Now, law enforcement sources say, rival sides have found a proxy war to fight, over Black Lives Matter and narratives straight out of US-style culture wars on monuments and symbols.

“It is just the avenue they are taking to restart old arguments,” explained a senior policing source.

Revelations of William of Orange’s personal and political links to the mass slave trade helped prime a powerkeg.

The latest trouble in Glasgow kicked off after an iconic statue to King Billy in the city’s Cathedral Precinct was daubed with three letters: “IRA”.

Loyalists, increasingly fragmented organisationally and politically weak, then swore to protect monuments, including the Cenotaph.

They did so in common cause with the kind of far right elements and football casuals behind similar exercises in England.

The result: repeated stand-offs with police, peaceful protestors and rival hooligans in and around Glasgow’s main civic space Behind the scenes another conflict - a peaceful one - has broken out.

The crux of the argument revolves around two simple questions: How can the situation be calmed down? And whose job is it to lead that effort?

The Scottish Government’s advisor on sectarianism, Edinburgh University academic Michael Rosie, has already quietly criticised Glasgow City Council for not leading efforts for dialogue in an official report quietly published earlier this month.

However, speaking to Herald on Sunday, Rosie linked BLM clashes between rival hooligans to what he saw as Glasgow’s failure to promote dialogue.

“The lockdown brought an unprecedented opportunity to take the heat out of parades, “ he said. “I don’t see much evidence that the council are investing that time in trying to rebuild or reform relationships with parading organisations, including Loyal Orders and Irish Republicans.

“That might explain some of the absolute nonsense we are seeing in George Square at the moment, which is appalling.

“The Orange Order is not in George Square but there is the same cast of characters, the same extras who are bystanders to a big Orange parade, Rangers football hooligans.

“Nobody is forcing them to be violent racists but they are encouraged by the other lot who are knocking about and vandalising pubs and statues. There is a lot of nasty provocation going on at the moment, and it is around football, but football in Glasgow is never just about football.

“Part of me is very concerned that Black Lives Matter, which is really important, is being used now as a political football between Rangers and Celtic hooligans.”

Rosie called for a vision, a strategy of dialogue, and cautioned against oversimplified responses to the conflict, which is painted by some in terms of racists against peaceful protestors.

He concluded: “What I see in some of the underlying tensions is bad guys versus bad guys.”

City sources were stung by the criticism. An official spokesman responded: “It is strange to suggest that we could have used this time more productively when staff resource has been entirely focused on our response to this unprecedented global pandemic.

“Frankly, no one could have anticipated that, during this crisis, there would also be protests to ‘protect statues’ – a movement that has been seen worldwide, not just in Glasgow.

“It is completely inaccurate to suggest that the relationship between the Council and parading organisations – which has always been delicate - is the cause of the trouble we have seen this week.

“We would, of course, welcome any willingness by parade organisers to engage positively with us on reducing parades in the city.

“However, to excuse those who are perpetrating violence on the streets of our city because there is not yet agreement on that point is a dangerous dismissal of the very real issues which are at play here - issues of racism, sectarianism and fascism.”

But would it even be possible to mediate between those behind current street disorder? Some city sources say no: mainstream parading organisations - with no parades - have lost leadership. Campaigns are now being organised online and are fluid. ‘It is all subterranean,’ said one source.

The biggest physical presence appears to be loyalists, especially around monuments. But who do you call to pull them out of the streets?

Yesterday the leader of Scotland’s main loyal order, the Grand Orange Lodge of Scotland, could not bring himself to condemn ‘statue protectors’.

Jim McHarg, the lodge’s grandmaster, described protestors from loyalist splinter groups like Scottish Protestants Against Discrimination and the National Defence League as ‘proud patriots and unionists’.

Mr McHarg has previously echoed complaints from the wider loyalist tradition that Scotland’s SNP leaders - in both Edinburgh and Glasgow - now actively discriminated against “protestants’. But those watching the Loyal Orders stress that politically such rhetoric also tells another story: that McHarg’s organisation is losing influence in the City Chambers. And also within its own tradition.

One city insider said: “There’s been no proper sense for some time of who’s in charge or which group has the actual influence within Glasgow Loyalism, so who is it that any agency is expected to enter dialogue with to deliver calm?

“The leadership of the Orange Order has shown time and again that it has little or no control over what actually happens on the streets or at its events.

“Glasgow needs credible voices which can communicate the views of Loyalism to the outside word without blame and recrimination and which can properly shoulder some of the responsibility around reducing tensions. Until those emerge reasonable people shouldn’t expect the Order, SPAD or whoever to deliver much.”

Dave Scott, director of anti-sectarianism charity Nil by Mouth, wants a society-wide response. He doe not think any one body, or government local or national, can provide a fix.

“This is not an issue that can be solved by dumping it outside the City Chambers or St Andrew’s House,” he said. “We need everybody on board across civil society, including a whole range of different people for whom the identities, traditions and values being bandied around and hijacked at the moment really matter.”

Scott summed up: “There is only so far they can push the line that ‘this is about my identity and my culture’. There is an element of criminality that comes in to this. I am not talking about religious or hate crime; I am taking about a classic breach of the peace. Are people going out with the intention of antagonising other people, of winding them up? This is common criminality.”