CELTIC have been found not guilty on charges relating to an alleged offensive banner displayed by supporters during a pre-season friendly against Norwich City.

The Scottish Football Association had issued a notice of complaint alleging four rule breaches over the banner relating to Rangers and their fans that appeared at Celtic Park during the game on July 24. The SFA charges alleged Celtic had fallen foul of the rules by failing to prevent supporters bringing the banner, which featured a gunman shooting a zombie next to a gravestone with a Rangers crest on it, into the stadium and displaying it.

Celtic were also accused of failing to deal effectively with an instance of unacceptable conduct "by allowing spectators to retain possession of the banner after it had been initially displayed, which allowed them to display the banner on a second occasion during the above match". An SFA disciplinary panel, however, yesterday cleared the Parkhead club of all four charges.

A Parkhead spokesperson said: "Celtic Football Club opposes all forms of offensive behaviour and unacceptable conduct and our supporters are well aware of what is expected. We are surprised and disappointed that after providing a significant volume of evidence and information about our safety procedures, that today's hearing was actually necessary.

"In addition to dropping several charges in advance of the hearing, the SFA's Judicial Panel also accepted that Celtic had not breached any SFA rules. We believe that Celtic Park's safety and security procedures are of the highest standard, something that was successfully demonstrated to the Judicial Panel by the club and by several witnesses, including independent industry experts."

There was further cause for concern on the field, too, with Georgios Samaras insisting that he will play for Greece this evening despite still being troubled by the elbow injury sustained on international duty last month. The striker will take to the field for the World Cup qualifier against Bosnia in Athens wearing a cast, despite missing three weeks after dislocating an elbow against Latvia.

"My arm hurts and if I was selfish I wouldn't play," said Samaras. "But I love playing too much and I want to take part. My arm doesn't feel great, but we play football on the ground with our feet, so I should be okay. I hope I am in good enough shape to help us beat Bosnia."