LAST Saturday, the best part of £20,000 was raised on a cold day outside of Celtic Park for charity.

The Green Brigade, the club’s ‘Ultras’ group, were behind what has become their annual food drive. The funds will go to those not fortunate enough to get to the games. Good on them.

It has been estimated that over five years, the GB (as I’ll refer to them) have helped to raise close to £250,000. It’s a phenomenal effort. Fans who still sit down at games have contributed of course, but those in the GB have for a large part been the driving force.

Any club in Britain considering safe-standing sections visits Celtic Park to see what the north-east curve is all about. They have brought life and colour to games. They can be funny, satirical and thoughtful.

They also at times act like a bunch of neds playing at being grown up.


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The yearly and utterly manufactured poppy ‘outrage’ is little more than some immature individuals showing off. Sorry, lads, but the supposed political message you attempt to send out is always diluted when Glasgow’s answer to Wolfie Smith posts a clip of themselves singing ‘you can shove your f****** poppy up yer…”

They take themselves very seriously and importantly, walking to games, home and away, wanting to be stared at. They are never wrong. No action has been regrettable. Even after the 19th UEFA fine and now, for a third time, part of the singing section where the Green Brigade stand has been close by the club.

Celtic have acted because they have been told if they did not then UEFA will take its own action. Shutting half the section for Thursday’s game against Rennes, a dead rubber, is far preferable than 10,000 empty seats for the last-32 home tie.

And that’s what is going to happen The Green Brigade don’t like being told what to do and they don’t take a telling.

However, I am going to stand up for them re their anti-fascist and anti-Mussolini banners. If you are pro either of them then you should lay off the Wagner. But public warnings were issued before the home and away ties with Lazio about such political statements and, again, went unheeded.

The pyrotechnic problem is going to do for the GB and Celtic. Surely we can all agree that setting off flares in a packed section of a stadium filled with flammable material isn't the brightest idea. Well, all except those who take them to Celtic games all over Europe.

And no matter the size of the latest fine, how many fingers are pointed at them by their fellow supporter or the strength of wording of the board’s critical statement, the GB behave as they please and to hell with the punishments.

The GB and those around do the difficult stuff well; that’s raising money and awareness of good causes, bringing atmosphere to games to such an extent that Celtic Park on a European night is on every football buff’s bucket list.

Some, not all, of the banners are funny. They are on the right side of the debate over supporter welfare and the cost of modern football. But they can’t get enough of pyros.

This is why Celtic have acted. UEFA are watching. When a club is almost at the 20-fine mark, someone in UEFA will notice and flag it up. That’s what has happened here.

Look, wee boys can act like wee boys. We were all there once. Too many of us revisit it too often. And I like a great deal about the GB – when they keep away from the out-of-touch Ireland stuff.


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I’d even turn half a dumb ear to the songs, and it might be a good thing for the GB to acknowledge that Sean South was as right wing as old Benito himself.

Is it really impossible to do all of this and not break the law and put Celtic into deep bother? Surely it’s easy enough to leave the can of fire at home.

Celtic are terrified. IF UEFA were to impose a stadium closure, it would humiliate Peter Lawwell and his colleagues. It would suggest they had lost control of their own support.

The GB raising £20,000 on one afternoon is not headline-grabbing, not really, but then you don’t do good deeds for a pat on the back. Also, you shouldn’t join a supporters group to get in the papers. The pyrotechnics and punishments drag the club onto the sports pages. And into UEFA’s court.

It’s obvious that the GB don’t see themselves as neds. That memo hasn’t reached all its members. Alas, some can’t help themselves and for a few seconds of joy, plus a bit of coughing, they lift their flares high so everyone can see.

No one supporter is bigger than Celtic. And no supporter is more or less important than everyone else. So, why are just a few deciding whether the stadium can be opened fully for a European match?

Celtic’s agm is today and my guess is the GB don’t have as much backing among the general support any more, good people bored and frustrated that the only fans to count are young and loud.

If Lawwell has been told Celtic are on the verge of stadium closure then he has to ban the trouble-makers. The club know who they are.


Dave Cormack started off his new job as Aberdeen chairman by admitting the move away from Pittodrie may not happen. Oops.

The cynic in all of us would say that means the switch to a location on the city limits is off but the American couldn’t bring himself to say it on day one. Aberdeen need to move. Pittodrie isn’t working for them anymore which is a shame as it’s a great stadium.

I had it in my head that the new home would be up and running for the start of next season. I now wonder if we will see it at all.