Sunday 11 December 2016

'We won't get into a public spat' - Celtic's response to 'sickening and shameful display of outright sectarian hatred'

Ronnie Esplin and Andy Newport

Published 13/09/2016 | 14:01

Celtic and Rangers fans show their support ahead of the Old Firm
Celtic and Rangers fans show their support ahead of the Old Firm

Chief executive Peter Lawwell insists Celtic will not get involved in a spat with Rangers after the Ibrox club accused the Parkhead support of a "sickening and shameful display of outright sectarian hatred".

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Controversy was sparked during Saturday's Old Firm duel when the home support hung effigies up from the Celtic Park stands.

Light Blues chiefs have now promised to hold talks with official supporter group Club 1872 after they called for the entire Hoops faithful to be barred from Ibrox when the teams next meet.

The weekend Ladbrokes Premiership showdown was Rangers' first league visit to Celtic Park in four years and saw Brendan Rodgers' men romp to an impressive 5-1 triumph.

But the match has been overshadowed by events on the terraces.

Underneath a banner reading, "This is it Bhoys, this is war", two blow-up dolls - one wearing a Rangers scarf, the other an Orange sash - with nooses wrapped round their necks and arms tied behind their backs were strung up from the upper tier.

Rangers officials said they shared the "disgust" felt by their fans following the shocking display but now Hoops chief Lawwell has insisted he will deal with the issue behind closed doors.

Ahead of the Hoops' opening Champions League Group C clash with Barcelona at the Nou Camp, Lawwell was asked in a TalkSport interview if he would take action.

"What we won't do is to get into a public spat or tit-for-tat situation," he replied. "We try to operate to the highest possible standards.

"We will deal with these matters as we always do in a professional and private manner.

"But if there is anyone found in any way behaving in a manner that we don't like then we will take the action.

"But I don't think we want to sensationalise this, I think we want to put it into context.

"The overwhelming proportion of the supporters who were in the stadium gave us huge positive support and I don't think we should take it out of context.

"We should take it seriously and we will deal with it in the manner that we always do."

Press Association

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