Wicklow People

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...and so is 'Off the Ball' column

A chara,May I, through the forum of your letters page, respond to Colm Lambert's article titled 'See you in Anfield' in last weeks paper.

Following Celtic's defeat in the UEFA Cup Final in Seville in May, fans had to endure anti-Celtic comments from Mr. Lambert in two issues of the paper. He made a mistake then and while most people learn from their mistakes, not so Mr. Lambert. Here we are eight months later and it seems he has fallen from his armchair again and got his head stuck firmly in the sand.

In his article, Mr. Lambert states that concrete Irish connections with Celtic ceased over 100 years ago, and goaded readers to name five top Irish footballers who spent the best part of their career at Celtic. You are wrong, Mr. Lambert, and here are a few names for you to mull over.

Willie Maley from Newry played for Celtic for six years and then managed them for over fifty years. The Donegal pairing of Packie Bonner and Patsy Gallagher between them played for Celtic for more than thirty years. The famous Charlie Tully from Belfast played for the Celts for eleven seasons while Sean Fallon from Sligo played for eight.

And now to Mr. Lambert's other observations. All Celtic fans know that the four leaf clover is on the crest. A song of the same name is a favourite amongst the fans.

They also sing 'The Soldiers Song' which is the English version of Amhran na bhFiann, and no,t as was wrongly stated, 'A Celtic Song' set to the same tune. The tricolour flying over Parkland was a gift to Celtic from the Irish Government on behalf of the Irish people. This was done in 1921 and 1951 to further cement the links between Celtic and Ireland.

The colours of the National flag are green, white and orange and not green, white and gold as was stated.

The Irish connection with Celtic is not just about the above, but the fans as well. Celtic FC have given permission to the Association of Irish Celtic supporters clubs to erect a monument to the memory of Sligo man brother Waltrid (founder of Celtic FC in 1887) outside the ground. Also, Celtic FC are setting aside a lounge in the Jock Stern stand 'exclusively' for members of the Irish Association to have refreshments before matches. Can Mr. Lambert name one other Scottish or English club who have done something similar for their Irish based fans? No luck? Ah, well..........

In conclusion I would like to point out that the transfer window is now open and make the following suggestions.

First, Independent Newspapers should transfer Mr. Lambert to a remote area such as Rockall where he can read and learn, uninterrupted, all about the 'Irish' club that is Glasgow Celtic as this may finally bring to an end the anti-Celtic bile which flows from his pen.

Or secondly, Mr. Lambert can just jump out the window!

Is mise le meas,

Gerry McDonnell,

Celtic fan and Vice Chairperson, Association of Irish Celtic Supporters Clubs.