Tuesday 19 November 2019

Boys of the Old Brigade, The Roll of Honour not on 'banned list' for Old Firm

Sam Bird

It's three years since they last met and that's a long, long time for the people of Glasgow.

Three years of a dormant intense rivalry which will no doubt explode in a hate-fuelled cauldron of noise when Celtic and Rangers meet at Parkhead on Sunday afternoon in the League Cup semi-final.

You are unlikely to see a half-and-half scarf at an Old Firm game. Instead, prepare for a bitter rivalry with sectarian chants aplenty.

Last week, Celtic fans took out a full page advertisement in the Sunday Herald reminding the Gers that this will be the firs meeting between the clubs.

They are correct in the sense that this is effectively a new Rangers club following their liquidation and the formation of "newco" Rangers.

In one of their last meetings, in 2011, three players were sent off, there were 12 yellow cards, the two managers squared up to each other at the final whistle, and 187 fans were detained by police on the day of the match.

The then-Scottish First Minister, Alex Salmond, held a summit with representatives of the clubs in the following days amid calls for the fixture to be scrapped.

So it's little surprise that the Scottish police are bracing themselves ahead of this Sunday's clash. But despite some reports, the Police say there is no 'banned list' as far as songs are concerned.

 “There is no list of songs as they constantly change and people can insert words into any song," said Chief superintendent Andy Bates.

“If its clearly offensive, don’t sing it and conduct yourself responsibly at the football stadium,” he continued.

Bates did however stress that there will be a huge police operation for the Old Form Derby.

Bates added: "In 2013/14 nine people were convicted of various football-related online offences with one person being sent to prison for 12 months for a racial breach of the peace and drug offences after making an offensive comment about footballers.

"So far, in 2014/15, four people have also been reported to the procurator fiscal for a number of religious and racial offences.

"We had a superb year policing major sporting events in 2014 and the semi-final weekend provides yet another opportunity to showcase Glasgow on the world stage.

"Together we can make sure that football is the story in Monday’s newspapers, not the behaviour of a minority of so-called fans.

"We’re well-versed in policing high-profile matches and sporting events and we have an appropriate plan in place to ensure the safety of people attending the matches and visiting the city.

"It is our job to ensure that supporters get to and from the game safely and that there is minimum disruption to those who live, work and socialise in the city centre and in and around the stadium.

"A minority may choose to cause disorder and my message to them is clear, anyone involved in disorder will be arrested."

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