Sorry Celtic plan to ban poppy rebels after banner protest
Celtic yesterday issued an apology on their official website concerning a banner which had been unfurled during the interval of Saturday's 9-0 victory over Aberdeen at Parkhead.
The banner was brandished by a section of the support known as the Green Brigade and was used to protest about Celtic joining the other SPL clubs in wearing a poppy on their shirts this weekend to commemorate Remembrance Sunday.
Many of the club's fans come from an Irish Catholic background and do not approve of what they perceive to be a blanket approval from the club of all operations carried out by the British Army.
The message on the offending banner read: "Your deeds would shame all the devils in Hell. Ireland, Iraq, Afghanistan. No bloodstained poppy on our hoops."
However, Celtic -- whose chairman, John Reid, supported the Iraq invasion and who was responsible for sending troops into Afghanistan as defence secretary in Tony Blair's government -- moved quickly to disassociate themselves from those sentiments.
Celtic also made it clear that they intend to take punitive action against the supporters who were behind the demonstration.
The statement read: "The club is carrying out an investigation into this matter. When it is concluded it is the club's intention to ban those identified as responsible from Celtic Park.
"It is extremely disappointing that the actions of a small minority have embarrassed Celtic and tarnished the club in this way.
"These actions have no place at Celtic Park and we apologise for any offence caused."
Neil Doncaster, the chief executive of the SPL, confirmed that there would be an enquiry into the matter once the ruling body receive the report from their match delegate.
"We would welcome the fact that Celtic have moved quickly to apologise," he said. "I would also point out that all 12 of the SPL clubs will be wearing poppies next weekend." (© Daily Telegraph, London)