Celtic have wielded the axe on the self-proclaimed ULTRAs group, the Green Brigade, following damage caused to Motherwell’s Fir Park stadium on Friday night.
During the game, which Celtic won 5-0, over 100 seats within the south stand were destroyed while fans set off smoke bombs, flares and fireworks with some being thrown onto the pitch.
Despite issuing a statement in which they passed the buck to hangers-on and also laid blame on the authorities, the Green Brigade’s words have fallen on deaf ears at Celtic Park as the board have had enough of their antics which are bringing negative headlines upon the club.
Celtic have provisionally suspended around 128 fans [who are banned from all Celtic home and away games]and advised they will be relocating a further 250 season ticket holders unless they wish a refund. The Green Brigade area of the stadium, section 111 will no longer be used to house the group.
In a statement on the official club website, a Celtic spokesperson said: “Following events on Friday evening at Fir Park Stadium, Celtic Football Club today announced that it has issued precautionary suspensions against 128 individuals preventing them attending matches involving Celtic, pending further investigation. These suspensions will cover matches at Celtic Park and away matches.
“In addition, the Club will be relocating around 250 season book holders in Section 111 to other areas within the stadium, or offering refunds covering the remainder of the season to those who do not wish to be relocated.
“Events such as those on Friday night do not represent the Celtic support or the Club. These events were an embarrassment to our great football club and are absolutely indefensible.
“It is clear that there is an element which has no hesitation in bringing Celtic’s name into disrepute. This is something the Club will not tolerate and we therefore have no other option but to take this action. We will not allow the great name of Celtic to be damaged in this way any more – our supporters deserve more than this.
“While recent events are very regrettable, we would like to thank our many thousands of fans for the wonderful, positive backing which they continue to give to Celtic. We are sure these supporters will understand the position which the Club is in and we are also sure they will unite with the Club as we move forward.
“Celtic Football Club is in excellent shape on and off the field. The Club is in a very safe and strong position and we have a young, exciting team working hard to deliver quality football and success for our supporters, as they did on Friday evening with a magnificent performance. This is what we want to be talking about and this is what we want to celebrate.
“Celtic has a proud 125-year history and fundamental to that history have been our fans. Our supporters enjoy a wonderful reputation earned across many years, many families and many generations. This is something we must protect vigorously.
News of the club’s decision, came as the Scottish Professional League condemned those responsible for the damage at Fir Park and promised a full investigation into the ‘shameful’ scenes once it receives the match delegate’s report.
The Fir Park scenes followed UEFA’s decision to open disciplinary proceedings against the Parkhead side following the unfurling of a banner display by the Green Brigade during the Champions League game against AC Milan, depicting William Wallace and comparing him to PIRA terrorist and hunger striker Bobby Sands.
Damage at Fir Park is thought to be around the £10,000 mark with Celtic having to foot the bill once again for their fans misbehaviour.
The SPFL have yet to decide what action if any will be taken, but Celtic have jumped the gun by taking action of their own to weed out what many now see as a stain within the Celtic support.
SPFL chief executive Neil Doncaster said: “We have already been in touch with both clubs and the police following the disturbances during Friday night’s fixture at Fir Park. We absolutely condemn this type of behaviour. It has no place in the game.
“We are confident that the police and both clubs will play a full part in helping to identify those involved in what were shameful scenes. We expect the SPFL match delegate report to be with us within the next 24-48 hours.
“The SPFL will work closely with our colleagues at both clubs and with the police as part of a thorough investigation into Friday night’s events.”
Unsurprisingly the news of their ban and section closing didn’t sit well with many Green Brigade members who took to the forum to attack the Celtic board and their fellow fans for condemning the group.