Celtic fan given 32-month ban over IRA chant

A Celtic fan has been given a 32-month ban for singing offensive songs at Celtic Park. Picture: Jane Barlow

A Celtic fan has been given a 32-month ban for singing offensive songs at Celtic Park. Picture: Jane Barlow

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A man has been given a football banning order after singing an offensive song at a Celtic game.

Michael Ryan, 33, was caught on camera singing the phrase “The IRA will set them free” along with other fans at the match.

The court heard he sang those words instead of the real words “The Irishmen will set them free” at the Parkhead ground in Glasgow’s east end on October 7, 2012.

Ryan pled guilty at Glasgow Sheriff Court to behaving in a way that was likely or would be likely to incite public disorder and was handed a seven month community payback order by sheriff Stuart Reid.

The sheriff ordered that Ryan, from Castlemilk, Glasgow carry out 180 hours of unpaid work and be supervised throughout the seven months.

The sheriff also gave Ryan a 32-month football banning order that he reduced from three years because of the guilty plea.

The court heard that the offence took place around 2.15pm when Celtic were playing Hearts and Ryan was sitting in the section of the grounds where the Green Brigade were.

Procurator fiscal depute Ronnie Hay told the court the words of the song Bring Them Home that they were singing should have been “The Irishmen will set them free” but Ryan instead sang the words “The IRA will set them free”.

Mr Hay said: “The IRA is the offensive remark there. This was caught on cameras by the police officers in the ground.

“As a result of this action taking place at a regulated match the Crown would seek to move for a football banning order.”

Laura Anne Radcliffe, defending, told the court: “Mr Ryan has very little recollection but accepts full responsibility for his behaviour that day.”

She said Ryan was going through “difficulties” at the time the offence was committed and has not offended since.

Miss Radcliffe said her client was not a season ticket holder.

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