Brendan Rodgers reacts to Green Brigade return as Celtic reveal why ban was lifted

Celtic fan group, The Green Brigade, will return to Saturday's match against Livingston following their ban. (Photo by Alan Harvey / SNS Group)Celtic fan group, The Green Brigade, will return to Saturday's match against Livingston following their ban. (Photo by Alan Harvey / SNS Group)
Celtic fan group, The Green Brigade, will return to Saturday's match against Livingston following their ban. (Photo by Alan Harvey / SNS Group)
Ultras group set to return to Celtic Park for match against Livingston on Saturday

Celtic manager Brendan Rodgers has welcomed the imminent return of the Green Brigade following confirmation that their ban has been lifted. The ultras fan group have reached agreement with the club after being banned for a number of weeks and will be back in the stadium for Saturday’s visit of Livingston.

Around 300 fans were denied tickets for all home and away matches after what club bosses described as "unacceptable behaviours" back in November. The ban was imposed just days after the group defied requests not to fly Palestine flags during October's 2-2 draw with Atletico Madrid in the Champions League. Celtic have also received hefty fines from UEFA for fan conduct during European matches which included lighting flares and displaying offensive banners. The dispute has now been resolved with the Green Brigade set to return to their usual safe-standing section of the stadium on Saturday – one week before the crucial Old Firm clash against title rivals Rangers at Celtic Park on December 30.

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Rodgers said: “Celtic’s history is littered with late goals and a big part of that is down to the fans and the whole stadium getting behind the team. That’s what makes Celtic. When you have the manager, the supporters and the players all on the same page it’s a real force.

“It hasn’t been the atmosphere for a number of weeks but that’s the responsibility of everyone. But we know when the atmosphere is white hot at Celtic it makes it a really, really difficult place for teams to come and play and also it gives the players that extra edge as well. For the guys to be back in, there is no doubt they have given an ambience in that corner section. The club gave them that opportunity to be the first club in Britain to have that safe standing area.

“Hopefully they can go back in and support the team and their responsibility as well as the whole stadium to really get behind the team to help us get the result.”

When asked if the Green Brigade’s absence had contributed to those below-par performances, Rodgers said: “I don’t know if it’s specifically them. We have still had 60,000 in there. The responsibility is for everyone.

“Firstly I always look at the team and what we can do as a team to provide the football that can excite the supporters because that’s what we always aim to do. But of course Celtic is based around that collect spirit in the stands that really drives the team forward.

“But either way, I just think it’s really good news. There’s no point looking at the past. Great news for them that they can get in and watch their team because they want to support the team and the club. They are better being inside and cheering us on and hopefully that brings us all together and we can now look forward for the rest of the season.”

Celtic confirmed that the Green Brigade ban was lifted after the group agreed to abide by a new code of conduct. A club spokesperson said: “Following consultation with the group, the club has now implemented an updated rail seating safety code of conduct which has been accepted by the group, allowing for a return to a situation where rules and regulations around operating safely are respected and complied with.”

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