Celtic 0-0 Livingston extras: Celtic's neutering, one voice for protests over ill-suited Celtic appointment Bernard Higgins, Bobby Madden unable to catch a break

The Celtic fans protest the appointment of Bernard Higgins  before their scoreless draw with Livingston.  (Photo by Rob Casey / SNS Group)The Celtic fans protest the appointment of Bernard Higgins  before their scoreless draw with Livingston.  (Photo by Rob Casey / SNS Group)
The Celtic fans protest the appointment of Bernard Higgins before their scoreless draw with Livingston. (Photo by Rob Casey / SNS Group)
It wasn’t in-play that provided most of the talking points at Celtic Park ...


A monumental defensive display for Livingston was responsible for them securing the unlikeliest clean sheet, and point, from an encounter in which they had only 15% possession. OK, Ayo Obileye’s stupid late red card and penalty-conceding slap on Kyogo Furuhashi could have cost his team dearly. However, he was part of a central defensive three that had so neutered Celtic’s attacking threats they gave up only two shots on target… one from the spot. And in that trio Jack Fitzwater was an absolute rock, utterly faultless and commanding.


The Celtic support rarely speaks as one voice. They have, though, over their opposition to their club’s moves to appoint assistant chief constable Bernard Higgins to a senior security role. The Green Brigade protest this precipitated before Celtic’s hosting of Livingston was one of the few moments of notable activity early in the afternoon.

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Higgins seems entirely ill-fitting for Celtic (much like the Green Brigade themselves, but for wholly different reasons) and there appears a contrarian aspect to the Celtic board’s intent on this front. The club made no bones about the Offensive Behaviour at Football act being bad law. Higgins was a zealot in how he enforced it … unjustifiably. There was nothing in the legislation that came with the expectations of dawn raids, old Soviet style surveillance and the use of “touts” to clamp down on transgressors.

Higgins, too, seemed to act retrospectively on the Rangers’ George Square title celebrations in April and May that resulted in serious instances of disorder and anti-Irish Catholic bigotry. Yet, he was the same man that eight years ago justified his force kettling a coupled of hundred members of the Green Brigade marching to Celtic Park by stating police would not allow “large groups of people to take over streets”. Against this backdrop, and the fact it was Halloween weekend, there was anticipation over how much fun the Green Brigade could have sticking it to Higgins with their inevitable tifo. What a letdown, then, was the banner unveiled that proclaimed: “HIS EVIL EYES HAVE NO PLACE IN PARADISE’.


Wouldn’t you know, it just happened to be the 92nd-minute penalty awarded to a winner-pushing Celtic for Obileye’s clip on Furuhashi was easily that. And then some. Girogos Giakoumakis’s horribly weak effort that Max Stryjek saved comfortably deprived Celtic of the victory that would have taken them top of the table.


We shouldn’t have laughed really, but Obileye still going at it, and coming back up the tunnel to do so following his red-card, was devilishly amusing.


Supporters are a weird bunch. Bobby Madden was booed off by a Celtic support who, after all their moans about penalties given to Rangers this week, seemed to give no credit to his spotting off-the-ball incident that resulted in him awarding Celtic a 92nd-minute penalty. Whatever his supposed Rangers allegiances, Madden is a referee whose only bias is towards letting some punishable challenges go, eh, unpunished. He did so for both sides. And, while there were howls of derision from home fans over his appearing not to clamp down on Livingston time-wasting, that he added on six minutes showed he was taking note.

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