Green Brigade call on supporters to ‘be responsible for their own behaviour’

Celtic fans’ group the Green Brigade have called on supporters across Scotland not to give ammunition to the “establishment” and those who wish to criminalise football fans.

St Mirren's Vaclav Hladky was hurt after a firework was thrown near the goalkeeper during Wednesday night's match. Picture: SNS

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The group released a statement a day after Celtic’s 2-0 win at St Mirren where a firework was thrown on to the field of play after the visitors netted their second goal through Ryan Christie.

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In the statement the Green Brigade were critical of the media’s coverage of off-field incidents that have marred Scottish football this season.

However, having fought to repeal the Offensive Behaviour at Football Act, they have asked fans to consider their actions inside football grounds in attempt to avoid any future legislation being brought in as a replacement.

They also condemned Celtic supporters who were seeking to hide behind the Green Brigade’s name in a bid to cause trouble.

The statement read: “In 2018, football supporters in Scotland secured a historic victory as the reprehensible Offensive Behaviour at Football Act was finally repealed, following a hard-fought campaign which had lasted over seven years.

“This represented a significant blow to the establishment, as the Scottish Government, the Police Service of Scotland and our entire judicial system struggled to accept that they had been so comprehensively beaten by a section of society whom they had spent years demonising and criminalising; ordinary football fans.

St Mirren's Vaclav Hladky was hurt after a firework was thrown near the goalkeeper during Wednesday night's match. Picture: SNS

“They were not however likely to accept this result meekly and have since sought to build support for yet another assault on the rights of football supporters. Over the last few months, these figures have cynically sought to feed a sense of moral panic around football, casting fans as villains for their own gain. The mainstream media have fuelled this fire with sensationalist headlines, disproportionate coverage and click-bait journalism.

“With this in mind, it is imperative that the victory against the OBFA does not become hollow and it is clear that all fans share the responsibility to counter any attempts to replace it - which includes being responsible for your own actions and behaviour.

“Whilst there must be a sense of perspective regarding the recent media furore, fans must also realise the potential damage that they are inflicting on themselves and other fans by feeding this frenzy.

“As an ultras group we support the safe, sensible use of pyrotechnics, however the launching of pyrotechnics on the park or in the direction of people is both unnecessary and counterproductive to any aspirations of normalising its use.”

They continued: “Similarly, small-scale pitch invasions - whilst largely harmless - are simply giving our detractors further ammunition at this time.

“We take particular exception to anyone who uses our name, banner or numbers as cover to indulge in behaviour which will ultimately cause our group and the Celtic support harm.

“We have made various attempts to engage with fans around us and will continue to do so in order to make them aware of the potential ramifications of their behaviour. We havs also engaged with the club in attempts to counter other contributory factors such as mass migration to, and overcrowding of, our area at Celtic Park.”