What Celtic's Ange Postecoglou said on disruption of minute's silence and Bernard Higgins protest
The minute’s silence for remembrance had to be cut short with a clump of fans singing through the silence. Meanwhile, just a minute in, the game was stopped after fans threw on tennis balls as part of a protest over reports the club plan to appoint assistant chief constable Bernard Higgins to a senior security role, a banner having been earlier unfurled stating that “the ball is in your court Nicholson” – a reference to acting chief executive Michael Nicholson’s role in the Higgins move.
Postecoglou adopted a politician-style equanimity when asked if he was disappointed over the tennis ball stoppage.
“My view on all those kind of things is that we live in a society where people are allowed to express themselves. I don’t necessarily think it’s a bad thing,” the Celtic manager said. “My preference is that it doesn’t affect the 90 minutes of football. The 90 minutes of football is the time when I want us all united, the whole football club. Ultimately that is what we are all here for, those 90 minutes. That would by my preference but ultimately there are avenues for these kind of things for people to express themselves if they are not happy about something. It’s not necessarily a bad thing but, as I said, I’d rather protect the sanctity of that 90 minutes because I know how precious it is and if we want to be a successful team we need everyone united for that.”
Asked about the sanctity of a minute’s silence, the Celtic manager was similarly measured. “Again, you would have to ask the individuals why they felt the need to do that. My view again is pretty simple, that we treat these things with respect and dignity, and that’s what we try to do. We certainly did and I think the majority of the fans did because that’s the kind of football club we are.”
The Celtic manager demurred when it was suggested to him it was a shame he had to face such questions after so laudable a showing on the pitch from his team. “I don’t think it’s a shame,” he said. “You need to understand when people aren’t happy about issues they have every right to express themselves, it’s just the manner in which they do it. It’s a special football club and we want to have success here and I think we all live and breathe for those 90 minutes and I’d like in those 90 minutes for us to be a united club.”