IRA chants embarrass Celtic chief

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CELTIC chief executive Peter Lawwell has admitted to being "embarrassed" by pro-IRA chanting from the club's supporters at Tynecastle last week and has insisted that moves will be stepped up in a bid to eradicate "a narrow problem".

Conceding that such offensive songs were more in evidence last week than at any other away fixture this season, he nonetheless believes the issue must be separated from recent concerns over sectarianism.

"We have made great strides at Celtic Park and anyone who comes here will not leave with the view that sectarian singing is prevalent," he said. "You will always have some idiots but at Celtic Park it has reached a margin for error that is difficult to wipe out. The problem is 99% resolved at our home games.

"The issue we have is the away support and songs sung in support of the Provisional IRA. These are unacceptable and offensive and last Sunday was embarrassing. They are not overtly sectarian songs, they are political songs that have no place at football. We will be addressing that.

"One of the reasons the away support is still an issue is that it is not within our jurisdiction. You need the local police forces and the local stewarding to identify and then police or eject supporters, or identify to us those that are creating the problem.

"We have ideas about how we can co-operate better with the local authorities that we are going to take to them. I do not think it is a massive problem, however."