Celtic v Stade Rennais – No Thunder Confirmed, ‘Need to have a good look at themselves in the mirror’

CELTIC take on Stade Rennais in Match Day 5 of the Europa League this evening and there will be No Thunder at Paradise.

Celtic’s Football Stadium Manager Robin Buchanan has confirmed this on social media earlier today.

“Weather forecast for Celtic Park. Dry overall through the today, with cloud breaking to give periods of sun. Clear skies and falling chilly into the evening. Winds 10 mph , dropping to 5 mph later. Maximum temperature 7 Celsius dropping to 0 Celsius by full time,” he tweeted. He’s always very accurate too incidentally!

When he was re-appointed as the stand-in Celtic manager after Brendan Rodgers walked away, Neil Lennon said this: “I talked before about bringing the thunder back – it’s already here.” Just not tonight Neil, not tonight.

At yesterday’s Media Conference Lenny answered a question about the decision by the Celtic Board to ban the Green Brigade, with just a couple of days notice, from tonight’s match.

“We want the Green Brigade back ASAP – but in the right manner,” Lenny said, perhaps understanding both sides of this dispute between the Ultra- group and the club’s Directors.

“It’s fair to say we could have bought a player for that amount of money and it’s all going to UEFA.”

That one is a bit below the belt to be honest. Yes, it is wasted money, yes, a solution has to be found but you can’t just pick on the negatives without looking at what the Green Brigade bring to the club.

At last week’s Media Conference Lenny spoke about the club’s Christmas video and said he hoped that it would make a few quid for the club’s charity. By that he was talking about the music but not the retail items that are packed in and appear all through the video from books, DVDs, Onesys and of course the ‘I Wanna Be Edouard’ t-shirt that the club are selling and which came from the group of supporters banned from attending the game tonight.

There will be No Thunder right enough.

And if we only want to look at the negatives, rather than the countless great things that Neil Lennon himself has done for Celtic – and remember we were 100% behind him getting the job on a permanent basis from day 1 – then you could point out that he cost Celtic £3m by signing this guy! Maybe Peter was involved too? For every Virgil there is a Derk.

A £3m sick note.

And are we to really believe that had these fines not been imposed then the board would have saved the money to a biscuit tin, delivered to the manager and told him to go sign a new player? Or maybe it would just have gone on this corporate bonuses dished out to Peter Lawwell for hitting his financial targets including of course in retail – some of which is of course inspired by the Green Brigade?

Peter Lawwell yesterday explained his reasoning for stopping The Thunder tonight.

“Unfortunately, we’ve had to take the step of closing the first 14 rows in the standing section.

“You see a banner or you hear a song and your heart just sinks. Because that’s NOT who we are.

“It gives our enemies the opportunity to class us as the same as other clubs and portray us as two sides of the same coin, when we are not. We are different.

Lazio fans in Glasgow before heading to Celtic Park

“Over the years, in terms of UEFA, we’ve actually been fined over half a million euros now – and that can’t go on.

“We’ve had to take that action on the basis of what might happen if we don’t. We saw today that Feyenoord fans have now been banned from travelling abroad – and that would affect all our fans in terms of European travel – and they have been fined another 50,000 euros.

“We’ve had to take action in order to prevent further possible restrictive action from UEFA,” the Celtic CEO said at yesterday’s AGM, as reported by Scottish Sun.

Did this damage or enhance Celtic’s reputation?[/caption

A few points and questions, not that we expect answers. UEFA charges relate to an illicit song and an illicit banner. The song is presumably the ‘Sweary word Lazio’ one and the Green Brigade have already put their hands up and accepted responsibility for starting that particular chant.

Mr Lawwell, if you don’t think that’s who we are, a support that will stand up to those with offensive political and racist views when they are allowed to come to our Paradise, then you are badly mistaken. And from where I was in the ground – that night above the Green Brigade rather than in my usual seat in the North Stand – it looked like just about everyone was singing this particular illicit chant.

It could even be described as an anti-fascist Thunder. The Celtic Thunder even.

If there is a fine for singing this illicit chant – which was a very Celtic thing to do – then I am sure the support will be happy to pay it if breaks hearts at PLC level.

It should be recognised that this song was a one-off and UEFA really should have done something to stop their fans coming to Glasgow in the first place given their offensive views. A point worth making Peter?

[caption id="attachment_22568" align="aligncenter" width="600"] Was this the illicit banner that UEFA have cited Celtic for?

As far as the banner goes can someone please give me an answer? There were TWO banners, one from the Green Brigade and the other from The Bhoys over at the other side of the ground. Both banners were controversial. Was it both that UEFA objected to, or just the Green Brigade’s? Surely the other one was much more CRUDE?

Or was it this one at the top corner of the Jock Stein stand?

If UEFA have a problem with that one and not the Green Brigade’s banner then given there were no flares at that game (and flares need to stop or they need to sell the Aussie Rules alternative solution to Celtic) then all that they are guilty of is starting a song with a four letter sweary word.

Remember when Neil Lennon got done by the Scottish FA for using the exact same word and Celtic were outraged? No other manager has been charged with that particular offence before or since to my knowledge.

But tonight there will be No Thunder at Celtic Park and that is a great shame. Please sort it out asap.

PS Apologies to Lenny for mentioning Derk!

Finally, watch this from May 2011 and especially the last comments from the Celtic manager to the crowd and our club and support and contrasting with his final remarks about others in Scottish football “need to have a good look at themselves in the mirror.”

About Author

The Celtic Star founder and editor, who has edited numerous Celtic books over the past decade or so including several from Lisbon Lions, Willie Wallace, Tommy Gemmell and Jim Craig. Earliest Celtic memories include a win over East Fife at Celtic Park and the 4-1 League Cup loss to Partick Thistle as a 6 year old. Best game? Easy 4-2, 1979 when Ten Men Won the League. Email editor@thecelticstar.co.uk

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