Livingston threaten ban on banners and flags after unauthorised Green Brigade tifo

Livingston FC today released a statement about the Green Brigade’s outstanding tifo displays at the Tony Macaroni stadium on Sunday afternoon after the Celtic support filled three sides of their stadium.

The West Lothian side complain that while they gave permission to the Easter Rising tifo they did not agree to the second display which read: “Hold on to our title Bhoys, don’t give up the dream’. And they also had a moan about a group of school children from the United States turning up on an arranged trip wearing Celtic colours.

Presumably they must reckon that the Livingston support in bigger across the pond that it is in Livingston, although that wouldn’t be hard. Here’s what Livingston FC have had to say about the outstanding visual effects from the Green Brigade on Easter Sunday, via their official website:

Club Statement – Celtic Game

“There were a number of issues which arose before and during Sunday’s match with Celtic which we, as a club, feel we need to address.

“Prior to this fixture, a visiting supporters group called “The Green Brigade”, via the Celtic SLO, requested a Tifo display in all three stands allocated to the Celtic support and to have a banner displayed along the front of the East Stand. The banner was to read “You Play for Us and We’ll Sing for You”.

“This request was refused and instead, permission was granted for a Tifo and banner display in the South Stand only.

“This matter was discussed at the pre-match meeting, held in the week leading up to the match, where representatives from the club, Celtic FC, Amberstone (our steward company) and a delegate from the SPFL were all present. The agreement for a Tifo and banner display in the South Stand was understood by all in attendance.

“On match-day around an hour prior to kick off, a further request for a Tifo display in all three stands was requested by the same visiting supporters group and was again refused.

“Against the instruction of the club and police, the banner was allowed into the ground, unchecked, through an emergency gate that was opened due to safety concerns. The banner was then displayed along the front of the East Stand – again, against the agreed procedure.

“It was then deemed that this banner and the Tifo display would be allowed to continue on the grounds of public safety for those in the ground and to prevent further disorder that may have delayed the kick off or jeopardised the game going ahead.

“At the start of second half a further unapproved banner was then unfurled. The banner itself wasn’t an issue as such however, again, visiting supporters were permitted access trackside to display the banner which is wholly and utterly unacceptable.

“Full discussions are ongoing with external partners who were working at the stadium on Sunday to find out why a number of these incidents were allowed to happen and what steps will be taken to ensure there is no repeat in future fixtures. Going forward, it may well be that no banners or flags at all, of any nature, will be permitted in to the ground as an immediate way of preventing this but this will be discussed in full to ensure an outcome which prevents a repeat at future fixtures.”

Celtic supporters commemorated the Easter Rising in a display before kick-off with a display featuring the lyrics from Freedom’s Sons alongside the faces of seven prominent figures – who were executed for their involvement – in the Irish uprising against British rule.

The major display – which featured the faces of Patrick Pearse, James Connolly, Tom Clarke, Seán Mac Diarmada, Joseph Plunkett, Éamonn Ceannt and Thomas MacDonagh – read: “Born into slavery they were freedom’s sons”.

Celtic supporters then revealed a second display against Livingston ahead of the second half. A green display with yellow text read: “Hold on to our title Bhoys, don’t give up the dream.”

Yellow and green smoke bombs were also set off amongst the visiting support with smoke covering the stand behind Joe Hart’s goal for the second half.

Livingston also explained an issue with a school group travelling from America for the match who were seated in the home section – despite some members of the group sporting away colours.

The club had no knowledge of the intention for any of the group to wear away colours but could not move the group due to a full away section already. The group co-operated to remove Celtic colours in the home section after a discussion with the Livingston safety team.

“One final point, we were contacted a long time ago from a school group travelling over from America for the Easter weekend and they were looking to take in games on Saturday and Sunday and resultantly, had asked about coming to our game. Given the nature of the visit, we had no reason to believe it may consist of some opposition supporters and at no point was this communicated to us by the company organising the trip.

“On arrival, some of the group were in away colours but given the away allocation of tickets was sold out, there was no options available to move the group to the away section. However, after our safety team spoke with the group, and home supporters around them, the group did remove colours and remained in place in the home end and made reference to how welcomed they were made by home supporters in and around where they were seated. We thank the supporters in the areas C1, C2 and C3 for their understanding on this and for making the group feel welcomed despite the initial misunderstanding.

“All in all, certainly a disappointing day on all fronts relating to the above issues. We’re well aware that certain elements on the day weren’t acceptable and whilst conversations will be happening with all partners involved, we’ll also be having further discussions internally as to how we can attempt to reduce the number of concerns on these games.

“We appreciate the frustrations from our own supporters on these events and absolutely share that sentiment.”

Livingston are rooted at the bottom of the Scottish Premiership and will need a minor miracle to avoid relegation to the Championship. Therefore they’ll have more to worry them than the Green Brigade’s tifo displays.

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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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