Opinion – The Green Brigade: Praised by the world, banned by the club

The Green Brigade: Praised by the world, banned by Celtic…

Almost two weeks ago, I gave my opinion on Celtic suspending the Green Brigade’s access to away tickets. I had been asking the question, “is there more punishment to come?”, and it would appear that I was right to ask, as the club have now taken things a step further.

Season ticket holders associated with the Green Brigade were sent the following email on the evening of the 31st of October: “We are writing to advise that due to repeated incidents of unacceptable conduct involving the ‘Green Brigade’ group, the Club has suspended the season tickets of all season ticket holders who have registered with the Ticket Office as being part of this group, pending further review and communication with the group and/or the supporters in question regarding compliance with the Ground Regulations, the Rail Seating Safety Code of Conduct, and Club communications, moving forward.”

The email continued by saying: “The safety of all supporters at Celtic Park is of paramount importance and amid these serious safety concerns, this immediate action whilst regrettable, is considered by the Club to be necessary.”

The Green Brigade have since responded, saying: “In recent weeks, Celtic supporters have proudly stood in solidarity with the Palestinian people, while the PLC board adopt a position closer to the far-right British Government, with similar attempts to censor and sanction Palestinian solidarity. As the death toll in Gaza nears 10,000, including almost 4,000 children – the PLC board have shamed Celtic Football Club with their conduct.

Celtic v St Mirren – cinch Premiership – Celtic Park Peter Lawwell centre in the stands during the cinch Premiership match at Celtic Park,  Wednesday November 1, 2023. Photo Andrew Milligan

“It is undeniable that the sanctions imposed against those affiliated with the Green Brigade are a result of the group’s unapologetic solidarity with Palestine. The sanctions applied, most notably collective bans, are evidently unfair; bereft of policy, process and communication with individuals wrongfully being punished before receiving any allegation, any evidence nor any right of defence.

“While we expect any fair-minded person will see through the flimsy litany of allegations (shamefully attempting to use fan media and national press to do bidding on their behalf) there are some which we would like to address.

Celtic’s Japanese striker #08 Kyogo Furuhashi (L) celebrates after scoring his team first goal during the UEFA Champions League group E football match between Celtic and Atletico Madrid at Celtic Park  on October 25, 2023.  (Photo by ANDY BUCHANAN/AFP via Getty Images)

“As an ultras group, known for boisterous support and creativity, we occasionally breach the assorted regulations which are in place to sterilise football stadiums. Whether it be an anti-fascist banner against Lazio or Palestine flags against Atletico Madrid, we have no regrets in by-passing stadium security checks to produce displays which are clearly welcomed by the Celtic support as well as audiences from much farther afield. We categorically deny sinister and defamatory allegations of “breaking in” and “intimidating, threatening and abusive behaviour towards staff”.

“It is laughable that “unsafe behaviour” is being alleged of the Green Brigade at Saturday’s match at Hibernian, given Celtic officials were complicit in the widely-criticised security operation on the approach to the stadium which compromised the safety of our supporters. From erecting steel pens around the standing section which were later removed in interest of supporter safety, to actively encouraging pyrotechnic use at specific fixtures as means of protest at certain domestic kick off times, senior Celtic officials have repeatedly discredited their authority in this area. In the meantime, the club have instructed us not to liaise with the Supporter Liaison Officer, ironically against UEFA’s SLO guidance.”

The ban comes a week after Celtic Park was a sea of Palestine flags as fans of the club showed their support. Hugh Keevins had his say on the flying of the flag, saying that: “The politicisation of a football club by a group who have hijacked Celtic for their own purposes needs to be resisted on behalf of the silent majority.”

If Hugh Keevins is right and a single group have hijacked Celtic for their own political motives, then why do thousands of others around the ground agree with them? The views they are supporting aren’t extreme and the people I see trying to silence them are more than happy to sing ‘Let The People Sing’ before every home game.

If we’re claiming that politics shouldn’t be part of football, why were members of the British armed forces abseiling from Ibrox at the end of September? I don’t remember Keevins having much to say then.

Let’s focus on the club themselves, and specifically whoever has claimed that other fans feel unsafe around the Green Brigade. As a Celtic fan myself and someone who regularly speaks to other fans, lots of them with different opinions and views from myself, Police Scotland have made us feel more unsafe than the Green Brigade ever could.

Let’s take our Champions League clash against Lazio for example. The police set up roadblocks and diversions that night, claiming that Lazio fans were the cause. If that was truly the case, then why were the Celtic fans made to feel like the villains?

Following on from the police issues before the match, Police Scotland also had a hand in restricting the flow of fans exiting the stadium. They responded to this, saying: “The issues of the Police vehicles in Janefield Street was noted at the time and clearly restricted the flow rate of exiting spectators. The vehicles had been involved in an external operation and unusually became located in Janefield Street east just prior to the exiting phase. The Police decision was not to attempt to move the vehicles while the pedestrian traffic was high on the grounds of safety. This did result in a slow exit for fans.”

The issues that night were so bad that the matter was raised to Celtic’s Head of Safety and Security and had to be included in the post-match debrief due to the sheer amount of complaints.

With all of the above being said, while an outright ban on an entire section of the support isn’t right, we need to take into consideration the reasons stated by Celtic. It’s not right to abuse any matchday staff who are simply at the game to do their job. Any individual in the ground, Green Brigade associate or otherwise, should be punished for such behaviour. The entire group should not.

I am certainly of the belief that the Green Brigade have been singled out for their Palestine support, as this is all too well-timed for my liking.

Let me make this very clear, I completely agree with the stance that football supporters have the right to express their political beliefs, and even though the board may not agree with this stance, they need to remember what our club was built on.

Celtic v St Mirren – cinch Premiership – Celtic Park A fan in the stands holds a Palestine flag ahead of the cinch Premiership match at Celtic Park,  Wednesday November 1, 2023. Photo Andrew Milligan

The decision to ban the Green Brigade is utterly disgraceful, and one that has caused even more divide between the fans and the board. Ultimately, football without the fans is nothing, so why are we removing a group of them from the beautiful game?

Jessica Elliott

About Author

I'm a student journalist and Celtic supporter. I'm delighted to have been recently appointed women's football writer for The Celtic Star, where the coverage of the Celtic FC Women's team has been incredible and unrivalled over the past three seasons.


  1. You very easily gloss over that some of their banners have been distasteful, and offensive. If they are going to display views there has to be some moderation and balance.

    Their politics border on the extreme and there is a large element of wanting to be controversial and provocative .

    This is not a public forum , by all means take your protest to the street .

    And there is a large Ned element involved ,intimidation and hooliganism . We are well rid .

    • The extreme political views at Celtic are the ones held by the right wing tories running the club. Labelling fans that collect massive amounts for food banks and charities is a bit of a joke. Like the right wing in the USA and Britain our board is creating big splits in their base. If anyone is abusing staff then the culprits should be punished not the whole group. Its like the brits rounding everyone up in my country and punishing everyone with internment so they can get the few. Our tory board disgust me. They continually fail to stand up against injustice, and let’s be honest more than 1 of them grew up Rangers fans.

      • It’s the Celtic support that raises these huge amounts for the hungry and the homeless, these wee scrotes just hold the buckets and take the credit.

        Like all large groups of individuals, there are a wide range of views, political leanings and opinions among our support. Most of us know how to behave in public, most of us don’t cost the club hundreds of thousands of pounds in fines, most of us don’t assault stadium staff, most of us don’t open exit & fire gates to let our pals in and risk our stadium license, most of us don’t threaten and intimidate fellow Celts at away games.

        The job of our board is to run the club in adherence with the rules. Rules laid out by GCC, by UEFA and by the police. It is not their job to pander to a few hundred wee boys who think they represent Celtic. We were fine for over a hundred years before these wee boys were even born. We’ll still do OK without them putting our club and our team at risk now 5hey’re gone.

        If they grow up and act like Celtic supporters, then they’ll be welcomed back. You think they could manage that?

        • Hear hear! Well said. Wee boys who have tae act hard in a group are always pathetic wee cowards on their own. “Ultras” smfh when did this word start tae be used & accepted by everyone? It WAS “casuals” .. but, now they’re “ultras” 🤷‍♂️😂 feckin hilarious! As if they’re just so very special .. & they actually think that holdin up a banner or two is gonnae dae what in Israel & Palestine? Dae they actually think they’re fightin some actual battle? If they all feel so strongly they should go over & fight & gie us all peace. They can show just how tough they really are by runnin back & forward, throwin a chair or two & tryin tae pick off some poor cant on their own & make up a big hard man story aboot it later in the pub. Pathetic. Wee scared boys that think they’re big men, not realisin how everyone is laughin at them. Ultras .. sound like tampons, but tampons are mare useful!

  2. Pathetic article. Have you ever experienced the aggressive and intimidating behaviour from the GB at hampden or away games? This has little to do with waving Palestinian flags and instead more to do with a small group of ultras that think they define and represent Celtic and think they are above the law and should be treated differently than everyone else

  3. Stephen Higgins on

    If you want to make a difference politically become a MSP. The ban is not just about the Palstine flags, pretty sure 99% of Celtic fans are heart broken about the slaughter in Israel and now 100 fold in Gaza. It has been consistent fine after fine and now trying to let fans into the stadiums etc, pure idiocy. I would have took all their season tickets of them after they stopped treating club legends with the respect they deserve. What Neil Lennon endured from our spoiled ( we should win everything) brats was disgusting. Time for them to grow up, support the club and all our players. Just my opinion!

  4. What a great article Jessica ! and John c , the Green Brigade bring passion and sound to the match day , you are sounding like the rantings of the celtic board puppet James Forrest in his blogs

  5. Jessica conveniently glossing over the fact that multiple fan surveys have shown that the majority, over 50%, support the club’s decision. These wee coked-up so-called ultras support themselves, not the club. I don’t care what their political or social beliefs are, I probably agree with most of their views, but that’s not the point. They need to grow up and realise that they are putting everyone’s ability to watch our club at risk. Last season, Glasgow City Council’s Safety Advisory Group, who licence the stadium to open for spectators, wrote with “concerns regarding the conduct of certain spectators located within the north-east curve area”. Because these wee neds can’t act like grown ups, we have to report to the Safety Advisory Group after every home game.
    This season, they’ve only got worse. They’ve assaulted ground staff, they’ve opened exit gates to let others in. If we let these wee fannies carry on, we’ll lose our license and nobody will be allowed in.
    These are just some of the reasons for the ban that the GB and folk like Jessica can’t accept.

    They grasp on to the Palestine issue like a baby’s comfort blanket, hiding from reality. This is just a distraction, nothing more. They have no understanding of what is really happening in Israel & Gaza. They see only one side, and spout their ill-informed invective at our ground. Fine, be outraged, be appalled, I know I certainly am. But here’s the thing. I’m equally appalled by the terrorism and murder committed by both sides, and I’m grown up enough to know that watching Celtic at Celtic Park is not the right venue to vent.

    They risk our license, they cost the club hundreds of thousands of pounds in fines, yet like all infants, they continue with their tantrums. Imagine if the club said ‘fuckit’, were not paying, and passed the inevitable UEFA bill onto these wee babies. Think they would take responsibility for their own actions?

    Until they grow up and support our club, they can stay away. Grow up, and they’ll be welcomed back…

  6. Thomas Davidson on

    This article is unbalanced and even deluded. I have seldom agreed with Hugh Keevins ‘s views but he was spot on this time. If anything the board has indulged the Green Brigade, which to my mind has simply used Celtic, and ordinary supporters, for its own ends. It’s time to face reality: the Green Brigade doesn’t attend Celtic Park in order to cheer our club on, it does so to promote its own agenda. For too long the Green Brigade has been subject to different rules from the rest of us, which I resent. I also resent the Green Brigade’s claims to speak on behalf of other fans. The Green Brigade is responsible for too much that is bad, and that has brought Celtic’s name into disrepute. I have come to think that the collections for food banks, etc., are no more than a fig leaf to cover the Green Brigade’s actings, which are mostly despicable.

  7. People have to remember Celtic is a business, The green brigade (on top of all the fines already imposed by UEFA) for their protests, would lead to stadium closure, that is why they are banned, nothing like this has a place in football.. just come & support the team ffs

    there are over 60,000 in there every other week.. how many GB banned?

    they are the minority & should be treated as such


  8. Seamus O’Gallchobhair on

    The Green Brigade have been banned by the PLC because the PLC fear a loss of revenue from advertising, sponsorship, and ultimately, the loss of UEFA competition involvement. The issue has also unintentionally, regretfully, but none the less actually, led to the unsettling of a key player, Liel Abada. I can’t understand why the PLC can’t simply explain away their valid reasons with a vague statement to this effect rather than the lame charge sheet given in the press release which in many cases suggests collective blame for individual discretions unrelated to the obvious reason and timing of the ban on this occasion.
    I’m 100% behind the Green Brigade in the majority of their politics and passionately so in relation to their highlighting of the situation in the West Bank and Gaza over the last few decades. The way they go about espousing their political ideologies, however, lacks astuteness at times and in fact undermines the football clubs mission as a whole, much in the same way that the PLCs silence and appeasement approach to corruption, injustice, and lack of integrity within Scottish football leaves us at a disadvantage before each season even starts, year upon year for the last 130. Where is the PLCs protest in reply this big, bitter elephant in the room as an example of disparity of the highlighting of harm to the club?

    The PLC and the Green Brigade are in fact uncomfortable bed fellows. Each is championing their own agenda to the detriment of the overall health of the club. The corporate-god-fearing PLC are taking fans for-granted in their pursuit of the fabled bank-balance-in-the-black when the club, which has become a provincial player on the european stage, post-champions league era, is more than ever nothing, and i mean nothing, without the fans.
    For their part the Green Brigade must likewise bring their focus back front and centre to the support the team on the park and respectfully earn the right to use the public platform offered by their support of a very famous snd successful football team to put their political views across. The platform for the former is dependent on the latter and always has been. The success of the club on the park is paramount and both the PLC and the Green Brigade have lost this focus i’d argue with their blinkered, laser-focussed agendas of late.
    As Celtic fans all, lets all get back to putting the 11 Celtic players on the park front and centre and our other individual passions will surely bare fruit too.

    Keep the faith
    Hail Hail.

  9. Disgruntled Celtic Fan on


    Bet you didn’t expect to be absolutely roasted for your ignorant views by the “silent majority” did you Jessica?

    Your blatant revisionism and ignoring of facts show you up as just another sycophantic imbecile, happy to have bunch of neds try and dictate what celtic is.

    The GB raised a banner in support of a terrorist group mere hours after 1400 innocent men, women and children were murdered. That banner was not about the people of palestine – “Victory to the resistance”….who murdered babies, raped women, tortured, beheaded innocent civilians while screaming “Allahu Akbar”. Killed entire families. Kidnapped 200 ppl and held them hostage.

    Now its been proven they shoved babies into ovens and tore open a pregnant womans belly and skewered her baby. “Victory to the resistance”? Go fuck yourself and anyone else who supports these butchers.

    Flying the flag of a recognised terrorist group at the Athletico Madrid game? The Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine and its militant wing (Abu Ali Mustapha Brigades) are terrorist scum who want to wipe Israel off the map and have been involved in plane hijackings, assassinations, suicide bombings, and the likes of the November 2014 Jerusalem synagogue massacre in which four Jewish worshippers and a policeman were killed with axes, knives, and a gun.

    Illegally using flares and pyrotechnics?

    Disturbances at away venues? 

    Breaking into celtic park and allowing their scummy mates in by opening fire escapes?

    Costing the club hundreds of thousands in fines by UEFA?

    Risking part closure of the stadium?

    Overcrowding an area within celtic park, with their mates coming from other parts of the stadium making it dangerous?

    Forcing their extremist nonsense on celtic and shaming the club?

    “But they do charity work” to deflect away from the fact they have cost the club more fines and censure from UEFA.

    BUT BUT BUT….but NOTHING. Get these clowns away from celtic park and stick their whataboutery right up their self important ars*s

    They do NOT represent the beliefs or values of the celtic support, and after your idiotic PR exercise of an article its very clear you don’t either