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Champions League qualifier not the place for political protest

We have to wait and see what UEFA decide with regards to the Palestinian flags that were on display at Celtic Park on Wednesday night; but let’s be straight – there are bampots who are hellbent on getting the club into serious bother.

And before anyone starts on political causes and freedom of speech, I understand. Everyone is entitled to their own political opinions but what I don’t understand is not picking the right place to express them.

I have spoken in support of the Green Brigade at times because I think they have re-energised the atmosphere in the ground and they firmly get behind the team. But too often I think that a football match isn’t the place to air a certain political agenda.

I have always said that the guys who sit with the Green Brigade are not bigger or more ardent supporters of Celtic than any other punter who pays their money and goes to back the team. They need to be there to support the club and not damage the reputation of it.

At one stage a fine and a slap on the wrist is going to be deemed insufficient and a weightier sanction will be handed out. The closure of a stand would be a nightmare for Celtic but that is the way that this seems to be headed.

If the club are appealing for supporters to keep the protest outside the ground and other supporters are requesting that the club’s name is not back in the dock, then is it not time to listen?

The Israeli/Palestinian conflict is one that has raged for 2000 years. I am not saying that supporters do not have the right to stand up for injustice, merely that there is a time and a place to do so.

With the club amassing fines from 11 different European matches since 2007, there is a time when the punishment is going to move up a gear – and that is when it will really damage the club.

If they draw a Real Madrid or a Barcelona, if they are successful in making the group stages of the UEFA Champions League, the spotlight will well and truly be on Celtic and there will be no escaping the gaze of the governing body.

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