WE’RE almost two weeks into 2016 and with just two games down it’s been a somewhat explosive year already, if you’ll excuse the pun.
A late winner for Leigh Griffiths against Partick Thistle saw the Bhoys just about nab three points at Parkhead in their first game of the calendar year.
Then there was the three-goal thriller the weekend just passed as Celtic progressed into the next round of the Scottish Cup after comfortably beating Stranraer.
On the pitch, it hasn’t been the worst start to 2016, and there have been some promising signs that the board are possibly looking to invest in a few January signings, which will be welcomed by the Celtic support.
Obviously, the media in Scotland have been all over the story of the use of pyrotechnics (that’s flares/smoke bombs to you and me) by a section of Celtic supporters at Sunday’s game at Stair Park.
— Ronnie Esplin (@RonnieEsplin) January 10, 2016
Fans took to social media to discuss their views on it and Celtic were quick to come out with a statement on the issue, saying they had “identified three individuals connected with the use of pyrotechnics”.
They were clear on the fact that the “individuals will be suspended indefinitely from attending Celtic matches and the club’s investigations will continue”. Many welcomed the statement from the club, who branded the people involved as an “embarrassment to Celtic and our supporters” while others condemned their hypocrisy as they remain tight-lipped on other issues affecting supporters of the club.
For example, there’s enough posts on Twitter to suggest that many law-abiding Celtic supporters endure the wrath of the authorities, because of the minority who fail to behave themselves. Why should everyone suffer? Yet the club refuse to acknowledge or defend those who are a credit to the club.
Celtic fans call for an end to the criminalisation of supporters through the Offensive Behaviour at Football Act https://t.co/wy1Z75PEQU
— When Saturday Comes (@WSC_magazine) January 11, 2016
I wish Celtic took them same stance against police who harass us, treat us like scum, film us, threaten us, as they do to their own fans.
— Stephen McGinn (@Steph67Lisboa) January 12, 2016
Celtic’s fans are constantly victimised and under scrutiny from the police and media. Fact.
— Jordan Turner (@JordanTurner67) January 11, 2016
From now on when Celtic go away from home ,deck out all the buses in Ajax colours and the police will turn a blind eye 🍀🇮🇪🇮🇪🇮🇪🍀🇮🇪🇮🇪🍀🇮🇪🍀🍀🇮🇪🇮🇪
— JungleLion (@JungleLion_) January 10, 2016
There are other issues too, such as the verbal abuse fans put up with from opposition fans, which has been described by victims as xenophobic. The board are always quick to condemn, but not so quick to defend their own.
I’m aware there are people at the club who are not happy with recent events and also fans who have voiced their problems with ‘pyro’ activity at games, all of which I completely understand. However, like many other supporters, I would like to see similarly prompt action taken with other issues that affect our supporters week-in-week-out.
Smoke-bombs, flares, pyro – whatever you want to call it – the story has been covered in depth over the last few days and I’m sure many readers have their own opinions on it – you only have to log onto Twitter to see the divided views. Many of which, might I add, make fair and valid points.
To be quite honest, I’m surprised at just how these supporters managed to get them into the ground given the number of buses searched on the way down to the game on Sunday.
Wonder how much today’s policing operation to stop every Celtic supporters bus going to the game and search it thoroughly cost…
— Zeyn (@GreenZeyn) January 10, 2016
On the field, the game itself was saw Celtic win 3-0 thanks to goals from new cult hero Carlton Cole, while Leigh Griffiths struck once in each half and almost scored a third with a remarkable volley.
The draw for the next round of the Scottish Cup saw Celtic paired with East Kilbride or Lothian Thistle Hutchison Vale, both non-league clubs in the last 16.
Celtic remain in all competitions in Scotland and this game will be welcomed by manager Ronny Deila, who is still on course for a domestic treble. Should he manage that, he will be the first manager to do so since Martin O’Neill back in 2001.
I’ve criticised him in the past, but considering the limited squad of players available to him, he should be massively credited if he can pull off the feat – each of the poor recent performances can’t all be blamed on him.
Some of these players really aren’t doing what they should be on the pitch and with the whispers of new talent on its way to Celtic Park this January, all we can hope for is an improvement in their game and, therefore, a better year in 2016.