Celtic fans risked further backlash by hijacking a one-minute applause for Queen Elizabeth II before their match against St Mirren on Sunday. Hoops supporters had already made their feelings known against Shakhtar Donetsk on Wednesday, with a banner that saw them charged by UEFA.
There were fears that Celtic fans would launch another anti-Monarchy protest in the lead-up to Sunday’s fixture. As such, a planned one-minute silence was changed to a one-minute applause in the hope that the clapping would drown out anticipated boos.
But supporters hijacked the tribute with loud chants of ‘If you hate the Royal Family, clap your hands’ that rang around St Mirren Park despite others’ best efforts to overpower the noise with applause.
Celtic supporters also unfurled an offensive banner carrying the same message as Sky Sports commentator Ian Crocker was forced to apologise on behalf of the broadcaster, saying: “Apologies if you were offended by anything you might have heard. Most people showed respect, some did not.”
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The incident came just days after BT Sport were also forced to apologse after honing in on a Celtic banner which read: “F*** THE CROWN.” A silence was initially planned before the tie with Shakhtar but a pre-match meeting saw UEFA scrap the tributes altogether.
With tension building in the days prior to Celtic’s Scottish Premiership match at St Mirren, manager Ange Postecoglou called on supporters to abide by protocol. “I have the same message to our fans that we always have,” he told reporters. “As I said before the game [against Shakhtar], we will abide by the protocols.
“We wore black armbands on Wednesday night. I think there’s a minute’s applause [on Sunday], we will abide by whatever obligations and responsibilities we have as a football club. We will do that in a respectful manner. We want our supporters to do the same.”
Celtic’s bitter rivals, Rangers, also took a risk with UEFA but adopted a different approach to their Royal tribute after the Queen’s death last week. They defied a ruling made by European football’s governing body by belting out the national anthem before their midweek clash against Napoli, despite seeing a request to do so rejected.
UEFA opted against opening disciplinary proceedings against the Gers but did so against Celtic for their offensive banner display. The Hoops ended up returning to Scotland with a 1-1 draw from their game with Shakhtar, while Rangers were well beaten by Napoli.
Postecoglou’s side went into Sunday’s clash with St Mirren protecting an unbeaten league record, with a remarkable 25 goals scored and just one conceded over their first six matches of the campaign.