Celtic, Sport and the Attempted Depoliticisation of Collective Space

by Alister Wedderburn

Parkhead, Glasgow, 26 November 2013: as Celtic and AC Milan run through the formalities before kick-off, one corner of the grand, sold-out stadium begins to unfurl a series of banners. They are in the section occupied by the Green Brigade, the home side’s ‘ultra’ group, and even by the immoderate standards of Glasgow’s football-centric sectarianism, [1] they are provocative. There is a portrait of William Wallace, and another of Bobby Sands, the IRA soldier and 1981 hunger striker. Accompanying them is a lyric from ‘Terrorist or Dreamer’ by Provisional IRA commander-turned-songwriter Bik McFarlane, Sands’ commanding officer in the Maze prison. [2]

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