Livingston claim Celtic fans broke agreement over Easter Rising display

Livingston have claimed that Celtic fans broke their pre-match agreements with their Easter Rising display on Sunday.

The two teams walked onto the pitch ahead of their Scottish Premiership clash to a backdrop of a tifo display of the Irish tricolour and a pitchside banner which depicted prominent figures from the 1916 Easter Rising, an armed revolt against British rule in Ireland, which read: “Born into slavery, they were Freedom’s Sons”.

Livingston say they rejected a request from Celtic fan group The Green Brigade, via the club’s supporters’ liaison officer, for a display in front of the East Stand, but approved one for the South Stand only. They say the banner was to read: “You Play For Us And We’ll Sing For You”.

On matchday, a further request for a tifo and banner display was made for all three stands, which was rejected by Livingston.

The club claim that against their instruction, and that of the police, the banner was allowed into the ground, unchecked, through an emergency gate that was opened “due to safety concerns”. The banner was then displayed along the front of the East Stand of the Tony Macaroni Arena.

Livingston say “it was then deemed that this banner and tifo display would be allowed to continue on the grounds of public safety”.

At the start of the second half a “further unapproved banner” was then unfurled, which read: “Hold on to our title Bhoys, don’t give up the dream”. Livingston say “visiting supporters were permitted access trackside to display the banner which is wholly and utterly unacceptable”.

Sky Sports News has contacted Celtic for comment.

In addition to this, Livingston admitted that they gave home tickets to a group of Celtic supporters from the United States. They said they were contacted by “a school group travelling over from America for the Easter weekend”.

The club’s statement read: “Given the nature of the visit, we had no reason to believe it may consist of some opposition supporters and at no point was this communicated to us by the company organising the trip.

“On arrival, some of the group were in away colours but given the away allocation of tickets was sold out, there was no options available to move the group to the away section.

“However, after our safety team spoke with the group, and home supporters around them, the group did remove colours and remained in place in the home end and made reference to how welcomed they were made by home supporters in and around where they were seated.

“We thank the supporters in the areas C1, C2 and C3 for their understanding on this and for making the group feel welcomed despite the initial misunderstanding.”

Livingston are now in discussions with their external partners about the incidents on Sunday.

Their statement added: “Full discussions are ongoing with external partners who were working at the stadium on Sunday to find out why a number of these incidents were allowed to happen and what steps will be taken to ensure there is no repeat in future fixtures.

“Going forward, it may well be that no banners or flags at all, of any nature, will be permitted in to the ground as an immediate way of preventing this but this will be discussed in full to ensure an outcome which prevents a repeat at future fixtures.”

Celtic beat Livingston 3-0 on Sunday to leapfrog Rangers at the top of the Scottish Premiership by one point.

The Glasgow rivals will meet at Ibrox this Sunday, live on Sky Sports.

Source : Sky Sports