Police Ban Flags, Banners From Celtic-St. Johnstone Boxing Day Match
Flags and banners "have been barred" from Scottish Premiership side Celtic's Boxing Day game at St. Johnstone "because police fear another fireworks display," according to Hugh Keevins of the Scotland DAILY RECORD. On Sunday, "insiders" stressed that the "reason for the ban was to prevent supporters sneaking in flares and smoke bombs, rather than a reaction to the Green Brigade's controversial William Wallace/Bobby Sands banner in the Champions League clash with AC Milan." A section of Celtic supporters "caused mayhem at Motherwell" on Dec. 6 when they "let off 18 smoke bombs, three fireworks and a flare, with banners and flags said to shield the culprits." Thursday's match in Perth will be a "calendar year to the day since the Celtic fans were heavily criticised for their serious misbehaviour at Dens Park." Police in Perth on Sunday stated that "a repeat of any bother could result in prison time rather than family time for any offenders at McDiarmid Park." Police Superintendent Kevin Lynch said, "Those attending the game, as well as the local community, can rest assured we'll deal effectively with any incidents and put offenders before the courts. That could mean a spell in custody for offenders at a time when I’m sure they’d prefer to be with friends and family" (DAILY RECORD, 12/23).