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Last Updated: Tuesday, 20 November 2007, 18:16 GMT
Celtic Trust in IRA war of words
Celtic chairman John Reid
The Celtic Trust was opposed to John Reid's appointment
A Celtic supporters' trust chief who defended the singing of pro-IRA songs by fans has been described as unrepresentative by the football club.

Jeanette Findlay, chair of the Celtic Trust, said chants about the IRA were "songs from a war of independence going back over a hundred years".

She was speaking on BBC Radio 5 Live's breakfast programme.

But a club spokeswoman said: "These comments are totally unrepresentative of the Celtic support."

Ms Findlay's comments came a day after her organisation opposed the appointment of John Reid as Celtic chairman because of the former Cabinet Minister's role during the war in Iraq.

And it came on the day when Scotland's First Minister, Alex Salmond, joined the 12 Scottish Premier League clubs in launching a month of action in the Kick-Out Bigotry campaign.

What history tells us is that it is facile to say that politics and sport will ever be separated

Jeanette Findlay

"There are around 27,500 Celtic shareholders," said Celtic's statement.

"We believe that Ms Findlay claims to speak for only around 200 of these - a very, very small minority - as yesterday's 99.1% vote in favour of Dr Reid's appointment as chairman clearly underlines.

"We are delighted with the way in which our fans currently support the team."

Ms Findlay is a research fellow and economics lecturer at Glasgow University and co-director of Glasgow University Football Research Centre, where she has been involved in setting up a post-graduate course in sport and public policy.

Findlay told BBC presenter Nicky Campbell that the trust's opposition to Reid's appointment was because of his "leading role in relation to what many believe is an illegal and immoral war".

Campbell said that people who had relatives murdered by the IRA might find songs about the organisation equally as offensive.

Findlay claimed that Celtic "was founded to help the poor Irish immigrants to Scotland" and that many of their descendants still supported the club.


"They may take a particular view of the history of what happened in Ireland which is different from many other people, so I don't call those pro-terrorist songs," said the chair of the organisation pressing for fan representation on Celtic's board.

"What history tells us is that it is facile to say that politics and sport will ever be separated.

"Throughout history, sporting events are used as means of expressing political views or political identities."

Celtic Supporters Association spokesman Jim Divers said his organisation opposed any offensive add-ons to chants.

"We will continue to support the club's many on-going anti-sectarianism initiatives, which are backed by the vast majority of supporters," he told the Evening Times.

A Scottish government spokeswoman said of Ms Findlay's comments: "Her repugnant views have no place in a modern, forward-thinking Scotland.

"The people of Scotland have had enough of bigotry."

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