Anti-Irish banners were hoisted during the UEFA Champions League soccer match between Celtic FC and SS Lazio in Rome last night, Tuesday, November 28.
Photos circulating on social media show one group of people outside the stadium holding a banner that read: “Did the Fenian b-----ds take shower today?”
Another said: “Celtic Pedophile Club.”
One banner unfurled by fans inside the stadium said: “The Famine is over. Go home f---ing potato eaters."
Though based in Glasgow, Celtic FC was started in 1887 to raise money for poor Irish immigrant families in Scotland, and the Irish influence is still felt today.
Lazio banners against Celtic this evening pic.twitter.com/ME7HJanwGH— FootballAwaydays (@Awaydays23) November 28, 2023
Celtic ultimately lost 2-0 to Lazio in the match that was played in Rome's Stadio Olimpico Tour.
According to Irish News, supporters of the two clubs have a long history of animosity towards each other, with hard-core Lazio “ultra” fans often linked to the far right.
Celtic's "ultra" Green Brigade fans, however, are more linked to the anti-fascist movement.
On October 25, UEFA confirmed that it was fining Celtic FC for "lighting of fireworks" (€3,500) and "provocative message of an offensive nature" (€20,000) following an October 4 against Lazio in Glasgow.
Ahead of the October 4 match, a collective that represents Celtic fans said: "We have a duty not only to rally our team but to make our home a hostile environment for Lazio and their extreme-right hordes."
According to the Glasgow Times, a banner emerged that featured several messages, some in English and some in Italian, with the main part reading "Antifascist Glasgow Celtic."
Smaller text on the inner circle of the display said 'Brigate Verde,' and 'Lazio vaffanculo,' which translate to 'Green Brigade' and 'Lazio f*** off.'
PHOTO "Antifascist Glasgow Celtic"October 4, 2023
Later, on November 10, Celtic was again fined by UEFA for incidents during the October 25 match in Glasgow against Club Atlético de Madrid - Blocking of public passageways (€8,000), lighting of fireworks (€3,500), and provocative message of an offensive nature (€17,500).
According to Reuters, Celtic fans had been warned by the Scottish club not to display flags before the October 25 game but could be heard singing "You'll Never Walk Alone" while holding the Palestinian flags in a video shared widely on Instagram.
Supporters also unfurled two large banners at Celtic Park that read "Free Palestine" and "Victory to the Resistance."
"We ask that banners, flags and symbols relating to the conflict and those countries involved in it are not displayed at Celtic Park at this time." Celtic board.— Kenneth MacRae (@kmacraeplockton) October 25, 2023
Celtic fans tonight. 👇 pic.twitter.com/0qQojYzL3f
On October 31, Celtic said it was suspending the season tickets of ticketholders associated with the Green Brigade.
Celtic reportedly told its supporters who were traveling to Rome for the match against Lazio that all flags, banners, and drums must be pre-approved by the Italian club.
Following their defeat on Tuesday, Celtic players and staff met with Pope Francis at the Vatican in Rome on Wednesday.
The Pope told the Celtic group: "While it is true that winning rather than losing a match is always preferred, it is not the most important aspect! More vital is the example you give when winning or losing, both on and off the field.
"An example that embodies the virtues of courage, perseverance, generosity and respect for the God-given dignity of others.
"Indeed, Celtic Football Club was founded in 1887 with the specific goal of alleviating poverty in the City of Glasgow. This was truly a charitable undertaking for the sake of the most needy of our brothers and sisters.
"Yet, how much the world of football has changed since then.
"In particular, the financial footprint of the 'Beautiful Game' has greatly increased, and at times can risk making football only attractive for reasons of monetary profit.
"The valued legacy of your Club, then, places a heavy responsibility upon your shoulders, reminding you to be good role models, especially for young people.
"The standards you are called to set concern not only your abilities as sportsmen and the classic qualities required to excel, but are also about your personal integrity.
"In this regard, men and women should see in you not just fine footballers but also people of kindness, big-hearted men who know how to be wise stewards of the many benefits you receive from your privileged positions within society."
🍀 Today at the Vatican, the #CelticFC staff and players were honoured to be granted an audience with his Holy Father, Pope Francis.— Celtic Football Club (@CelticFC) November 29, 2023