Why I Support Celtic. Why Do You?

Morning,all. This morning is a wee treat for us. A guest article from JIMBO67.


A few weeks ago, on this site The Gombeen Man (TGM) replied to a post  here that had been made in wee small hours by a lost soul. It was a typically thoughtful and honest attempt, I thought, to reason with the earlier poster who, eventually, replied in his usual confused manner. 

I have no wish to dwell on that lost soul save that I do now wonder whether he could or would describe himself as a Celtic supporter or even whether he could remember whether he had ever derived any pleasure from his interest – which in his own way remains intense- in Celtic. TGM’s reply pointed out – and I paraphrase here ( as well as apologising now if I have misunderstood him) that for all the romantic idealism of Celtic’s founding the club as well as some of its leading, even revered, figures have either spectacularly fallen from grace or become mired in controversy or both. And that posting made me wonder why people do support Celtic. As TGM’s post made clear it cannot be because the club was or is perfect. 

I must set out my own stall. I am in my early 60s and have been attending Celtic matches regularly since early in 1968. I think my background is fairly typical for Celtic supporters- of any era- in that although born in Scotland I had ancestors from Ireland- specifically Donegal and Athlone -and was brought up as a Catholic. My dad and mum supported Celtic and, especially as I was a wee boy who showed great interest in football, it was hardly unexpected (except for me !) that I would get taken to a Celtic match when I was considered old enough. [My wee sister went through a similar initiation in April 1969.] But I don’t think my mum and dad ever forced the issue and if I’d not enjoyed the experience of my first few games, they would not have insisted I keep going.

But I loved it from day one even on the days we did not win -though it was, I think, April 1970 and the infamous cup final versus Aberdeen before I saw us lose in a game I was at. The team I watched in those days was good and a joy to watch but being part of a crowd all supporting the same team was something that I liked too.

There have been some hairy moments at games (and even more so on the way to and from them) but generally I’ve found being part of the Celtic support a comforting, safe experience. People argued about players and how the team was playing, hurled abuse at referees and the supporters of the other team but I seldom felt threatened. The team has had lulls – the mid to late 70s was patchy and of course the period from the autumn of 1989 until May 1998 was mainly barren for Celtic on the pitch but I still enjoyed going. Indeed, occasions like the last league game of the 1990/1 season when walking out the ground it was discovered we had qualified for Europe was one of the happiest memoriesof supporting Celtic I have.

My one reply to TGM’s comment was that I think all of us buy in to the mythology of Celtic even though we know Celtic is heavily flawed. As a child I loved reading about the humbleness of Celtic’s inception and its raison d’etre. I probably knew when I was still at primary school that Celtic had rather strayed from that original project not long after 1888 and for me by the summer of 1983 following the shabby treatment of Billy McNeill much of the belief that Celtic was still in some way true to the idealism of Brother Walfrid et alhad evaporated. But not all of it disappeared and there is still part of me in which that idealism has not quite gone.

I have had my ups and downs with the support – especially around the time of that match in May 1999 when Rangers clinched the league at Parkhead – and from the point Ronny Deila was appointed in the summer of 2014 a disconnect with those who ran (and in many instances still run) Celtic began to grow in me. I found that because I could not go that I did not get caught up in the misery of the team and its manager’s performances during the 2020/1 season as much as many did– other than having the misfortune of being in central Glasgow on the morning of the last league game of that season it all seemed rather artificial to me- but, and I think I may be unique in taking such offence at this, the most dismal aspect of that season was not that the team was crap or that I could not go but that the one ground in the UK which did not display any supporters banners in the otherwise empty stadium and instead preferred to show only things it was paid to display by sponsors seemed to be Celtic’s. 

But three months later I was able to go to see Celtic losing 6-2 to West Ham and I was hooked once more. That one of my two all-time Celtic bogeymen has recently returned as chairman [The other being Desmond White.] is a warning sign that the path of true love is never smooth and there are things about Celtic that could transpire that could kill that love but I am still fairly confident that for better and worse Celtic is a life sentence for me. 

So, being amongst Celtic supporters and a certain amount of friendly family coercion is why I support Celtic. Yes, these are reasons but there is another reason I shall come to shortly – one which people either do not realise exists or are reluctant to acknowledge. But I think I should mention some of the  reasons I think others support Celtic. 

An old friend of mine, one I have been going to matches with since 1988, is of a different background to mine, a background usually considered one of the less likely to produce a Celtic fan.  Born in Lisburn into a non-Catholic family which decamped to Tarbolton in Ayrshire in the mid-70s, his dad was more of a cricket and rugby union fan than a ‘soccer’ man and my mate said he himself only ever really had a casual interest in football until his late teens. The games which did much to turn him towards Celtic were, bizarrely perhaps, the last two matches with Rapid Vienna in late 1984 which he saw in person. The thing that struck him about Celtic was that it was, somehow, the underdog and he likes those who are such. I am not sure I have ever seen Celtic as an underdog but, as is regularly discussed here, we are not the ‘establishment’ club. So, I can accept his reason for trailing round Europe to watch Celtic even if it is not my own. 

Alex Ferguson, obviously one of the great football managers, made a career of firing up his teams by instilling a sense that everyone was agin them and although I personally don’t particularly like the emotion pejoratively described by the media and others as ‘Celtic’s Paranoia’ I do think that quite often the sense that we are outsiders, underdogs and that the ‘establishment’ is not for us has helped us- and that feeling sustains many supporters. 

That the club’s supporters are seen as rebels- a historically,rebels of a particular type- has attracted many to it. Supporting the club because of its Catholic-Irish origins because you yourself have a similar background seems fair enough to me – and I think that if you become a Celtic fan, you accept that aspect of Celtic is inbuilt, ingrained and cannot, certainly should not, be ignored, denied or forgotten- Celtic would not be Celtic without it. That becoming a Celtic fan as a means of promoting Irish Republicanism ( and your own support thereof) is quite common and its something I have been less easy with since the early days of the Troubles of the late 60s through to 1998.

Celtic as an institution – a PLC for feck’s sake- seems in its own way to be rather Conservative, Unionist even, and probably not pleased that so much of the Celtic fanbase identifies with a cause that the majority on the island of Britain detest. I would describe myself as being in support of a 32 county Irish Republic but remain conflicted as to whether support for republicanism [or any other political cause such as Scottish independence which I would always vote in favour of ]  is a valid reason to attach yourself to Celtic. And I really do dislike the rote singing of ‘the rebs’ during matches – it reminds me of those interminable hymn practices in the hall the schools I attended all specialised in.

Remembering the past is important but I find that it can seem like those who sing so much about it are unwilling to look forward and instead wish to remain bitter. But that’s what I think this morning as I prepare to go to this afternoon’s match with Kilmarnock- my mind has never been completely set on this topic. But the way the songs are sung now does seem really joyless to me and Celtic is not, for all its many imperfections and its repulsive new chairman, a joyless thing. That brings me to what I think is one of strongest reasons I and everybody else supports Celtic- emotionally it is a very easy thing to support a successful team.

Celtic has been good at playing football in Scotland for much of its history. Many of us wish that the team had been -and is now- better playing matches against teams from outside Scotland but even in Europe good nights are not so far in the past to be hard to remember whilst at home we have won a lot of trophies – 73 of the 183 completed major tournaments competed for in my lifetime domestically. We think we have had some tough periods as I alluded to earlier but although the period between May 1989 and May 1998 when we won nothing seemed long, compare that with Hearts who won nothing for almost 36 years between 1962 and 1998, Hibs who never won the Scottish Cup for 114 years and just three league cups between 1952 and 2016- and both clubs were until several years into this century seen as big clubs and serious rivals. 

We, the supporters, do have high expectations of our team and most of us would be happy enough to admit that . We’d be less happy to admit that we have a sense of entitlement- subconscious in most perhaps- but I think it is there. This last-named quality has, however uncomfortable we are with it,proved useful in the early 90s when we experienced teams that rarely threatened to win anything far less actually win a trophy , were frequently dire to watch, drifting to a state of permanent mediocrity if it could avoid financial calamity. And fans, most of whom had experienced all or at least some of the successes of 1965 to 1989, did not put up with it.

There was much talk then – as always – about how Celtic had been sustained by the loyalty or faith of its supporters and what a source of pride it was to that part of the Irish Diaspora that had settled in central Scotland and especially Glasgow. But the thing which had sustained the support was not just that the support was mainly of Irish/Catholic extraction it was because the teams that they supported were usually good and we wouldn’t accept teams being less than so. History suggests that in Scotland other clubs were set up to attract Catholic-Irish followers in the wake of the original , successful, version, Hibernian, and until Celtic all foundered because they were not good at the football side of the operation- people do not stick with things which are rotten for too long. Celtic smashed it out the park from the day it played its first ever match in May 1888. 

We all have our own reasons why we support our team.

Family, our support’s predominant demographic, enjoying the experience of actually meeting fellow Celtic supporters at games , in pubs or on buses or whatever, because we like the sense that we are anti-establishment rebels sustained by a sense that we are on the side of the Angels or what have you. There probably are  ‘wrong’ reasons to support Celtic  but I cannot think of one even if I do not like or agree with all of them.

But Celtic has retained such a strong hold on those who support it not because of its traditional demographic or because we have lots of people like me who like our fellow fans. No, it is because we are good and those who do support it and really care about it are not prepared to let it be mediocre or worse.

Above article by JIMBO67

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Thanks very much for this,Jimbo67. Very similar sentiments to my own.

Including those about Desmond White!

Margaret McGill

I really enjoyed that read so much
Superb !



Thanks for that — memories a go-go.
Lots of what you write is very close to my own experience.
The ins the outs / the ups the downs — never a straight path.


Excellent again mate .HH


Absolutely superb Jimbo 67. Nailed it to perfection- thank you. Chapeau Sir.

Jobo Baldie

Ood morning, friends.
That’s a fantastic article Jimbo and I’ll be digesting it all one more time after my morning walk!


Thank you for posting this. I have taken a step back from this page as you know because I did not like the way it had gone in the days before I left- it was not just one poster but the overall tone was different from what I had previously enjoyed as both lurker and poster. Not quite CQN c2014-15 but getting there.

Take care bhoys and ghirls.

Yours from the 61 with mild toothache.



Gute Besserung Jimbo. Don’t be a stranger.

St tams

Excellent post


Morning at,


That was an excellent read this morning.

Hope you keep posting as you were sorely missed.

HH 🍀🍀🍀



I’ve asked myself that question as my years advance.

I think the bond is of a more spiritual nature as in when you meeting a fellow Tim it opens the door to finding a kindred spirit .

A feeling of being at home or at one ment.

Although it is a generalisation the chances of meeting folk with goodness in them is higher because there are many similarities in our upbringing.

Irish ancestry, which goes beyond my grandparents so not as strong, but with an understanding of what that can mean after listening to a chap from the Irish Association tell his audience about his experience way back in 2010 at an Open Meeting at St Mary’s.

For me I sense either a generosity of spirit or a meanness of spirit, which is a very human condition that can come and go depending on each individuals experience and current circumstances. Try being generous of spirit if you have toothache.

I could say Celtic PLC are a reflection of the meanness of spirit , the opposite of the ethos on which Celtic were founded and The Foundation a reflection of the generosity of spirit amongst the support at large more in touch with the ethos.

I would like to see much less of a divide in a spiritual sense , an at one ment because, and this might sound daft.

A Celtic at one with itself could be a beacon to the world through football but not by winning trophies but being an example of a community (for that is what Celtic are) that enjoys being a part of something greater not apart from it.

Perhaps that feeling has gone for you Jimbo at this moment.

In a way Celtic, like everyone needs unconditional love but before anyone responds on that aspect this article sets out very clearly what it is and what it isnt.


Discovering what it is and what it requires can be life changing.


Off topic but since it’s nearly Burns Night

Address To A Hun Chief
(An ode to Dave King)

Fair fa’ yer dishonest wonkie face
Great chieftain o’ the hunnish race
Aboon them aw ye tak’ yer place
Green, Whyte an’ Murray
Weel are ye worthy o’ disgrace
For stealin’ money.

Yer empty pockets there ye filled
Leavin’ ahent yer unpaid bills
Afore ye headed for the hills
In time o’ need
While, through yer lips, ye lies distilled
Tae the undeid.

Mark how the Hun oan garbage feeds
The Daily Record’s aw he reads
He disnae ken the auld club’s deid
An’ this yin’s dyin’
The sing’l brain cell in his heid
Has gied up tryin’.

Oh Power wha hauds fans in His care
An’ dishes oot their bill o’ fare
Auld Scotia waants tae hear nae mair
O’ sad huns greetin’
Send them another ‘billionaire’
Tae fund mair cheatin’.



Welcome,our new Poet Laureate!

Very good indeed. Thanks.



I like pieces written straight from the heart and this is certainly one of those. What I found most interesting was your doubts about continuing to follow Celtic. There have been times when I wonder why I continue to support the club. Perhaps surprisingly, my doubts have little to do with results but rather with the way the club is being run. Much of this has been discussed on here and elsewhere ad nauseam. A lot of it surrounds one man who has now returned to the club. That appointment, amongst others, seriously challenged my loyalty. You see for ex-pats, these matters loom large because we do not have the social safety net of going to games and sharing the apres ski. In truth, I am nearly as much in the tent as out of it, currently.

The development of the team and the approach of Ange keeps me hanging on. Although this is not to say I am completely convinced about Ange’s approach, but I am intrigued to see how it runs.

However, in the beginning, it was different. Being notionally protestant, I got caught up in the usual anti-Catholic crap that promotes the us versus them hate agenda. So, like my mates I followed Rangers. If the stench of hate became too unbearable, I went to see Thistle and sometimes Clyde. I particularly tried to see Stein’s Dunfermline when they came to town. Although they had some outstanding players, Conachan and Edwards, they were a unit. I watched the 60-61 Cup final and the replay against Celtic. I was impressed by how the Celtic support got behind their team. As time rolled on, I saw that Celtic were more than the Catholic equivalent of Rangers. They offered a broader church. Finally, when I discovered the rationale for the founding of the club, I knew this was the team for me.

So, I am not of Irish heritage really. Although who cannot trace some Irish connection in their ancestry? I am not of the Catholic faith either. If I ever sort out which faith I adhere to, you will be the first to know! Something of the Cathars appeals to me. But here I am over sixty years later, not in Scotland, and still suffering the highs and the lows. Why? I have not got a clue!

Thanks Jimbo for sparking some self examination. Come back to the blog. You know you want to!




That was superb!



R. St. Parsley.

Absolutely brilliant! Hat doffed! Rhyme, intonation, structure, all perfect.

Prestonpans bhoys


SC at its best 👌 👍 👏👏

Jobo Baldie

As promised I read Jimbos leader again and enjoyed it again! The point that rang a bell with me was the suggestion that at times Celtic fans are guilty of feeling entitled. Sport should never be like that. The better teams don’t win everything. The better teams lose games and play poorly. Prizes invariably go to whichever team deserved to win them.
The most recent example I can think of is when we had an opportunity to win 10 titles in a row. At what point in that run did fans think it was a good idea to sing “Here we go, ten in a row….”? Too many fans dismissed the winning of titles 6, 7, 8 as if they were like early rounds of a cup competition. It was all about the ten.
Well, it wasn’t for me. I never joined in with that song and often got strange looks from my neighbiurs in the standing section. Whilst our failure to win 10 did disappoint me greatly, what annoyed me more was folk regarding not winning 10 as a disaster, but never celebrating the fact that we had again won 9.
I’m not sure these ramblings are really getting my point over but I’ll end by saying that I have a 9 in a row tee shirt that I still wear with pride. Through our own failings we didn’t deserve to win 10 and that’s how it should be. No entitlement from me.
We are in a good position in all 3 domestic trophies. If we win any or all of them I’ll celebrate each one.
ps good point too about too many joyless songs being sung. I only join in to about 1 in 3 songs these days!



I echo the congratulations of other posters for this article,an excellent piece indeed. The “Why do you?” question posed in the title reminds me of meeting with a poster from CQN around ten years or so ago. Name of West Wales Celt,we arranged to meet in Cardiff while he was in town. His wife and daughter were on one of those plastic-melting trips much loved by women.

Just like REBUS67,he had no Celtic connections whatsoever,neither family nor friends,prior to deciding to support us. Indeed,he hadn’t even seen us play in the flesh at the time. Turns out he was a Norfolk lad who had moved to West Wales-Pembrokeshire IIRC. He had seen us play for the first time in the Scottish Cup Final in 1985-and was hooked!

Now,why would that be? What was so special about that match? The 100th final? Overcoming a one-goal deficit to win? The Provan free kick,the Frankie header? No,none of these things. It was the presence of one Margaret Thatcher-and the rousing reception given to her by our assembled fans! As he deeply sympathised with our sentiments,it didn’t take him long to delve into our background from the days of Brother Walfrid,and to come to the obvious conclusion.

It was Celtic for him from then on in. And there’s nothing worse than a convert!


Martin O’Neill on Irishness. The great man on what it means to be Irish and the Irish diaspora. Relevant to today’s article and Celtic FC from 5 mins in. I also recall my writing a piece for SC a couple of years ago basically detailing my own association with Celtic and growing up in a Nationalist enclave in North Belfast during the troubles. This was a somewhat different take on Jimbo’s piece but I agree with him in that we, the support, are a broad church.



I didn’t join in the here we go,ten in a row chants either. I was old enough to remember throwing it away in 1975 for starters.

Billy Bhoy


Thats an excellent piece – well done. My story would include 90% of your words!


Absolutely magical stuff – well done!

Is your blog name a play on the phrase I now fondly remember being uttered by my wee Donegal granny – “yer arse in parsley!” I haven’t heard that in over 40 years!


Lovely piece JIMBO67, first class.

I can’t imagine life without Celtic. Was handed the baton by my dad and now I share the baton with my two sons. Many euphoric highs and a few crushing lows. That doesn’t change, even as sixty is staring me in the face. One always thought that one would get less emotional as one grew older. One was wrong, very wrong !

My big hope is to witness another European trophy being paraded around our stadium, as I was just a four year old, living in Saltcoats, when Billy lifted big ears. It’s doable, very doable, but won’t happen whilst the Desmond family control our club.

When those that control the direction of the club are in alignment with those of us who support the club, financially, emotionally, and in every other conceivable way, then progress in Europe will happen.

As Tommy Burns used to say, family, faith, and football. To have all three is a blessing.


That’s a pleasure to read and a pleasure to publish. Thanks for helping the blog. Great stuff.
Enjoy your day everyone. Take care.
Hail Hail fae California.


Possible memory fade / grey moment — the despicable Maggie @ the SCF.

I can remember 1988 and the dubbing that went on in the news reports.
Was she at the 85 SCF as well — I thought she would have learned her lesson if she ad been and not come back for more?


Billy Bhoy
That’s exactly where the name came from. Yer arse an’ parsley was the nearest my dear departed mother ever came to swearing!



Oops,correct. It was 1988.


Good evening all from Dublin City. The beer is flowing and Mrs BRRB is away shopping. I’m doomed. 😳


I hope somebody telt Dublin the Pub Inspector was coming!! 😂😂😂
(Last time of using it, BRRB, but I couldnae resist!!)



An absolute belter of a leader. My own initiation into Celtic, happened on my 4th birthday…and that wisnae yesterday, let me tell ye. I received a kind of replica Lisbon Lions jersey, that was far too big for me. On the plus side, I wore it for years. Then, in August 1971, I was taken to my first game. The new stand had just been completed. I reckon it must have been a League Cup sectional game. Celtic wore the all green strip, so we could have been playing Killie, Dunfermline or Morton. From memory, Celtic won by a few clear goals. I must check CelticWiki to see if I can narrow that down. What impressed me most about that day was not the crowd, or the stadium, though these were indeed impressive. It was my dad giving me a running commentary during the game, with such gems as:

“That’s where McGrory scored 8”.

“That’s where big Billy scored against Vojvodina”.

Etc etc.

Without realising it, I was receiving my first Celtic history lesson. It was not to be my last.

R St Parsley



A fine post.


I too was not the biggest fan of big Dessie, but at least he publicly spoke out in defence of the club and the supporters, when it mattered. e.g. during the Rapid Vienna fiasco; slamming the police for the Janefield St horse charge, and publicly shaming the RUC for their shameful behaviour at Solitude in 1984, when both Celtic and Cliftonville supporters, were ruthlessly attacked, by baton wielding thugs. Big Peter on the other hand, cares about two things. Money…and helping his Ibrox pals at the expense of Celtic. For him, silence is golden.

Hail Hail.


Wonderful narrative Jimbo.
I am in my early seventies and your Celtic experience almost mirrors my own.
It brought to mind many examples of the good and bad times of our club ( mainly good) and the continued battle we face outside football .
Thanks for rekindling memories.

16 roads

Jimbo67 – Powerful read chieftain.

Thank you.


big packy

AFTERNOON ALL and JIM yes jim is still about👍 JIMBO 67 good post, but you refer to a lost soul in your post, would that be THE LEOPARDS RIMSHOT, now theTLR is banned from here ,so cant speak, so on his behalf let me tell you a few things i was in a dark place a few years ago suicidal to be honest ,after a phone call from BMCUW which took about 2 hours, I felt so much better and have never looked back,,TLR might be in that place now, so please think of what you say,,hope you are well.H.H


Big Packy

I am not referring to TLR – he was still contributing when I wrote this piece-who although he irritated the hell out of me at times was always extremely friendly towards me. I was referring to the one who writes long posts in a variety of fonts and colours which are often but not always deleted.


A thing of beauty

Jimbo 67,
A beautiful piece of writing. I read it this morning and although working, wanted to make sure I let you know how it resonated with me. Seems I was not the only one. I am a bit younger than you so did not have the glory of the lions but I suffered with you in the nineties. To be where we are now and to have been able to watch the demise of the Huns mark 1 means we have witnessed things previous generations could only dream about. I remain sad that you will no longer be contributing to the blog. Quality posters like yourself are missed.

Oft to ‘ma cot shortly.

A wee trio of tunes from a guy who I believe had a brilliant voice, sadly now not with us.

Chris Cornell.

Nite all.



Billie Jean or Dark Hole Sun?




big packy

JIMBO 67, heartfelt apologies👍

Billy Bhoy

It takes less than an hour (I’m guessing here) to fly from Norwich to Glasgow. And yet, in that time, Todd Cantwell has gone from a weekly unused sub at the 25th best team in England to a “midfield maestro” who is being likened to Brian Laudrup!

As Auldheid is fond of saying “We’ll see…” 🙄


Jimbo67 Great stuff HH 👏👏👏 🍀

The Gombeen Man


Thanks Jimbo for the honesty and integrity of your article. I’ve been trying to find a few moments all day to sit down and post a reply to you.

It’s clear from the responses that you’ve resonated with the majority of the posters today. I agree with Rebus, living outwith Scotland can mean that the Celtic connection often lacks the matchday experience. We’re denied the craic in the pub or the jokes on the bus. Blogs are great but sometimes the written word has a more negative impact than intended.

There was a great deal of soul searching involved in your article, these things can be pretty draining to write.

So many memories, parents, relatives, loved ones, treasured moments.

You eloquently captured those moments today.

Thanks for taking the time to bring your special association with Celtic to a wider audience.

Hopefully you’ll reconsider and post your thoughts from time to time.

They are too valuable not to share.




Welcome back,even if fleetingly. Don’t be a stranger,please.


Something for every Celtic supporter in that article Jimbo! Well done, mate!
The 90s was by far the worst decade in terms of quality of play, poor management on and off the field and generally just miserable being a Celtic fan! Who would’ve thought the success of the subsequent 20 plus years would have been possible back in those days!!

BTW…just got a text from my younger girl who’s at Lewis Capaldi in the Hydro tonight (sorry, but I can’t get her into my music at all!!). Anyhoo, she said the pianist started playing “Its a Grand Ol’ Team To Play For!” Lewis was shouting at him “Stop it, stop it! There’s two cities in here tonight!!!” 🤣🤣🤣

Cosy Corner Bhoy

Just catching up from the £1 article!!
Fair enjoyed Jimbos post and it resonates with me also though I’ve been going a it longer
I am a bit like to remind everyone that the length of time you’ve been going is irrelevant. It only means your Dad/Mum/relation took you early doors and you’ve lived a long time
Nowadays I see kids in shawls going to games so they’ll reach 50 years supporting before lots of their pals
Great article again and I enjoyed Arse and Parsleys wee poem as well Reminded me of a similar effort I the school magazine by a classmate titled ‘Bob of Beansburn’ in 1956


Good evening all from Dublin. You are an absolute shower.


Broonie’s Fleetwood sinking into the mire. They have won 6 league games out of 27, and are 5 points above the relegation zone, where Morecambe have a game in hand. Hope he turns it around, because the football management role can be no fun at the moment.

Margaret McGill

Our new center forward.