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Dublin: 7 °C Tuesday 21 October, 2014

‘Happy now?’ – Celtic legend McNeill lashes unruly fans

UEFA have again opened disciplinary proceedings against the SPL outfit – and McNeill is not impressed.

Manager Neil Lennon chats to Billy McNeil in the stands.
Manager Neil Lennon chats to Billy McNeil in the stands.
Image: Lynne Cameron/PA Archive/Press Association Images

A SECTION OF Celtic’s fans have again landed the club in hot water with European football’s chiefs – and one Parkhead great has had enough.

Celtic legend Billy McNeill has this morning hit out at the supporters who have caused UEFA to again open disciplinary proceedings against the SPL outfit.

The probe has begun in relation to last week’s Europa League fixture in Italy in which the Bhoys took on Udinese.

The Glasgow club have been charged with ‘the displaying of a banner of an offensive nature and the setting off of fireworks’.

It is the second such incident of its kind in a month after Celtic were fined €15,000 over ‘illicit chanting’ during a recent game with Rennes and the two-part banner revealed in this latest case contained an insult to the football governing body.

A number of flares were also let off at the Stadio Friuli on the night. This morning McNeill, former skipper and manager, told the Scottish Sun: “This has left me hurt and disappointed. For generations, Celtic fans have had a great record in Europe.

“Now that record is in danger of being wrecked by these people – I struggle to call them fans. If these people have ruined everything for everyone then the club has to cut them out and get them away.

“Because God knows what will happen to the club if it’s allowed to continue,” he added.

Yesterday, chief executive Peter Lawwell said he was embarrassed by the rogue element.

“Off the pitch, over the last decade we have built a fantastic reputation around Europe which we are all very proud of and which we want to protect,” said Lawwell in the Scotsman.

“Clearly, there is a very small, rogue element that has developed within our support which we have got to weed out.

“We are not going to tolerate it. The guy that we got last night actually assaulted one of our stewards, he was arrested, and he spent the night in an Italian jail and he will be banned for life.

“We are very hopeful of identifying the other guys who had the flares and the banners,” he added.

The case will be heard by the UEFA’s control and disciplinary body on January 26.

- additional reporting Ben Blake

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