Celtic stand with Rangers in the fight against racism
Support: Brown and Kamara (pic: SNS Group)
As the new Premiership champions made the short trip across Glasgow there had been concerns that fans would gather outside Parkhead in a repeat of the celebrations a week ago.
Instead, the biggest talking point was a show of unity on the pitch. Celtic captain Scott Brown embraced Glen Kamara during the warm-up to show his support for the Rangers midfielder in the wake of the alleged racist abuse he was subjected to in the Europa League clash against Slavia Prague.
“I think it’s disgusting what’s happened,” said the Celtic captain. “It doesn’t matter if it’s a Rangers player or a Celtic player. Whoever it is, it should never be part of the game. And that just showed that we are with them, we stand with them on racism.
“It’s just that little bit of respect to a fellow professional.”
Brown’s gesture of solidarity came as the incident took a new and sickening twist at the weekend.
On Friday a group of Slavia Prague hooligans were seen unveiling a banner with offensive words aimed at Kamara who made accusations of racism against Prague player Ondrej Kudela.
The club’s chairman Jaroslav Tvrdik wrote on Twitter: “Feeling extremely ashamed by the content of the picture published by a group of radical fans. This is absolutely disgusting, embarrassing, racist. NO TO RACISM!”
A UEFA investigation has been opened into the events at Ibrox on Thursday night.
Kudela’s alleged slur will come under the microscope, while Slavia are understood to have filed a criminal complaint for an alleged assault on the player after the final whistle.
At Parkhead, the two teams refused to take the knee prior to kick-off, instead deciding to stand in support of the fight against racism and Celtic manager John Kennedy echoed his skipper’s sentiments.
He said: “This is not about rivalries, derbies, opposition teams or anything else. This about unity, about coming together and trying to make a difference. It has gone on too long.
“It seems to be happening more and more even though there is more education and news about it. It is spoken about more and more. I don’t know if it is because of that, but there seems to be more of it happening. It is not acceptable, absolutely not acceptable.
“What happens is you give someone, whoever it might be, a punishment for it, a severe punishment at that, it will quickly eradicate it.”
After today’s showdown Rangers remain on track to complete the league season undefeated after Alfredo Morelos scored his first goal in an Old Firm derby to earn his team a point in a 1-1 draw.
Celtic took the lead through Mohamed Elyounoussi.
Alex Neil, meanwhile, has become the latest person linked with the role of long-term successor to Neil Lennon after his departure from Preston North End.