Livi 'disappointed' at unapproved three-stand display in Celtic end

Livi say Celtic fans unveiled a display across three stands of the stadium despite a request to do so being rejected.

Livingston reveal ‘disappointment’ after Celtic fans unveiled unapproved three-stand display at Almondvale SNS Group

Livingston Football Club have revealed their “disappointment” that an unapproved three-stand display from Celtic fans at Almondvale went ahead despite permission being rejected.

The Almondvale club say a request was made for “ultras” group the Green Brigade to put on a tifo over the three stands occupied by Hoops supporters via the supporters’ liaison officer.

That request was rejected but they did permit a banner across one stand only for the game played in West Lothian on Sunday.

However the group managed to put on the display across three quarters of the stadium, which paid tribute to Ireland’s ‘Easter Rising’, against the home side’s wishes and Livi now say they may ban all banners and displays from future games as a result.

Another banner was unfurled at half-time after Celtic supporters were given trackside access to set it up in a move that Livi say is “wholly unacceptable”.

They also moved to clear up confusion regarding pictures posted on social media showing fans inside the area seating home fans wearing Celtic colours and explained how the mix up came about by accommodating a visiting school from America.

In a statement released on Wednesday, they said: “There were a number of issues which arose before and during Sunday’s match with Celtic which we, as a club, feel we need to address.

“Prior to this fixture, a visiting supporters group called ‘The Green Brigade’, via the Celtic SLO, requested a Tifo display in all three stands allocated to the Celtic support and to have a banner displayed along the front of the East Stand. The banner was to read “You Play for Us and We’ll Sing for You”.

“This request was refused and instead, permission was granted for a Tifo and banner display in the South Stand only.

“This matter was discussed at the pre-match meeting, held in the week leading up to the match, where representatives from the club, Celtic FC, Amberstone (our steward company) and a delegate from the SPFL were all present.

“The agreement for a Tifo and banner display in the South Stand was understood by all in attendance.

“On match-day around an hour prior to kick off, a further request for a Tifo display in all three stands was requested by the same visiting supporters group and was again refused.

“Against the instruction of the club and police, the banner was allowed into the ground, unchecked, through an emergency gate that was opened due to safety concerns. The banner was then displayed along the front of the East Stand – again, against the agreed procedure.

“It was then deemed that this banner and the Tifo display would be allowed to continue on the grounds of public safety for those in the ground and to prevent further disorder that may have delayed the kick off or jeopardised the game going ahead.

“At the start of second half a further unapproved banner was then unfurled. The banner itself wasn’t an issue as such however, again, visiting supporters were permitted access trackside to display the banner which is wholly and utterly unacceptable.

“Full discussions are ongoing with external partners who were working at the stadium on Sunday to find out why a number of these incidents were allowed to happen and what steps will be taken to ensure there is no repeat in future fixtures. Going forward, it may well be that no banners or flags at all, of any nature, will be permitted in to the ground as an immediate way of preventing this but this will be discussed in full to ensure an outcome which prevents a repeat at future fixtures.

“One final point, we were contacted a long time ago from a school group travelling over from America for the Easter weekend and they were looking to take in games on Saturday and Sunday and resultantly, had asked about coming to our game.

“Given the nature of the visit, we had no reason to believe it may consist of some opposition supporters and at no point was this communicated to us by the company organising the trip.

“On arrival, some of the group were in away colours but given the away allocation of tickets was sold out, there was no options available to move the group to the away section.

“However, after our safety team spoke with the group, and home supporters around them, the group did remove colours and remained in place in the home end and made reference to how welcomed they were made by home supporters in and around where they were seated. We thank the supporters in the areas C1, C2 and C3 for their understanding on this and for making the group feel welcomed despite the initial misunderstanding.

“All in all, certainly a disappointing day on all fronts relating to the above issues. We’re well aware that certain elements on the day weren’t acceptable and whilst conversations will be happening with all partners involved, we’ll also be having further discussions internally as to how we can attempt to reduce the number of concerns on these games.

“We appreciate the frustrations from our own supporters on these events and absolutely share that sentiment.”

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