Let's Pump Up The Volume

Last updated : 07 January 2005 By Kevin Smith

Sunday sees yet another Old Firm fixture at Celtic Park, this time in the Tennents Scottish Cup. Despite being early in January, it will be the fourth Old Firm encounter of the current season.

In general, recent Celtic v Rangers matches at Celtic Park have went our way. The last time the away side came away with anything was back in 2002 when a combination of Rab Douglas and Momo Sylla gifted Rangers a point.

Celtic's recent dominance at home in this fixture has undoubtedly quietened the atmosphere from the home support. Recently it has been getting to the stage where the visit Rangers seems just like any other SPL side; the Celtic fans sit in anticipation, waiting for the goal to come. In truth, Rangers have not been putting up much of a threat which has brought the nerve level down a notch or two.

The two most recent home Old Firm games have both ended 1-0 to Celtic, with us scoring late in the game. During these matches in particular, the lack of noise, singing and encouragement for the team has been somewhat missing for large chunks of the game.

Okay, so some might say they are nervous wrecks at Old Firm games and are too caught up in the game to be singing. This is no excuse. Everybody knows that Old Firm games these days are not a patch on those of the past, when the likes of Gascoine, Albertz and Laudrup were running at the Celtic defence.

This season, the atmosphere at Celtic Park has been the worst since we moved back. At regular SPL matches against the likes of Livingston and Dunfermline, the away fans are practically unnoticeable. The difference on Sunday will be 7,000 monkies in the Lison Lions Stand spouting all kinds of bile about things that went on many centuries ago.

I for one am fed up sitting in my seat listening to "King Billy's On The Wall," "No Pope Of Rome," "The Sash," "Up To Our Knees..." and other ditties involving the Pope, Bobby Sands and Neil Lennon. And I am not disappointed by the Rangers fans' behaviour, as I very much expect this kind of rubbish from them. What angers me most is the fact that 53,000 Celtic supporters are sitting down, not doing anything about it!

So what can we do about it? Well it's pretty simple folks, all we need to do is open our mouths and sing our hearts out. If everyone does this the away support will be drowned out.

I sit in the North Stand. It isn't exactly the wildest of places at Celtic Park, and I am fed up trying to join in with songs starting from behind each goal, and getting looked upon as if I have three heads. It's not on anymore. If you don't want to back the team by joining in a few choruses of some Celtic songs during the game, why not stay at home and give your ticket to someone who will?

For most home games, there is a section of Celtic supporters located next to the away fans. This area is made up of tickets sold to the public by Celtic i.e. non season ticket holders. These are the fans who for whatever reason, cannot make it to Celtic games week in-week out, but buy single tickets whenever they can. This small section of around 1,000 fans show up the whole of Celtic Park every week. They sing for ninety minutes and always get behind the team. We should all look to take a leaf out of their books.

For Sunday's match, there has been a substantial amount of tickets made available for public sale. Hopefully, this will bring in some of the fans who at least make an effort to generate an atmosphere while at Celtic Park.

It is also about time the DJ at Celtic Park got his finger out and started earning his money. He has a vital part to play in helping the atmosphere and he has let us down on every big occasion this year. If he and his mate on the pitch do not improve it will surely be time to send them packing?

I must admit, it's a sad state of affairs when we're having to remind everyone to raise the roof for an Old Firm game, but it is necessary. The Celtic support are the 12th man and the team need us just as much as we need them.

I look forward to hearing you all on Sunday.

Hail Hail!

Kevin Smith