Sectarianism in Glasgow

Sectarianism in Glasgow

Sectarianism in Glasgow takes the form of religious and political sectarian rivalry between Roman Catholics and Protestants. It is reinforced by the fierce rivalry between the two "Old Firm" football clubs: Celtic F.C. and Rangers F.C. cite web|url= |title=Sectarianism in Glasgow |accessdate=2006-08-24 |date= |year=2003 |month=January |format=PDF |publisher=Glasgow City Council]


Although acceptance of other faiths in Glasgow is not universal, surveys comparing people's ideas about sectarianism with their actual day-to-day personal experience show that the perception of sectarianism is much stronger than its occurrence in reality, and that the city's problems with health, education and social exclusion are of much greater daily concern to most Glaswegians. [cite web|url= |title=Beware myths that tarnish 'sectarian' Scots |last=Bruce |first=Steve |accessdate=2006-08-24 |date=15 February 2005 |publisher="The Scotsman" ]

In 1996, Jason Campbell, a 23-year-old Protestant, was convicted of the unprovoked murder of 16-year-old Mark Scott, who was wearing a Celtic F.C. jersey, although covered by a jacket at the time. Campbell waited until Scott had walked past the bar doorway in which he was standing, sneaked up behind Scott and cut his throat with a carpet fitter's knife.] Scott died instantly. Subsequent floral tributes to the youth laid at the spot of his murder were defaced and destroyed by loyalists and Rangers fans. After being convicted, Campbell applied to be transferred to The Maze prison in Northern Ireland because he believed he would be given political status. However, this request was rejected on the basis that his actions were not political. Campbell's father, Colin, and uncle, William, were jailed for life in 1979 for blowing up two Irish bars in Glasgow which were full of people on a Saturday night. A charge of blowing up a third bar was not proven. Campbell admitted belonging to the proscribed loyalist terrorist group Ulster Volunteer Force.

Those are just a few examples of sectarian violence in Glasgow. [cite web|url= |title=A Chronology of the Conflict - 1997 |accessdate=2006-08-24 |date=23 March 2006 |publisher=Conflict Archive on the Internet ] A 2006 article stated that sectarian incidents reported to police (largely verbal abuse) increased by 50% to 440 over an 18-month period. The article stated that 64% of the 726 cases between 1 January , 2004 and 30 June 2005 were motivated by hatred against Catholics, and the remaining percentage were mainly motivated for hatred toward other minority religions. [cite web|url=,,1958615,00.html |title=Catholics bear brunt of Scottish sectarian abuse |accessdate=2006-11-28|date=2006-11-28 |publisher='The Guardian" ]


In the 2000s, overt sectarianism primarily manifests itself in the rivalry between the supporters of Glasgow's two main football clubs, Celtic and Rangers, collectively known as the "Old Firm". One study showed that 74% of Celtic supporters identify themselves as Catholic, whereas only 4% identify as Protestant; for Rangers fans, the figures are 5% and 65%, respectively. At Rangers' Ibrox Stadium, the Union Flag has pride of place, whilst at Celtic Park, the Irish tricolour prevails. Rangers' decision to sign a Roman Catholic and former Celtic star player, Mo Johnston, in 1989 proved controversial. Although not the first Catholic to play for Rangers, Johnston was by far the highest-profile openly Catholic player to do so since World War I. [cite book
last = Murray
first = Bill
title = The Old Firm - Sectarianism, Sport and Society in Scotland
pages = p 64
publisher = John Donald Publishers
date = 1984
isbn = 0-8597-6542-3
] [cite book
last = Kuper
first = Simon
authorlink = Simon Kuper
title = Football Against the Enemy
publisher = Orion Publishing Group
date = 1996
pages= p 3
isbn= 0-7528-4877-1

Catholics who had signed for Rangers before Johnston include: Pat Lafferty (1886), Tom Dunbar (1891-1892), J Tutty (1899-1900), Archie Kyle (1904-1908), Willie Kivlichan (1906-1907), Colin Mainds (1906-1907), Tom Murray (1907-1908), William Brown (1912), Joe Donnachie (circa.1914-1918), John Jackson (1917), Laurie Blyth (1951-1952), Don Kitchenbrand (1955-1956), Hugh O'Neill (1976) and John Spencer (1985-1992). Johnston's signing paved the way for Rangers to sign more Catholic players such as Lorenzo Amoruso, who served as the club's captain.

Celtic, throughout its history, has never had a policy of signing exclusively Catholics. However, despite the fact that some of the key figures in the club's history (including former manager Jock Stein and playing legend Kenny Dalglish) have come from a Protestant background, most of its players, coaching staff and directors have been Catholics. [cite book
last = Gallagher
first = Tom
title = Glasgow, the uneasy peace: religious tension in modern Scotland, 1819-1914
publisher = Manchester University Press
date = 1987
pages= p 303
isbn = 0-7190-2396-3

Both Celtic and Rangers have launched campaigns to stamp out sectarian violence and songs. Celtic's "Bhoys Against Bigotry", Rangers' "Follow With Pride" (previously called "Pride Over Prejudice") and the cross-club "Sense Over Sectarianism" campaigns have attempted to reduce the connection between the Old Firm and sectarianism. [cite news
url =
title = Bigotry puzzle for Old Firm
accessdate = 2006-08-30
date = 2001-10-11
publisher =
work = BBC News
quote = Celtic and Rangers have teamed up to support a campaign to fight religious bigotry. But the Glasgow football rivals admitted they did not know how they can go about eradicating sectarian chants among their own supporters.

One Rangers spokesman used the term "90-minute bigot" to explain the problem of religious bigotry among supporters of the two clubs, suggesting that anti-Catholic and anti-Protestant messages were limited to actions during football matches, and did not represent true sectarianism. [cite news
url =
title = 'First steps' on end to bigotry
accessdate = 2007-01-14
date = 2005-02-14
publisher =
work = BBC News
quote = Lawrence Macintyre, head of safety for Rangers FC, said: "There's a thing in a football ground called a 90-minute bigot, someone who has got a friend of an opposite religion next door to them. But for that 90 minutes they shout foul religious abuse at each other and we've got to handle in the first instance the 90-minute bigot."
] .

Unionism vs. Irish republicanism

The Orangemen of Glasgow (members of the Protestant Orange Lodges), parade through the city around the historic The Twelfth (12 July), playing flutes and drums and singing songs in a celebration of the victory of William of Orange's army over James Stuart's army at the Battle of the Boyne. These marches are often a source of tension (and are now subject to stricter controls as a result), with each side accusing the other of supporting Northern Ireland-based paramilitary groups such as the Irish Republican Army or Ulster Defence Association. [ [ BBC NEWS | Scotland | Marches may be banned in Glasgow ] ] Irish republican marches use much the same format to commemorate various important dates in the history of Irish republicanism, such as the Irish Rebellion of 1798 and the 1981 hunger strike. The two main Irish republican organisations in Glasgow are Cairde Na hEireann and the West Of Scotland Band Alliance, both of which claim to represent the Irish community in Scotland.

ee also

*Sectarian violence


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