POLICE: Celtic fans protest against appointment of Higgins as new security chief

Assistant Chief Constable Bernard Higgins tipped to spend retirement in Paradise

By Bill Heaney

One of Scotland’s most senior police officers is expected to take over as Celtic’s security chief at Celtic Football Club.  He is Assistant Chief Constable Bernard Higgins, currently in charge of policing at COP26.  The word in the street and the stands is that Higgins is poised to take over from the club’s current security adviser Ronnie Hawthorn.

Some Celtic fans are demanding that the 53-year-old, who has served as a police officer for more than 30 years, is not signed up by the Parkhead-based club.

Assistant Chief Constable Bernard HigginsAssistant Chief Constable Bernard Higgins (right)

Higgins has previous with fans over his support for the Offensive Behaviour at Football Act when he warned the controversial Green Brigade to leave politics at the turnstile or face arrest.

The group, who said the board are creating a “sideshow”, have called on fellow fans to support their protest by staying silent during the game., a plea that is unlikely to be well received by the majority of the crowd.

A source said: “Bernie is a lifelong Celtic fan but this has gone down like a lead balloon.

“He thought his experience as a cop and involvement with the Euro2020 committee would stand him in good stead but he’s not reckoned on the long memories of those who feel he victimised fans.”

A statement issued by fans’ groups said: “We have been made aware Bernard Higgins, of Police Scotland, is likely to be appointed to a senior security role at Celtic.

“Higgins played a major part in the vicious implementation of the much-hated Offensive Behaviour at Football and Threatening Communications (Scotland) and passionately defended the legislation within the Scottish Parliament.”Ronnie Hawthorn, Celtic security chief leaving the stadium.

Ronnie Hawthorn, Celtic’s present security chief (left)

“The police officer most responsible for the reprehensible attack on our support, our culture and our values would be rewarded for these very acts by being given a prestigious position within the club we all love.

“Although we have raised these concerns with the club privately, they are unwilling to engage on the matter. We call on all fans to make this clear to the Celtic board. We will remain silent for the first 30 minutes of the match.

“This will act as a symbolic reminder of what Higgins attempted to do to our support and make clear to the Celtic board the level of opposition to his appointment.

“We understand that our stadium is renowned for the atmosphere created within it.

“We desperately want to provide that backing to the players, however we kindly ask those who disapprove of this potential appointment to join us in this protest.”

However, there are many Celtic fans who believe that the atmosphere at Celtic Park would be greatly improved if the Green Brigade, who make frequent political protests, was dissolved, broken up and not allowed to form a group on the Parkhead terracings.

One fan said: “There are many who would agree with Mr Higgins’ view that that the fans should leave their political views behind them at the turnstiles.”

Deputy Chief Constable Will Kerr, pictured above, said: “ACC Higgins is entirely focused on delivering the safety and security operation for COP26.”

One comment

  1. Football fans & people around the world recognise Celtic for its intelligent, political, humanitarian (+ sometimes satirical) beliefs. The club would do well to understand that this area of free speech is A massive reason that the “Good Name” & love of the club crosses so many, many boundaries & becomes ingrained in oft oppressed cultures!
    Celtic & the “Green Brigade” are necessary now & forever in the very public domain that is Celtic Park.
    Stand together. As one we have strong inclusive voices that resound powerfully at home & abroad. 🙏

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