'SECTARIANISM' IN SCOTLAND. CELTIC GLASGOW AND GLASGOW RANGERS. A CASE STUDY
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Sport is a very effective and striking phenomenon, which helps to create the impression of belonging to a certain community. Football in Scotland not only links supporters but also divides them by maintaining local disputes and aversions. It is especially visible in Glasgow, where two football clubs have been immersed in bitter rivalry since the end of the 19th century. 'Sectarianism' in Scotland is mainly based within two denominations: Catholicism and Protestantism. It appeared on a big scale during the Irish immigration to Scotland in the late 19th c. and early 20th c. In the last century football was the biggest and the longest platform of expression of 'sectarianism' in Scotland. Till 1989 Glasgow Rangers pursued the unofficial shameful policy regarding the non-employment of Catholic staff and players. Celtic Glasgow is a symbol of the Irish minority in Scotland, the means to convey Catholic religion, Irish ethnicity and republicanism. It states that the Irish community still exists and was not fully assimilated into the Scottish society. On the other hand, Glasgow Rangers has a very important British dimension. Rangers' supporters identify with historical Scottishness, which existed in the British Empire: Protestantism, Unionism and Loyalism. Rangers' colours have their origins in the British flag whereas Celtic plays in green and white hoops, has Irish shamrock in its crest and on its football grounds, one can find more Irish tricolours than Scottish flags. At the tip of the scales there are sectarian songs heard on both Parkhead and Ibrox Park. Celtic supporters are known for singing rebel songs and chanting IRA. Rangers' fans are under the scrutiny of the public because of the infamous song 'The Billy Boys', which contains the controversial line 'We're up to our necks in Fenian blood'. It is a sign of attitudinal sectarianism related to attitudes, mindsets, emotions and behaviours. It assumes a form of insults, affronts and stupid jokes. Sometimes violence may accompany it. In the last decade 7 murders were committed in regards to 'sectarianism' and football. Jack McConell, a Scottish first minister, officially states that sectarianism in Scotland still exists and the battle with it is his priority. The current governmental slogan is “One Scotland, Many Cultures”. In January 2006 McConell introduced an 18-point plan to tackle sectarianism.
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