At the start of April Celtic supporters form most of Scotland’s islands met at Celtic Park for a day together ‘billed’ as the ‘Scottish Islands Celtic Supporters Clubs’ Big Day out in Paradise’.
It is unlikely that such an island gathering ever took place before at Celtic Park and indeed it’s hard to think of any other formal joint islands support of a sporting event!
However it does appear it will not be the last.
Stornoway Saltire CSC had originally suggested the idea of a Western Isles trip to supporters in Uist and Barra, but before long there was interest from Orkney and Shetland Celtic Supporters Clubs.
Very soon thereafter arrangements were made for the East End of Glasgow to be visited by 130 Celtic Vikings!
The group met for the first time outside Celtic Park three hours before Kick Off for a game against Kilmarnock F.C. in the last game of the Premiership before the league split.
Following some group photos the group made their way into the stadium via the Jock Stein Stand and into the Kerrydale hospitality suite.
Among the pre-match entertainment many of the group met some of Celtic’s players of the past.
Among them, some of the club’s famous Lisbon Lions, Bobby Lennox, John Clark and Bertie Auld.
All three posed for selfie after selfie with the islanders, indeed the three proved as popular for the memento-seeking fans as posing with the Premiership league trophy.
One of the youngest ’bhoys’ attending Celtic Park for the first time was Morray MacLeod, who celebrated his eighth birthday at the game.
He was unsurprisingly a little overwhelmed as the 500 strong Kerrydale Suite crowd sang to him on his birthday.
His Hoops strip birthday cake was well received, so thanks Donnie M MacLeod for that.
Prior to Kick Off, Stornoway Saltire’s Chair, Willie Gallagher, office bearers ‘Momby’ Morrison, Ross Munro and junior member Charlie MacRae waited in the main entrance to greet the team. Thankfully the club’s Honorary President and Celtic F.C. Director Brain Wilson knew shortcuts about the ground and got us to the front entrance in time to make the Player of the Year presentation.
Willie made the trophy presentation to Kieran Tierney while Charlie presented some fine island produce – Harris Tweed and Marag dhubh. Super food for a super player!
From 3pm it was all eyes on the pitch for what turned out to be a game of near exhibition football against Killie.
The Hoops pressed relentlessly and took 22 minutes to take the lead. The waves of attack continued but Killie defended well and kept the score to 1 – 0 at half time.
Into the second half Killie scored a fine goal to draw level. However goals from Sinclair and Forrest killed the game for Killie, much to the delight and applause of the islands section in the Jock Stein stand.
Friendships were formed between the island supporters groups after the game in the Kerrydale Suite and it likely that the Islanders will take up two thirds of the suite in a 2018 visit. For Hoops fans living away from home reading this Gazette item and wishing to attend next year’s trip please contact: firstname.lastname@example.org