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Thread: Hibernian FC and there place in Irish History

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    Hibernian FC and there place in Irish History

    Hello to you all/

    I read with great interest the mammoth pro Celtic/anti Celtic thread and couldn't help but notice how my own team Hibernian FC seemed to come up in the discussion, sometimes accurately and sometimes not.

    Hence as my team and one of our early supporters played a significant role in Irish History, I thought I would give you a potted history of Hibs involvement and try to clear up some misconceptions and inaccuracies.
    As I am Scottish, with no family or cultural ties whatsoever to Ireland in the slightest, then please forgive me if I misrepresent any of the history of your country.


    As is commonly known, Hibernian FC, were formed in the Grassmarket area of Edinburgh by Canon Joseph Hanon and Michael Whelehan both native Irishmen in 1875 (Interestingly 13 years before Celtic, who were formed in 1888).
    The club was run by the Catholic Young Mens Association (CYMS) as an amateur football club where all money generated would be distributed as 'poor relief' to 'Irish community' of the Grassmarket area of the city.

    Hibs originally played in green and white with 'Erin go Bragh' as a small logo on the jerseys.
    Interestingly, Hibs also played in green and white hoops for a while, so next time you see a Celtic fan in your town, then tell him that they are in fact, the 'second team to wear the famous hoops'

    The common misconception is that 'Celtic were then formed in 1888' based roughly on the Hibs model and they stole all Hibs players by bribing them to play for Celtic and the original Hibs club went bankrupt in 1891 only to be reformed in 1893
    This is only partly true ,as the Hibs secretary had absconded to Canada with all the club's funds, hence Hibs had no money for 'poor relief', 'players expenses' or 'under the counter payments'.
    I am not as naive,as to think that Celtic,were the only club making dodgy payments to players in these so called amateur days.

    However, it may interest some of you to know that there was an Irish political angle to the demise of the first Hibs club.
    During the Irish Home Rule campaign of 1890, many of the Hibs players and officials took part in political meetings,protest's and boycotts in favour of Irish Home rule.

    However, this brought them into conflict with Canon Hanon and the church who feared violence and the club was split right down the middle with many committee members being forced to resign.
    Hence with no money, few committee members, conflict with the church and a split club then it isn't quite fair for Hibs fans just to blame it all on Celtic.
    Though we all still do anyway.


    Another political/historical connection between Hibs and Ireland concerns arguably, Hibs most famous supporter 'James Connolly'.
    James Connolly had been born in the Cowgate area of Edinburgh and was a Hibs ballboy and regular attender in the early years, a plaque now stands to him in Edinburgh only a bye kick from the church hall where Hibernian FC had been founded.

    James Connolly, I believe, played an active role in the Easter rising in Dublin in 1916 as well as being a prominent Irish trade unionist and was one of the 12(sorry, not sure) original signatories to the 'Irish Declaration of Independance of 1916' before being shot in Kilmannion jail by the British authorities after the 1916 uprising.


    As the decades went by, understandbly Hibs began to lose much of there Irish roots as the Irish community became fully integrated into Edinburgh society and culture and there are many other myths that should be squashed some other time, such as the complete Celtic inspired nonsense, about our chairman Harry Swan in the 1950's.

    In modern times, I think we are very fortunate that our rivalry with Hearts is nothing remotely like Celtic/Rangers.
    With the exception of the odd tri-colour or Union Flag, our hard fought derby matches are completely free of the sectarian nonsense found in Glasgow.

    I think it would be safe to say that the vast majority of both Hibs and Hearts supporters, dislike or even despise both Rangers and Celtic for there arrogance, bigotry and bullying contempt they have for the other Scottish clubs.

    Despite being a great football fan, to my shame I have never been to a LOI match but reading all your posts, I feel there is great empathy between the smaller Scottish clubs and your own teams and I fully sympathise with the problem of 'Celtic fans' who are unwiling to support there local side.

    Good luck to all your teams in 2004
    Last edited by SlovSam; 16/01/2004 at 6:27 PM.

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    Sam has hit it very much on the head with his potted history of the Hibs. I do have a significant Irish strain in my family, but consider myself a Scot and proud of it.

    Many Hibernian fans still feel a distant link with the old country, but like any fifth/ sixth generation group, its a historical thing.

    One wee correction to our Slovenian Hibby's story is the fact that Hibernian were in fact formed in Little Ireland or the Cowgate as it is now and prior to Irish Immigration, was known, not the Grassmarket.

    I speak as the man who spent ten's of thousands of pounds belonging to a large Edinburgh Assurance Company refurbishing St Mary's Hall (original Home of Hibernian and the CYMS) in the early 1990's.

    Hibernian, First to wear the Green
    Our demands most moderate are –
    We only want the earth!

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    You forgot one vital piece of information Canon Hanon was a Limerickman.

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    My fellow Hibs fan is of course quite correct though in my defence the distance between the Cowgate area of Edinburgh and the Grassmarket area of Edinburgh is around 200 yards.

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    At its nearest point my friend

    Good stuff though Sam.
    Our demands most moderate are –
    We only want the earth!

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    Lots of what you say is true, but many Hibs supporters view history with a dewy eyed nostalgia that never was. Its as though Celtic FC are just a bunch of ‘blow ins’ who copied Hibs every move and struck gold. That simply isn’t the case. Hibernian may well have been the first ‘Irish club’ but that doesn’t change the fact that Hibs, along with Dundee Hibernians (now Dundee Utd) left that all behind them when it was expedient for them to do so. Celtic was the only football club to make a stand at the racist and sectarian policies of the SFA and, seemingly, amongst the support that remains the case to this day.
    Hibs can be regarded as the first Sectarian football club in Scotland. Even prior to the Forces of Darkness. They operated a Catholics only policy which lasted for the first 17 years of the football club and was only abandoned when the club nearly went to the wall.
    In order to increase popular appeal Harry Swan, then Chairman, began to reduce the Irish Catholic influence at the club. Swan was the first Protestant to hold shares in the club and it was he who introduced measures to ensure a reduction in the number of Catholics attending games. Swan supported the SFA when they campaigned to have the tricolour removed from Celtic Park. It was also Swan who removed the Harp at the entrance to Easter Road. Swan was alleged to be the founder of "Protestant Action" which was an anti-Catholic, which at that time generally meant anti-Irish, organisation who picketed Edinburgh workplaces who employed Catholics.

    Like I say, Hibernian may have been the first Irish club in Scotland, but the Irish influence didn’t just diminish “as the decades went by”, it was completely written off, and very quickly at that. The people in Ireland who say that they have more time for Hibs as the ‘first’ Irish club don’t know about this bit of history and its very tidily covered up with neat potted history’s of a club like yours SlovSam. I’d take Hibs over the Huns or the mini-huns any day but it makes me very uncomfortable that a club with a racist and sectarian history can point the finger so easily and so misguidedly at a club like mine that has never operated in the same manner.

    Sure you can despise Celtic for taking a bigger piece of the pie, but lets face it, The paydays you get against us and ‘them’ help to keep Scottish football alive. Perhaps we do bully the smaller boys around a bit, but we know what that feels like too. You just have to take a look at the recent ‘Millergate’ scenario. That’s the nature of the beast.
    "It is not to those who can inflict most, but to those who can endure most, that the victory is certain"

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    Oh dear, with the greatest respect, what a load of rubbish but more later this evening when I have more time.

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    With the greatest of respect, I haven't told any lies.
    "It is not to those who can inflict most, but to those who can endure most, that the victory is certain"

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    >>> Swan was the first Protestant to hold shares in the club and it was he who introduced measures to ensure a reduction in the number of Catholics attending games.<<<<<

    There's a couple there for a start, RB. Tell me where did you get this info from ?

    A member of the Usher Brewery family was the first Protestant to own shares in Hibernian in the late 19th Century, long before Mr Swan was involved.

    I'd be interested to know exactly what measures Swan took to "ensure a reduction in the number of Catholics attending games", as well.

    The first football Chairman to try and stop supporters giving his club money? Again with all due respect sounds very weird, if not made-up i.e. fictional not to say factional.

    See this part

    "Swan was alleged to be the founder of "Protestant Action" which was an anti-Catholic, which at that time generally meant anti-Irish, organisation who picketed Edinburgh workplaces who employed Catholics. "

    Alleged by?

    I've seen those allegations recently, they were made (up) by a Celtic fan spreading his "opinion" on Swan around message boards. Subsequently a search was made to find out who exactly was the foudning the members of the odorous PA, John Cormack (the real founder and leader) was the only male, the other founding members being busy-body elderly Edinburgh Matrons with more money than human decency.

    As Sam says there is a load of rubbish written up there, expecially the stuff on Swan, and particularly all the rest of what you wrote. I'm sure Sam, will explain further.

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    A lot of the information I got actually comes from a Hearts website taking a serious look at sectarianism in Scottish football. Admittedly I was playing devils advocate a little….maybe a lot, as I don’t believe that Hibs exclusively Catholic team was in any way indicative of sectarianism, rather a protective mechanism of their Irish heritage against the overtly anti-Catholic SFA and Edinburgh FA at the time but that doesn’t stop the allegations to the contrary.

    I am also aware of Hibernian refuting the allegations over Swan. I have heard it said (I think on a Hibs website??) that the Harp crest was removed because of essential building works at Easter Road but that doesn’t change the fact that it was Swan who got rid of it. With regards to Swan being the founder of Protestant action that was alleged by Andrew Sanders but I have to admit that I haven’t seen these claims substantiated anywhere else. Swan was certainly a mason though, so I would guess that this is where the story comes from.

    With regards to the measures Swan took to ensure a reduction in the number of Catholics attending games was to not allow Catholic clergymen to enter the ground for free as they had always done in the past. I accept that in modern times this would be viewed as only right and proper but back then, this was something of an issue as it discouraged attendance by other Irish Catholics. As for his attitude towards the tricolour at Parkhead….well, that is very well documented

    Like I said. I didn’t lie anywhere. I may have pushed the truth in order to make the point that Hibs are not as pure and free from religious and political machinations as they would often have us believe.
    "It is not to those who can inflict most, but to those who can endure most, that the victory is certain"

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    Originally posted by Rebel Bhoy
    A lot of the information I got actually comes from a Hearts website taking a serious look at sectarianism in Scottish football. Admittedly I was playing devils advocate a little….maybe a lot, as I don’t believe that Hibs exclusively Catholic team was in any way indicative of sectarianism, rather a protective mechanism of their Irish heritage against the overtly anti-Catholic SFA and Edinburgh FA at the time but that doesn’t stop the allegations to the contrary.
    Hibs were the Catholic Young Men's Society's team, you had to be a member of the CYMS to play for Hibs. This is in line with the way many teams were formed in the Amateur era, church teams, dancehall teams, Works teams - there was nothing sectarian or exclusive about the formation of Hibernian. The founders were young guys who wanted to play football while representing their community, just like every club formed at that time. Once professional everyone could join.
    I am also aware of Hibernian refuting the allegations over Swan. I have heard it said (I think on a Hibs website??) that the Harp crest was removed because of essential building works at Easter Road but that doesn’t change the fact that it was Swan who got rid of it.
    Many Celtic fans wish to interpret that as though Swan "got rid of the Harp" as soon as he was made Chairman. In fact the building work took place some 20 years after Swan became owner of the club . It was as you say "removed because of essential building works", something which you chose not mention in your first post.

    Why would you wish to give such an impression, devils advocacy aside?

    Just as a bit of balance the first thing Swan did do when taking over Hibernian was to introduce Green nets for the goals.

    With regards to Swan being the founder of Protestant action that was alleged by Andrew Sanders but I have to admit that I haven’t seen these claims substantiated anywhere else.
    So it's a lie to say that Swan was a member of PA never mind a "founding" member of P.A.? Again given the shaky nature of your info, why would you wish to give this impression?

    Swan was certainly a mason though, so I would guess that this is where the story comes from.
    ?. I fail to see the connection.

    With regards to the measures Swan took to ensure a reduction in the number of Catholics attending games was to not allow Catholic clergymen to enter the ground for free as they had always done in the past. I accept that in modern times this would be viewed as only right and proper but back then, this was something of an issue as it discouraged attendance by other Irish Catholics.
    I started going to ER around 1968, and vividly remember clergymen sitting at the front of the Old stand at Easter Road. Maybe they paid their way in but they seemed to enjoy the games and cheered whenever Hibs scored. Also crowds at Easter Road increased hugely while Swan was owner. Where did you get the info about Swan's decision "not allow Catholic clergymen to enter the ground for free", for that matter where did you get the info that they "had always done in the past", in all honesty it sounds like more rubbish.

    As for his attitude towards the tricolour at Parkhead….well, that is very well documented
    ...and very poorly documented at that.

    Briefly that episode in Celtic's history goes something like this. Late 1951 crowd trouble at Parkhead saw a linesman attacked and the SFA put posters up around Parkhead asking fans to behave. In the 1952 New Years Day game Rangers won 1-4, and bottles and stones were thrown by Celtic fans after the fourth goal went in. After this Glasgow Magistrates asked that...

    (1) Rangers and Celtic should not play each other on New Years Day
    (2) All ticket games only
    (3) Numbered passgeways at Celtic Park
    (4) That the two clubs should avoid displaying flags which might incite feeling among the spectators

    ...I'll point out at this time Harry Swan was not a Glasgow Magistrate. The Magistrate's decisions were ratified by the SFA's Referee's Committee (the Chairman of which at the time was Celtic Chairman Robert Kelly), then it was put before the SFA council who ratified those requests. Harry Swan is not even mentioned so far, and it's worth pointing out that both Rangers and Celtic were asked to "avoid displaying flags which might incite feeling among the spectators", and on match days only. During the week they could fly Auntie Aggie's drawers if they wished.

    The only part Harry Swan played was while he was acting Chairman of the SFA Council during a meeting when Celtic were disciplined for not obeying the Glasgow Magistrates requests.

    Celtic fans have subsequently twisted this story to portray it as some kind of witch-hunt initiated by Swan, when, given the facts it's obvious where the hissy-fit hysteria is coming from, and I'll give you clue - it's not Swan.

    I'll warrant that Swan's attitude is well documented, but it's fabricated repetition by paranoics who are repeating paranoic stories which they are just gagging to believe.

    Well documented fabricated repetition does not make it a fact.

    So therefore what you repeated above from very dodgy sources is lies.

    Like I said. I didn’t lie anywhere. I may have pushed the truth in order to make the point that Hibs are not as pure and free from religious and political machinations as they would often have us believe.
    Whereas repeating and propagating lies about a football club which you seem eager to believe has some kind of Anti-Catholic
    background seems to be more than "pushing the truth".

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    Well that saves me a lot of effort .

    The other point I would add is that Tom Gallgher's book 'No Popery, Edinburgh divided', list's the founders of Protestant Action as Mrs I Johnson, Mrs Etta Cunningham, Miss Dolly Barbour and the notorious John Cormack.

    This I would contend is a far more authoritive source of reference than errrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr a 'Hearts web site' .

    As a bit of background to any Irish readers, 'Protestant Action' was a nasty little political party set up in Edinburgh in January 1933 with the aims or repatriation for Irish immigrants and discrimination.
    At most, it won 2/3 local council seats and by 1937 was a spent and discredited organisation.

    Interestingly Harry Swan, the Hibs chairman, made his first bid to takeover the club at around the same time, where according to Hibs historians, he was welcolmed with 'open arms' by the auld catholic families' that still controlled Hibs at his time.
    Families who in fact lived in Ireland rather than Scotland.

    I can just picture the surreal meeting in the Hibs boardroom:

    Well, Mr Swan,
    'What qualities can you bring to the famous old Hibernians'

    Replies Mr Swan,
    'I haven't got a lot of times on my hands as I have just set up the Protestant Action Party... you know the one, the one that hates the papish scum and wants to deport them all back to Ireland.

    'Excellent Mr Swan you can take over the club tomorrow'

    Somewhat inconceivable, I hope you would agree

    The sum total of your allegation, now seems to be that Harry Swan was a mason and he knocked down a wall that was falling down anyway.
    Both points I happily concede but would contend that this doesn't make him some 'henious anti Irish bigot'.


    I would also concede that all football fans are guilty of 'dewy eyed nostalgia' concerning there team and Celtic fans are of course no different in this respect.

    The football team, Brother Walfrid set up in the East End of Glasgow to feed the 'hungry poor' was quickly taken over by John Glass, owner of a lucrative group of building companies and turned into a professional money making limited company, a million miles away from Brother Walfrids noble intentions.

    It is however 'dear old Brother Walfrid' who is rightly honoured at Celtic Park but there is no mention whatsoever of John Glass who has been eradicated from Celtic's history
    Last edited by SlovSam; 15/01/2004 at 9:14 PM.

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    Originally posted by Rebel Bhoy

    With regards to the measures Swan took to ensure a reduction in the number of Catholics attending games was to not allow Catholic clergymen to enter the ground for free as they had always done in the past. I accept that in modern times this would be viewed as only right and proper but back then, this was something of an issue as it discouraged attendance by other Irish Catholics. As for his attitude towards the tricolour at Parkhead….well, that is very well documented

    Like I said. I didn’t lie anywhere. I may have pushed the truth in order to make the point that Hibs are not as pure and free from religious and political machinations as they would often have us believe.

    This is another Swan Myth, the Priests had seats in the centre Stand reserved for them, infact the rows of black-suited Priests were known as 'The Black Watch'. However with huge demand for season tickets in the Centre Stand, Harry Swan could no longer reserve seats for the Priests but they still recieved complimentary admission to the stand

    Rebel Bhoy, Harry Swan was not anti-Catholic, infact a close friend of his was Hibs daft Monsignor Thomas Miley and when Swan became Hibernian Chairman he appointed Monsignor Miley the players counsellor, the first of it's kind in British football. When Monsignor Miley Died Harry Swan wrote in the Hibs match day programme.......... 'it is with deep regret theat we learned the death of Mosignor Thomas Miley, a good and true Hibernian. He was a most ardent supporter and cheery soul, and an inspiration to all at Easter Road with his kindly encouragement. We mourn the passing of a real friend'.

    I use to believe the myths about Swan but when you look into it all you find is Celtic propoganda!
    __________________
    They came from Little Ireland,
    in Scotlands capital,
    and took the name Hibernian,
    the most Irish name of all.

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    Originally posted by Rebel Bhoy
    Lots of what you say is true, but many Hibs supporters view history with a dewy eyed nostalgia that never was. Its as though Celtic FC are just a bunch of ‘blow ins’ who copied Hibs every move and struck gold. That simply isn’t the case. Hibernian may well have been the first ‘Irish club’ but that doesn’t change the fact that Hibs, along with Dundee Hibernians (now Dundee Utd) left that all behind them when it was expedient for them to do so. Celtic was the only football club to make a stand at the racist and sectarian policies of the SFA and, seemingly, amongst the support that remains the case to this day.
    Hibs can be regarded as the first Sectarian football club in Scotland. Even prior to the Forces of Darkness. They operated a Catholics only policy which lasted for the first 17 years of the football club and was only abandoned when the club nearly went to the wall.
    In order to increase popular appeal Harry Swan, then Chairman, began to reduce the Irish Catholic influence at the club. Swan was the first Protestant to hold shares in the club and it was he who introduced measures to ensure a reduction in the number of Catholics attending games. Swan supported the SFA when they campaigned to have the tricolour removed from Celtic Park. It was also Swan who removed the Harp at the entrance to Easter Road. Swan was alleged to be the founder of "Protestant Action" which was an anti-Catholic, which at that time generally meant anti-Irish, organisation who picketed Edinburgh workplaces who employed Catholics.

    Like I say, Hibernian may have been the first Irish club in Scotland, but the Irish influence didn’t just diminish “as the decades went by”, it was completely written off, and very quickly at that. The people in Ireland who say that they have more time for Hibs as the ‘first’ Irish club don’t know about this bit of history and its very tidily covered up with neat potted history’s of a club like yours SlovSam. I’d take Hibs over the Huns or the mini-huns any day but it makes me very uncomfortable that a club with a racist and sectarian history can point the finger so easily and so misguidedly at a club like mine that has never operated in the same manner.

    Sure you can despise Celtic for taking a bigger piece of the pie, but lets face it, The paydays you get against us and ‘them’ help to keep Scottish football alive. Perhaps we do bully the smaller boys around a bit, but we know what that feels like too. You just have to take a look at the recent ‘Millergate’ scenario. That’s the nature of the beast.
    What a load of ill reseached, madey up 'Celtic history as we want it ****e'.

    Explain your Sectarian comment about my clubs forefathers. Have you read and understood the bigotry of Edinburgh and Scotland in 1875??

    Give us some facts about the removal of the harp, and what actually happened when it was taken down, where it went and what the club have done since??

    'Protestant action' - Any fact at all showing Swan to have any link to that bile.

    Tell me your understanding of Mr Swan's position when the tricolour carry on was occuring. I am genuinely interested. You obviously have the answers.

    Paydays -Well I always knew the Huns and you were one and the same despite your claims of independence, republicanism, socialism, nationalism and fair play.

    Do not confuse the club with the fans of that club. A more left wing, Scots nationalist, liberal minded club support you will not find in my country (Scotland) and I include Celtic.


    1875, 13 years before and 128 years later, still having to dispel the rumours concocted by the 'greatest fans on earth*'.













    * My crinkled star
    Our demands most moderate are –
    We only want the earth!

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    Fair play to you all. I am big enough to admit when I am wrong. I started off being a bit cheeky, but quickly found myself having to defend a position that I never really believed in the first place....but I gave it a go.
    As for a liberal minded football club….In terms of the support, I’d say you’d be hard pressed to match Celtic, But the Connolly society in Edinburgh gives a whole lot of credence to that statement.
    HONESTLY NOW, with no bull****, I would say that Hibs contribution to the Irish community in Scotland has been a great one. The difference between us is that we nurtured the link whilst Hibs assimilated (a bit of a paradox considering the meaning in the names of our clubs).
    "It is not to those who can inflict most, but to those who can endure most, that the victory is certain"

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    It takes a big man to admit he might have been wrong, so very good for you and cheers for the chat but can we have our players back please

    If you come across any more Celtic fans with similar opinions direct then in this direction for further discussion

    http://www.hibeesbounce.com/forum/sh...609#post97609.
    Last edited by SlovSam; 16/01/2004 at 11:59 AM.

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    Will do SlovSam. But there is no "might" about it. I was wrong.
    As for giving the players back......not a hope!!
    "It is not to those who can inflict most, but to those who can endure most, that the victory is certain"

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    Originally posted by Rebel Bhoy
    Fair play to you all. I am big enough to admit when I am wrong. I started off being a bit cheeky, but quickly found myself having to defend a position that I never really believed in the first place....but I gave it a go.
    As for a liberal minded football club….In terms of the support, I’d say you’d be hard pressed to match Celtic, But the Connolly society in Edinburgh gives a whole lot of credence to that statement.
    HONESTLY NOW, with no bull****, I would say that Hibs contribution to the Irish community in Scotland has been a great one. The difference between us is that we nurtured the link whilst Hibs assimilated (a bit of a paradox considering the meaning in the names of our clubs).
    Fair play to the Rebel Bhoy, if only a few more of your 'celtic minded' compatriots were willing to accept the real facts about our clubs.

    Interesting point about assimilation of the Edinburgh Irish. I think Edinburgh society seems to have slowly accepted the Irish and with lower numbers than the 'weejie' Irish, inter marraige was more common, leading us to assimilate faster.

    Just my view of it right enough.
    Our demands most moderate are –
    We only want the earth!

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    Originally posted by SlovSam
    can we have our players back please
    Not a chance. And you'd better get Doumbe signed up quick, or he'll be next down the M8...

    Originally posted by Mukadua
    Fair play to the Rebel Bhoy, if only a few more of your 'celtic minded' compatriots were willing to accept the real facts about our clubs.
    There's none so blind as those that refuse to see. And I speak as a Celtic fan.

    PP
    Semper in faecibus sole profundum variat

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    Originally posted by Plastic Paddy
    Not a chance. And you'd better get Doumbe signed up quick, or he'll be next down the M8...



    There's none so blind as those that refuse to see. And I speak as a Celtic fan.

    PP
    Doumbe is pish, can't speak English and likes Rangers. I suggest the Jumping Leprehaun looks at the excellent Colin Murdock.











    (Ooop, ma pant are on fire)
    Our demands most moderate are –
    We only want the earth!

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