Nov 142013

How To Secure Your Copy


“The book is lengthier than most I have read, stretching to 460 pages. However it is engaging from page one onwards. Personally I can see me reading it over and over again and referencing it for many years. I found it very heart warming and uplifting. I also find it amazing that this is the author’s first stab at writing any book, never mind one on Celtic F.C. There are a multitude of good Celtic books out there but this is certainly in my all time top 5.” – The Celtic Network

“To summarise, if you want to learn more about some of the players who played before the Lisbon Lions, and if you want to hear about fans from other countries, and some stories from European trips, then this is certainly the book for you. Writing your first book is always going to be a difficult task, but to write 460 pages, in some detail, is a moment Frank can be proud of. He has certainly delivered a fantastic read for all Celtic fans. It’s a debut book to be proud of.” – The Celtic Journal




Ladies and gentlemen, having now taken delivery of the main print run of books, I am delighted to say that “Standing On The Shoulders Of Giants” will be available for purchase within the next few days.

The first copies will go on sale at a city centre book launch on Sunday evening, 17th November (there are still a few places available for the night, so if anyone is interested in attending, please feel free to get in touch), whilst any copies pre-ordered for postal delivery will be sent out on Monday 18th November.

At 460 pages in length, physical copies of the book will be priced at £12, plus P&P where appropriate. I would be more than happy to sign each and every one of these books should you desire.

If you would like to purchase a copy of “Standing On The Shoulders Of Giants”, you can do so by contacting myself at the following email address:

I will then lay out all of the relevant postage and payment options and we can work out what suits you best, as well as sorting what message, if any, you would like written inside your copy.

For those of you who attend matches at Celtic Park, arrangements can be made to meet prior to games in order to save you postage costs should upon request.

Electronic copies should also become available online on Monday, but this has still to be confirmed with the publishers. More information will appear when I receive it.

If anyone has any questions or queries, please direct these to myself via the email address above, or through Twitter (@MaleysBhoys). The details contained within this article will be moved to the website’s home page in time.

Finally, I would like to thank you all for your continued support, and I hope that any of you who choose to read the book thoroughly enjoy it. Hail Hail.

Nov 132013


As a child, I would look forward to my birthday or Christmas even more than I usually did if I knew there was a fair chance I would be the recipient of a new Celtic shirt. Having looked forward to the day for weeks previous, my natural reaction to holding a new set of Hoops in my hands was to put them on and wear them with pride.

Subsequently, I would look to meet my friends and play football in the park near my home in west central Scotland. This became a normal occurrence as the years passed and the Celtic shirts gradually grew bigger (as did their owner). However, another thing which became normal were the words of my mother as I prepared to go out – “make sure you’ve got a jumper with you in case you need to cover up that top”.

It was only as I approached secondary school that questions began to appear in my mind regarding this. Until then, it was simply normality.

Why did I have to be ready to cover up my Celtic shirt when countless other children were able to parade around in the colours of other sides, both foreign and domestic? Why were the colours of green and white a matter of concern in Scotland whilst they were nothing to worry about when I kicked a ball about in Spain?

In fact, as a small child, I can still recall one of my favourite aspects of the occasional holiday abroad was the fact I could wander about outside in my Hoops without fear or fervour.

Nowadays, I understand why this is the case, but back then, I just didn’t get it.

Having only taken my first steps into the 140 character world of Twitter in the early months of 2011, I must say that, prior to that point, I had no knowledge of Phil Mac Giolla Bhain, let alone his work.

“Minority Reporter” is split into three distinct sections, covering the Famine Song and the case of Neil Lennon, before asking whether or not an Irish ethnicity is illicit in “the best small country in the world”.

Scotland is changing, as are the views of the people who live here. Only a few generations ago, people of Irish heritage were treated to infamous signs which read “No Irish Need Apply”, and yet, nowadays, such shows of anti-Irish feeling are often less stark and almost entirely unofficial.

However, simply because a problematic situation has improved superficially does not mean that all of the issues causing it have been dealt with.

In modern times, no employer could be seen to harbour such racist sentiments and receive no form of punishment. Of course, that makes perfect sense. With that in mind though, one wonders why certain individuals, often within crowds, are largely allowed to spout whatever bilious nonsense they like without much fear of similar reprimand.

In this regard, the author’s analytical work is impressive. Mr Mac Giolla Bhain tackles the issue of the Famine Song admirably in the first part of the book, highlighting the blatant contradictions in many of the arguments put forward to defend it, as well as exploring the nuances of the subculture which led to it’s penning and vocalization.

Moving on to the second section, which explores the almost endless torrent of abuse suffered by the now Celtic manager and his family, “Minority Reporter” reminds the reader of the terrible magnitude of what Neil Lennon and his family have gone through since the Millennium.

Yes, I knew of each incident, but to see them all laid out in front of me in black and white concisely remains a startling sight. This section also explores the psyche of those who consider the Irishman a hate figure, in a thoughtful, if disturbingly frank, manner.

The final section of the book is intriguing because it has been written outside of the proverbial goldfish bowl of the west of Scotland. To pose the question of “illicit ethnicity” is easy, but to consider it in detail is much harder. Whilst incidences of racism involving for example, Asians or Eastern Europeans, are rightly condemned in Scotland, incidences of racism towards Irish individuals or those with some form of Irish heritage are often considered to be facts of life, and therefore largely ignored.

In summary, “Minority Reporter” is a very interesting piece from an experienced hand. Thanks to it’s structure, any reader can pick up the book and consume it’s contents in bite size pieces or in large chunks. The chronological layout of each section allows the reader to watch as stories develop and change, as well as giving people like myself a chance to enjoy some of the author’s older articles which some may not have seen before. Introductions to each section also enable the author to expand upon his views, before the aforementioned articles begin.

As is always the case with Phil’s work, “Minority Reporter” is straight to the point and hard hitting in terms of content, but stylistic in nature, and I’m sure there are many people out there who would thoroughly enjoy reading it. I know I did.


Nov 082013

Hold off: One fan gestures towards an incoming police officer from his knees


Having returned from Amsterdam only this afternoon, I must confess that I would much rather sleep for a few hours than write an article, but with accounts of the events of this week in the Dutch capital streaming in from various media outlets, I feel somewhat compelled to throw in my own two cents.

Firstly, it is immensely regrettable that there is any need for me to do so. Generally, when Celtic supporters return from trips across Europe, the primary focuses of discussion are the football itself and the good times had by one and all. However, this is sadly not the case today.

The fan base which we are all fortunate enough to be a part of has a sterling reputation for a reason. Our Club’s supporters have an almost endless list of places they have visited and, on the whole, they have behaved impeccably, not only in modern times but across the generations, winning friends of many different nationalities and cultures.

Now, before continuing, I would like to highlight the fact that the majority of Ajax supporters who I spoke to in Amsterdam, as well as members of the general public, were lovely people. In fact, several of them expressed disdain for the “hooligan community” which they say “makes us all look bad.”



Do not allow anyone to tell you that the immediate reaction of a Celtic fan upon seeing an Ajax supporter in the city this week was to attack or goad them, because that is totally nonsensical. Prior to violence breaking out in the early evening, some Ajax fans had mixed happily amongst the travelling support in the Dam Square without any issues. Photographs were taken, a few scarves were even swapped, and the mood resembled party, not pillage.

Clearly, that changed as darkness fell. Having spent the majority of the day in and around the square, enjoying the delights of some cheaply priced Heineken as I mentioned on Twitter at the time, I left the area when riot vans began to arrive without cause (notably there had been no hint of violence at this point).

Mounted police had been present for several hours by that stage, trotting up and down the street – clearly making their presence known – but nothing more than that. However, the police clearly anticipated violence, and perhaps this anticipation actually added to the likelihood of such an occurrence.

As I watched the videos from the Dam Square filmed later that evening, it looked like a totally different place from the location I visited during the day. Police in plain clothing batter supporters, some of which appear to be running away with arms raised to show they pose no threat to anyone. Others wield batons and administer their heavy-handed form of “justice” that way.

Now, ask yourself the following questions:

“If you found yourself in a dark, foreign city, with men in plain clothing streaming through a chaotic scene attacking people (seemingly) at random, would your first thought be that they were police officers or hooligans?”

“In the same situation, would you think twice about attempting to defend a fellow Celtic supporter, let alone a friend or family member, as groups of these men punched and kicked them?”



With this in mind, I do wonder whether many of those who were involved knew what was going on amongst the chaos and were simply attempting to defend themselves and those around them. Of course, if individual cases whereby any Celtic supporter has attacked someone without reason are proven, such an argument would falter, and they should be dealt with as the individual cases they are.

Neil Lennon has since speculated that our Club’s supporters were likely subjected to “immense provocation” and this led to their actions in the Dutch capital, and I feel he is correct in this regard.

Don’t forget that it was Ajax hooligans who marched through Glasgow looking for trouble only weeks ago.

Don’t forget that it was Ajax hooligans who threw seats and coins at members of the Celtic support (those in the family section no less) inside Celtic Park on the same night.

Don’t forget that it was Ajax hooligans who attacked a pub full of Celtic fans in Amsterdam on the night prior to the match, and don’t forget who unveiled a banner reading “Fenian Bastards” inside the Amsterdam Arena on Wednesday night.


Control: A police dog is pictured digging its teeth into one supporter's leg before the kick-off


Granted, the Celtic support is not perfect, nor is any group of people from any walk of life numbering in the hundreds of thousands (if not millions). The fan base has always been very good at policing itself, telling those who have had enough to take it easy for a while and, on the rare occasion upon which it is necessary, telling those who do act out to behave.

In all, forty-four people were arrested, twenty-eight of which have been quoted as being Celtic supporters. With a travelling support numbering somewhere in the region of ten thousand supporters, this statistic speaks for itself. Make no mistake, this was not Manchester in 2008, and nor will any efforts to draw similarities change that.

Yes, these were immensely regrettable events, but the Celtic support are not hooligans and nor do we have a problem with hooliganism. I’m sure the people of Barcelona, Milan, Turin, Lisbon and Moscow (amongst many, many others) would stand as recent testament to that.

If anything, my trip to Amsterdam has not put me off travelling abroad with my fellow Celtic supporters (far from it, in fact), it has simply put me off ever travelling to the Dutch capital as a football supporter again, and for me to say that about the land which spawned “Total Football” is sad indeed.


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