CELTIC FC have today vowed to take action to have a photo, which appears to show their captain Scott Brown posing alongside supporters of the far-right Scottish Defence League (SDL), removed from the internet.
Brown, a former Hibs star, was said to be horrified after the picture of him posing with the men – some apparently wearing clothing featuring SDL logos – was posted on an SDL Facebook page.
A comment left under the photo by Graham “SDL” Walker, who appears to have uploaded the snap, reads: “scot brown new menber of the sdl[sic]”.
Mr Walker’s own Facebook profile page shows two men grasping a Saltire bearing the words “Edinburgh SDL”.
Today a spokesman for Celtic said Brown, 26, was “very concerned and disappointed” and said the club would seek to have the offending picture, which was uploaded to Facebook in February this year, removed.
He said the Scotland international had no way of knowing the political views of the group when the picture was taken.
“Anyone can see that Scott Brown simply has been asked to have a photograph taken with people who he does not know.
“It’s nonsense to think that Scott Brown should be aware of the political views of everybody who he has had his photograph taken with.
“For anyone to think he would endorse these views is simply ridiculous.
“The club will be taking steps to see what can be done in terms of having the picture removed.”
The SDL – whose members describe themselves as “the infidels” – claim to be against the “Islamification” of the UK.
The group was prevented from marching through the streets of Edinburgh earlier this month amid fears the event could have been a flashpoint for violence.
At a council debate on whether to allow the march to go ahead, SDL representatives were grilled over photographs of an event in Irvine, which showed participants carrying banners proclaiming “No more mosques”.
Objectors highlighted the group’s “racist and homophobic” views, and Justice Secretary Kenny MacAskill said that the proposed march could pose a threat to public safety.
In the end, the SDL held a static rally and a police operation ensured the day passed without incident as demonstrations by the far-right group and anti-fascist organisations brought parts of the city centre to a standstill.
Scott Brown joined Celtic from Hibs in May 2007 in the biggest ever transfer between two Scottish clubs.
He made a total of 142 appearances for Hibernian in five years as a first team player, scoring 21 goals and helping them win the CIS Cup in 2007.
In 2009, he was named Scottish Professional Footballers’ Association Players’ Player of the Year and Celtic Players’ Player of the Year.
No-one from the SDL could be contacted for comment today.