By Macaroon 23rd May 2018
Going with our terrace culture section again, we hook up with our comrades in the Celtic Soccer Crew (CSC). We wanted to cover a story which has infamously been labelled ‘The Janefield Riot’. An incident to this day that has been labelled a ‘whitewash’ after the final whistle on the last old firm game of the season at Celtic Park on the 1st of May 1985. This was a rescheduled match from March which was called off due to snow. Celtic Park didn’t have under soil heating at this time.
We to talk about the guys that were there on one of the most memorable and early days out with the CSC – under the previous name of Roman Catholic Casuals (RCC) which was very cringeworthy when we look back now. A Wednesday night kick off normally reserved for European games due to the fixture being moved from March that year.
During the match we were positioned the end of the old ‘Jungle’ next to the old Rangers end and right next to the Rangers casuals Inter City Firm (ICF) or (or Ice Cream Firm). In those days it was expensive sportswear and ski-hats. The obligatory chants were going back and forth including “ICF w*nk w*nk w*nk” with “hand gestures” and the now cringeworthy southern chant of “you what?”. The jungle didn’t have that protected mesh fence up at this time. Coins were going back and forth between the two mobs. During the first half half a bottle of Irn Bru was launched from the Rangers end; it didn’t reach our mob but smashed at the foot of the nearest copper next to the segregation. This stirred up more tension between the two crews and we are trying to push towards each other.
Two minutes into the match Roy Aitken ‘scored’ a penalty or so he thought. The ball had been judged to have moved, he then misses the retake. Celtic had umpteen chances to take the lead and eventually mid-way through the second-half Alan McInally hit the back of the Rangers net. 1-0; this was just after Davie Cooper was sent off for a second yellow after a foul on Peter Grant.
Followed by the sending off of Ally Dawson in the 71st minute for an off the ball incident involving Mo Johnston. With Rangers now down to 9 men the Celtic Park ‘hame support’ are ecstatic. However, late into the game with approaching the last 10 minutes Rangers are awarded a penalty after a handball in the box by Roy Aitken. Ally McCoist steps up to make it 1-1. The end result. This was a hard one to absorb we had not beaten Rangers in a long time. This result basically hands Aberdeen the league. So an interesting game leading up to ensuing “riot”.
Leaving the Ground
As we leave the ground and onto Janefield Street the “scarfers” or Celtic fans as we liked to call them numbered quite around 4,000. As we reached the the end of Janefield Street a small number of the them were having a go, perhaps looking to take the result out on us. There was a small chant of “casuals get to f*ck” and “Celtic and Casuals don’t go” this was nothing new and normally fizzled out. We are all one team Celtic Football Club. The tension receded as predicted and we moved onto Holywell Street.
Strathclyde Police “Mounted Division” decides there is a ruck developing between opposing fans (denied by all subsequent statements by those involved). He orders five mounted police horses to charge through the crowd. The police seemed to think there was a riot going on. Then hit some kind of code red and caused absolute mayhem. They bizzarely turn at the top of Janefield Street and charge back down again. A 100 yard brick wall with railings outside the flats on Janefield Street toppled over with the weight of the crowd. People being led into strangers houses. Woman and children were lifted onto the balconies to safety. The street is a bottleneck. This ‘Balaclava’ style charge through absolute mobbed street was completely unnecessary with many casualties (on both sides) lying on either side of the road with innocent supporters being arrested.
Results of Police Inquiry published December 1985 exonerate police – no action to be taken. Witness statements from residents in Janefield Street had witnessed a ‘peaceful’ but crowded exit onto the street and only saw a cavalry style charge by the police.
No police or anyone connected to the incident was ever brought to justice. It seemed to us that it was simply more convenient to blame the Celtic casuals. Even the Celtic board at the time seemed to be to be happy to go along with that. This was to be known as the “Janefield Riot” the only riot we are aware of that night was caused by the police themselves.