Nir Bitton: Celtic condemn 'vile' online abuse aimed at Israel international

Celtic have hit out at “vile” online abuse aimed at Nir Bitton in the wake of last weekend’s defeat by Rangers.

The Israel international was the target of abuse including anti-Semitic slurs on social media.

The makeshift centre-back was sent off midway through the second half at Ibrox for denying Light Blues striker Alfredo Morelos a clear goalscoring opportunity.

Neil Lennon’s team had been on top before the incident but Bitton’s sending off swung the game back in Rangers’ favour and Steven Gerrard’s Premiership leaders went on to claim a 1-0 win which moved them 19 points clear at the top.

The club said in a statement: “Since its formation in 1888, Celtic has been a club open to all people, with a renowned tradition and ethos of openness and diversity.


“Celtic has forwarded this vile content to the police and considers that everything should be done to identify those responsible and that all appropriate action should be taken. Nir Bitton and his family have our full support.

“We do not believe that it is appropriate to comment further at this stage in connection with this matter.

“Let us be very clear, those responsible for such vile comments do not represent Celtic or Celtic supporters. They are faceless and nameless.

“For certain people to suggest that such comments represent the views of Celtic Football Club is hugely offensive and a disgraceful accusation we take extremely seriously. Nothing could be further from the truth.

“Celtic has always stood firmly against bigotry and racism in all its forms and it is hugely unfair to hold Celtic responsible for the conduct of whoever this may be.

“Social media unfortunately has become a vehicle for some of the worst behaviours, indeed, sadly, our own club, staff and supporters are often the subject of bigotry and racial abuse.

“All content of this kind must be challenged and condemned.”

Stanislas calls for action after ‘disgusting’ racial abuse

Junior Stanislas fears racism in football may never fully be stamped out, but the Bournemouth winger wants people to be held accountable for their actions online after he was subjected to racist slurs and insults about his family by an individual on Twitter.

Speaking exclusively to Sky Sports News, Stanislas detailed the “mixed emotions” he felt having received the abuse after scoring the Cherries’ winning goal in the 1-0 Sky Bet Championship victory on Saturday.

Stanislas has said he would be willing to meet the individual in person, while the 31-year-old also explained the difficulties his family have faced with racism, particularly the contrast of experiences for his “one-in-a-million” twins.

“It was difficult,” said Stanislas, when asked about his initial reaction. “Obviously mixed emotions. At the start the high of getting the three points because we were coming off the back of the defeat and we needed it, so as you can imagine everyone was buzzing in the dressing room.

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“I got on the coach, was on the coach for a little while, and then I’ve seen the message, so it’s obviously from a high to a low very quickly.

“Initially, to be honest, I didn’t really feel anything, which I guess is sad, because we’ve seen it all too much now, it’s becoming a regular thing.

“Although for me personally it’s my first sort of online abuse, I’ve had it numerous occasions growing up, so I wouldn’t say numb to it, it’s just becoming all too familiar really. It’s only when I sat back, analysed it and spoke with some of the lads – it’s obviously disgusting.”

On the reaction of his family and team-mates, Stanislas added: “I couldn’t believe it really. The family and friends who are the closest to me, they were sort of similar, although they know it’s disgusting it was more just positive messages like, ‘We’ve seen it before’, ‘You know how to handle it’, ‘Just ignore it’, those sort of things.

“Team-mates were more disgusted I think. Obviously discussions we have going on around race at the minute, and all the lads [have been] very supportive.”

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