THE Celtic fans group the Green Brigade sparked controversy after unveiling what appeared to be a paramilitary-style display before the Hoops' Champions League clash with Linfield.

It came at the start of the match at Parkhead in which Celtic beat Linfield 4-0, and 6-0 on aggregate to ease into the third qualifying round of the Champions League.

The Green Brigade were missing from Celtic's friendly defeat to Lyon at the weekend after a 'communication issue' was reported.

Strathallan Times:

It was confirmed by the club's supporter liaison officer the group, usually found in the safe standing section, were not at the match.

Reports on social media suggested the Ultras had arrived at the stadium before leaving after a discussion with stewards about access to equipment.

SLO John Paul Taylor attributed the issue to an "internal/communication issue" and assured he would look to address the situation.

But the issue seems to have been sorted out as the group were out in force at Parkhead's safe standing section.

However the paramilitary-style display did not go unnoticed by some Rangers fans with some going onto social media to condemn what they saw as "IRA banners".

One said: "Well done Celtic. More thinly veiled IRA propaganda."

Another said: "Don't think Celtic should rest easy after this banner."

In September, police launched a probe at an Old Firm match after a toilet block at Celtic Park was vandalised and hanged effigies were suspended from a tier inside the stadium.

Strathallan Times:

Following the first league clash between the teams in four years, pictures emerged on social media of a toilet block that appeared to have been smashed to pieces by the travelling Rangers support.

Celtic supporters also came under fire for producing a banner which read "Hun Scum" and dangling two plastic effigies with hands tied behind their backs in the manner of an execution from the upper tier of the Jock Stein Stand.

The hanging blow up dolls adorned with Rangers scarves could be seen at the start of the live TV coverage of the match as the players took to the pitch.

Rival fans have disputed the significance of the effigies stunt with some suggesting it was making reference to the Rangers plc liquidation in 2012, but others emphasised that they were mock executions.  

Witnesses also described offensive and sectarian chanting from both sets of fans including IRA songs and the notorious Billy Boys.

Fans complaining to the First Minister about the events were told that the Scottish Government recognises that some of the behaviour on display during the match "may be likely to fall" under the provision of section 1 of the Offensive Behaviour at Football and Threatening Communications (Scotland) Act 2012 "insofar as it could have led to public disorder".