Class BBC Football Focus segment pays tribute to Celtic trailblazers

By John McGinley

October 31, 2021

If you weren’t watching the nationally broadcast BBC show Football Focus this weekend, you missed out on a brilliant segment from Glasgow about trailblazing Celtic stars such as Virgil van Dijk, Odsonne Edouard and Gil Heron.

Glasgow-based musician Bemz penned an ode to these brilliant talents as well as others in Scottish football such as Alfredo Morelos as part of Black History Month. You can watch it via this link.

The Celtic supporter performs a spoken-word piece to passionately get across what football means to him as someone who has experienced discrimination. He identifies with icons such as Henrik Larsson because of their race as well as their skill, knowing they’ve likely experienced racism like him.

Part of the segment is devoted to Heron, who was the first black player to star for Celtic and one of the first to play professionally in Scotland. Heron, born in Jamaica, was spotted and scouted on a Bhoys tour of North America. He signed in 1951 and went on to make five appearances.

Heron is also the father of legendary musician and poet Gil Scott-Heron, who is also referenced in the video. He told The Daily Record in 2008: “You Scottish folk always mention that my dad played for Celtic. It’s a blessing from the spirits.

“Like, that’s two things that Scottish folks love the most – music and football – and they got one representative from each of those from my family.”

The concerning Celtic issue Ange must fix quickly | 67HH Sunday LIVE

The concerning Celtic issue Ange must fix quickly | 67HH Sunday LIVE

Racism is a continuing blight in Scottish football, with high profile incidents marring matches over the last 12 months.

In fact, Sky Sports have reported Celtic are investigating an incident at Celtic Park just this weekend. Everyone has to stay vigilant to ensure racist abuse is eradicated, not just in football but across Scotland and beyond.

So, contributions like this one from Bemz on Football Focus are important to raise awareness of what some people go through when attending football matches to this day. Empathy, education and compassion is needed, as always.

In other news, Celtic boss Ange Postecoglou’s brilliant Joe Hart comments.