Scottish football club Celtic FC showed their support for MMA star-turned boxer Conor McGregor with a huge banner before their UEFA Champions League [UCL] qualifying match at Celtic Park on Wednesday.
The tifo, in the shape of a UFC championship belt, the MMA promotion under which McGregor fights, was unveiled before Celtic’s match with Kazakhstan’s Astana, and featured a mock UFC logo with the words ‘CFC’ – the initials of Celtic Football Club.
The center of the banner showed roaring images of Celtic manager Brendan Rodgers, captain Scott Brown, and left back Kieran Tierney, accompanied by the quote “We’re not here to take part. We’re here to take over!” – a mantra made famous by McGregor.
Underneath the banner, fans created an Irish tricolor in the rest of the stand and the gesture of support did not go unnoticed by ‘The Notorious,’ who fights multi-weight world champion boxer Floyd Mayweather Jr. in a crossover mega fight on August 26 in Las Vegas.
“Celtic Football Club STAND UP!!! This is what die hard support from your fans looks like!
What a sight! What a team! Thank you all!” McGregor replied on social media.
Although based in Glasgow, Scotland, Celtic FC are known for their strong ties to Ireland, having been formed by Irish immigrants in 1887.
Celtic went on to thrash Astana 5-0 with goals from Scott Sinclair  and James Forrest with help from two own goals by the side from the Kazakh capital.
The match saw the return of the supporters group ‘The Green Brigade’ after facing a ban for unveiling a pro-Irish Republican Army banner at last month’s home game with Linfield, which led to a £20,500 [$26,000] fine from European football’s governing body UEFA.
It was not the first time Celtic banners have landed the club in hot water.
In August 2016, Celtic supporters defied UEFA by waving a sea of Palestine flags during their match against Israel’s Hapoel Be’er Sheva, also in a Champions League 1st playoff round match, in support of the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions [BDS] movement against Israel.
UEFA, which forbids political displays at football matches, fined Celtic £8,619 for the fans’ display; The Green Brigade in turn crowdfunded £176,000 to donate to two Palestinian charities.
Earlier this month, Legia Warsaw fans were charged by UEFA for a display that featured a Nazi uniformed figure holding a gun to a child’s head with the words “During the Warsaw Uprising Germans killed 160,000 people. Thousands of them were children,” in reference to the 1944 Warsaw Uprising.
On Wednesday, the Nevada State Athletic Commission granted McGregor’s wish to wear 8oz gloves in the fight versus Mayweather, as opposed to standard 10oz gloves.