Club Statement on Torbett- A Response

The club have released a statement in the aftermath of the James Torbett conviction;

FOLLOWING the conviction of Mr James Torbett at Glasgow Sheriff Court, Celtic Football Club wishes to express our deep regret that the incidents took place and sympathy for the victims who suffered abuse. We are grateful for the courage of those who have come forward to report abuse and to give evidence after such a long period of time. We have great respect for them and their families as they continue to cope with the distressing effects of the abuse they suffered.

Allegations regarding abuse at Celtic Boys’ Club first emerged in the 1990s. Although Celtic Football Club is an entirely separate organisation, we have always taken these allegations extremely seriously because of our historic contacts with Celtic Boys’ Club. All investigations by the police and other inquiries were given our full support. We encouraged any individuals involved to report all information to the police so that matters could be investigated fully. Celtic Football Club continues to encourage any victim of abuse to report these crimes to the police.

After the allegations became known in the 1990s, Celtic Football Club took steps to develop a new code of conduct and procedures to protect young people. Since then, Celtic Football Club has been at the leading edge of putting welfare and safeguarding protections in place for our young people. We were the first club in Scotland to appoint a safeguarding officer, developing policies for the protection of young people and monitoring and reviewing our procedures to ensure they continue to reflect best practice. 

The abuse of children is an issue affecting many areas of society, including a large number of football clubs, sports clubs, youth organisations, educational institutions and religious bodies across Britain. Celtic Football Club strongly believes that children and young people involved in football have the right to protection from all forms of harm and abuse and is committed to ensuring this and to promoting their wellbeing through continued cooperation with our children and young people, parents and carers and the relevant authorities.  

It’s a welcome statement, and its also quite informative.

It confirms that the club are not going to disassociate from the scandal, and it expresses regret that it happened. There’s little else they could add to that, apart from perhaps offering support, if requested, to those affected.

There are calls for a full investigation in the media and elsewhere, but whats important to remember is that allegations were investigated by the police when they were first made.

There was also a television documentary which asked for others to come forward, and this resulted in the conviction this week.

As I see it, after a police investigation which led to a conviction, and an appeal for evidence on national television, both fully supported by the club, there is little else that they could have done up to this point.

That is not to say that those who were represented in court were the only victims, and indeed there may now be further charges brought, and further witnesses who come forward.

It may even encourage others who were affected at other clubs to come forward.

It must be stressed that this is a problem throughout football, and indeed , society, and Celtic must not allow a scenario to develop where they are the only ones to be associated with the guilt, because that would mean that others would have been allowed to get away with their crimes.

In short, other offenders would be hiding under the blanket of publicity surrounding this case.

Again , thats not to absolve the club of any responsibility, but to encourage them to take the first steps in widening the scope of any investigation. Having seen the effects of having a man such as Torbett associated, however loosely, with the club, means that Celtic  are fully aware of the trauma affecting the victims, , and whilst other clubs and the SFA, who must bear some of the responsibility, may be reluctant to continue with any further probing, to my mind there are still victims out there suffering in silence, and their welfare is the priority, and Celtic appear to have addressed that in the statement, but by taking the initiative and offering help, all of those affected can be helped to seek justice.

By initiating some  kind of counselling for the families , via an anonymous telephone line, or email address, victims may be encouraged to come forward, with the protection of anonymity, to enable police to investigate further.

There has been one full investigation, and it was twenty years ago, when perhaps the facilities to come forward could be said to be inadequate, so an appeal for further information may help those who were too afraid to come forward.

But although initiated and supported by Celtic, it should be open to all victims from all sports, and all of those institutions where those who prey on our young were allowed to have access to the most vulnerable members of our society.

If its possible to find anything positive in this abhorrent crime, then it might just be to create a sanctuary where others who have been abused can move toward, and find the help that they need in seeking justice, and more importantly, a chance to rebuild their lives.

At the moment, people are making their conclusions based on hindsight, whereas perhaps we should be using a little more foresight.

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good article ralph but its probably best if the polis set up a helpline for all victims of abuse that way any sick peepul will be afraid to pollute it with thur nonsense


Pedophilia is a psychiatric disorder with at the moment no known cure. We all know what a pedophile is, they go to great lengths to continue with their compulsive behaviour. They volunteer for church groups and more relevant coach youth teams and find other ways to associate with potential victims, placing themselves in positions where they can abuse children. The SFA has apologised for historic cases of child sexual abuse, after a review found its protective measures to be “not fit for purpose”. Over 100,000 children play football in Scotland. As of November 2017 Police Scotland recorded 298 criminal cases… Read more »


Well said!


Excellent post Ralph.


at the bottom of this article ther are helplines for victims


the article is being moderated i dont know why


Good post Ralph. Agree with others who have suggested a donation to child abuse charities. I’d even suggest a charity match in aid of that cause which would also tell the world there’s nothing to hide here. On that note I actually emailed the pope suggesting that on a given Sunday every member of the Catholic clergy prostrate themselves in front of their congregation in a public act of repentance and penance for the harm done to children. Still waiting on a reply but he’s a busy man.


What email address did you send it to?
Not that i’m calling you a bullshitter or that….


Press office at the Vatican Monti. I am a fully paid up bullshitter but on these matters I’m not joking.


Ralph, What i’m looking for is for Celtic to put in place a means of contact & support process for the victims. I believe in doing so Celtic can offer the support that may have previously been denied to the victims. This Patrick McGuire cunt is shouting his mouth off about compensation claims being filed to Celtic, on what basis? I’d suggest that Celtic’s lawyers be on this & wind this cunts neck in! NO Celtic employee abused kids, Torbett was NOT a Celtic employee, the media are trying to paint the boys club as intertwined with Celtic, it wasn’t,… Read more »

The Cha

Patrick McGuire, Thompsons Solicitors, is acting for 10 of the victims, including Kenny Campbell, whose evidence was crucial in the conviction.

Until such time as survivors disown him and his firm, I’ll consider him as the authentic spokesman for them and what he states is what they want.

Celtic can’t have anything to do with providing support and counselling, other than making a substantial financial contribution to a reputable survivor oraganisation that can deal with this independently and appropriately.


Why can’t Celtic have ” anything to do with support & counselling”?
Don’t get confused with liability & support, they are different things.

Iljas Baker

Wish it were that simple Monti. But the Scottish media and others could make it seem otherwise and are likely to do so, especially if it is a longish term relationship. I think The Cha is spot on. Celtic is a football club; let it offer financial support to those who can offer specialist counseling services to the victims.

Thompson solicitors are a bunch of ambulance-chasing c☆☆ts! First off – prove beyond all shadow of a doubt that celtic and torbett are “one and the same” in a court of law. Is financial compensation going to right the wrongs committed by torbett? No, of course it isn’t, so why the threat of suing celtic? It’s all about money! This devalues these evil crimes committed on these young boys to satisfy torbett’s twisted desires, in my opinion. Years ago, I was witness to a horrific crash on the M3/j22 Basingstoke, where a truck driver was too busy fancying about on… Read more »

Christina Young

As I said in my previous post – Celtic are chartering very murky waters here and need to be very careful. I would imagine they have excellent legal counsel and I think yesterday’s statement would have been the result of this. As a club we are notoriously bad at defending ourselves but we have to make sure we robustly defend ourselves against any calls for liability been laid at our door and any claims for compensation. The Barry Bennell case down south led to FA wide investigation and reforms but, at end of the day, blame stuck firmly with the… Read more »


great post christine


Lot of very good points made throughout the debate plus a good article. I agree we must never waver from the point “perpetrators are responsible for their actions”, not their families, other people who work for the same employer, not people who live in the same street, have the same colour of hair or same name.
It would be good if Celtic and the SFA decided to do something for a charity associated with victims, other clubs who had perpetrators involved with them could chip in.


fuck the sfa


I read this morning that Thornton’s had sent to the Celtic board 10 letters, one from each of the victims, calling for a full apology and a list of demands with “Financial Redress” being “central” to the case. The letters do not stipulate how much the victims are claiming.

I also read that… ‘Ambulance chasing’ law firms face a financial cap on soaring fees, by the Scottish government.

The Cha

It’s Thompsons Solicitors, not Thorntons.

I wouldn’t like our righteous lynch mob turn up at the wrong firm. 😉


Its called Thornton’s in Dundee, Thompsons in Glesga. same firm, different make of ambulance. 😉

You mad about ETims or just plain mad? Why not buy the t-shirt at