A FEW years ago now I found myself in the company of one of the more prominent members of the Green Brigade at a dinner.

It turned out to be an interesting, not to mention convivial, evening.

It was not long after the controversial Celtic supporters’ group had been disbanded by the hierarchy of the Parkhead club following incidents in a game against Motherwell at Fir Park in 2013.

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An estimated £10,000 worth of damage had been caused to seats, a flare was set off in the same area and two smoke bombs thrown on to the park, one of which landed just yards away from their own goalkeeper Fraser Forster.

The Scottish champions suspended 128 fans while 250 season ticket holders who were billeted in Section 111 – the area of Celtic Park which houses the Green Brigade – were also dispersed to other parts of the stadium.

My fellow dinner guest’s disappointment at what had happened, both at Fir Park and subsequently, was clear and he offered both a passionate and persuasive argument as to why the actions of the club had been wrong.

It was no surprise to me, given the strength of his feelings and logic behind his reasoning, when Celtic reversed their decision shortly afterwards and reinstated the group.

He was, though, rather less convincing when it came to defending the giant banners showing, among other things, IRA hunger striker Bobby Sands which had been unfurled at the Champions League group game against AC Milan the month before that Motherwell match.

Another of those present at our table, a lifelong Celtic support, had been so appalled he had walked out.

To my knowledge, he has not been back to this day.

The Green Brigade member’s insistence the message had been justified and had met with the approval of the majority of the Celtic supporters was, given the disgust shown by the man sitting just a few places away, astonishing.

It is this misplaced belief they have the backing of all Celtic supporters which makes their more moronic actions, which have this season led to them being banned from both of the Champions League qualifiers against Rosenborg, the pre-season friendly with Sunderland and the opening Ladbrokes Premiership match with Hearts, so objectionable.

The Green Brigade – who will be allowed to return following the Hearts game this afternoon – have certainly done a huge amount to improve the atmosphere at their ground since being formed in 2006.

Modern football stadia can be subdued and soulless places. The Green Brigade, and groups like them, do much to rectify that. Neil Lennon was certainly appreciative of their presence during his time as Celtic manager. “They sing non-stop,” he said. “In the main, they have behaved themselves impeccably. They have changed the stadium. It’s a fun place to come for the supporters.”

There was nothing fun, however, about the illicit banners they held up or the chants they belted out in the Champions League qualifier against Linfield last month.

There was nothing particularly jolly either about the flares they raised underneath a giant flag display, endangering the safety of themselves and those around them, back in May.

Until the Green Brigade realise not all of those about them share their extreme views or approve of their outlandish activities, until they understand most Celtic fans want to see their team flourish on the park and the international reputation they enjoy off it protected, they run the very real risk of being broken up permanently.