Partick Thistle unveil Gaelic signage at Firhill Stadium

Partick Thistle unveil Gaelic signage at Firhill Stadium <i>(Image: Gordon Terris, Newsquest)</i>
Partick Thistle unveil Gaelic signage at Firhill Stadium (Image: Gordon Terris, Newsquest)

New Gaelic signage has been officially unveiled at Partick Thistle FC.

The signs at Firhill Stadium are the first part of the Partick Thistle FC Gaelic language initiative to promote Gaelic at the stadium and in the local community and to increase the number of Gaelic learners.

Partick Thistle is now the first Scottish professional football club, and only the second in the world, to have bilingual English and Gaelic signage in place at its stadium.

Glasgow Times:
Glasgow Times:

The signage was unveiled at the club on Tuesday with pupils from Àrd Sgoil Ghàidhlig Ghlaschu (Glasgow Gaelic Secondary School) present to pronounce the signs in Gaelic.

The idea to have the signage in place came from Fiona McConachie, a Gaelic learner and Gaelic signage project lead at the stadium, after she said she was becoming increasingly aware of the lack of exposure to Gaelic in the community and because there is not much promotion of the language within sport.

She says she was "absolutely thrilled" to see the signs unveiled after first bringing the idea to the club around 18 months ago.

Glasgow Times:
Glasgow Times:

Fiona said: "It was only ever a dream. Never for one minute did I think it would actually become a reality.

"The first time I saw the Fàitle Gu Firhill sign on the gable end of the stadium I had tears in my eyes.

"I was more emotional seeing it than I thought I would be."

Glasgow Times: Gerry Britton, CEO of Partick Thistle FC
Glasgow Times: Gerry Britton, CEO of Partick Thistle FC

Gerry Britton, CEO of Partick Thistle FC (Image: Gordon Terris, Newsquest)

She continued: "Glasgow has one of the highest numbers of Gaelic speakers and learners outwith the Western Isles and Inverness.

"Historically, a lot of the Gaels migrated to Glasgow in the Partick and Govan areas so there is a large Gaelic element of the community.

"Since this project and the initiative has taken off, even more fans have come forward.

"Our stadium announcer is learning Gaelic, and one of our photographers is learning Gaelic, so all these people have been here and I couldn’t have told you about them but since this initiative has taken off and come to fruition it’s become increasingly apparent we have quite a big Gaelic speaking element of our support."

Glasgow Times:
Glasgow Times:

In addition to the signs, the health and safety message announced over the PA system during matches is spoken in both English and Gaelic, while early next year pupils from Àrd Sgoil Ghàidhlig Ghlaschu will teach the language to a group of Partick Thistle players.

Gerry Britton, CEO of Partick Thistle FC, said: "We’re an inclusive club.

"We try to engage with all aspects of the community so if we can make coming to Firhill Stadium any more attractive or more accessible to any aspect of the community we’re more than willing to do that.

"We’re also hoping it might now spark supporters, players and staff to take an interest in the Gaelic language."

Glasgow Times:
Glasgow Times:

Benji Bell, 16, a fifth-year student at Àrd Sgoil Ghàidhlig Ghlaschu, said: "I’m a Partick Thistle fan so to get the opportunity to come here today is enjoyable. I’m happy to get the opportunity.

"In the last few years Gaelic has been dying out but with more people coming to the Gaelic schools and having more signs with it, it gets more recognition and more people speaking it which is good for the culture of Scotland."

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Glasgow Times:
Glasgow Times:
Glasgow Times: