Line of Duty star Martin Compston has been filmed on stage singing with Celtic fans as they chant about the IRA.
The Scottish actor, famed for playing nice-guy anti-corruption detective Steve Arnott, was seen on video singing along with supporters as they chanted ‘I-R-A’ at the event in Las Vegas.
The incident took place while the 38-year-old was at the North American Celtic Supporters Federation (NACSF) in the US city – where he lives wife Tianna and their young son.
Compston, who is a life-long Celtic fan and who was a youth football star at Aberdeen, was filmed on stage with actor Gianni Capaldi as well as ex-Hoops midfielders Alan Thompson and Bobby Petta as fans chanted the song.
The video shows the men signing and dancing as audience members sing along to the tune of Daniel Boone’s 1972 hit Beautiful Sunday – which is regularly played at Celtic’s homeground Celtic Park.
Compston, who in the video is wearing last season’s Celtic away top, can be seen pointing in the air shouting as fans sing ‘Irish Republican Army. It’s the I-I-I-IRA.’
However Compston, a supporter of the SNP and who has been public in his support for Scottish independence, today denied he was singing about the IRA, insisting he kept to the original lyrics.
Line of Duty star Martin Compston (pictured right) has been filmed on stage singing with Celtic fans as they chant about the IRA
The Scottish actor (pictured right), famed for playing nice-guy anti-corruption detective Steve Arnott, was seen on video singing along with supporters as they chanted ‘I-R-A’ at the event in Las Vegas
Compston today denied he was singing about the IRA, insisting he kept to the original lyrics. Pictured: The actor shared a statement on Twitter
The video has been slammed by social media users for ‘glorifying murdering terrorists’.
It was estimated that, between 1969 and 1994, the IRA killed as many as 1,800 people – including approximately 600 civilians.
What are the lyrics?
The real lyrics to Daniel Boone’s 1972 hit Beautiful Sunday:
‘Hi hi hi, beautiful Sunday. This is my my my beautiful day
The Celtic fans’ IRA lyrics to the same tune:
‘We’re the I,I,I, Irish Republican Army. We’re the I,I,I,IRA’
One Twitter user wrote: ”Imagine this was Rangers, the media/government would be all over it like a f***** rash.
Media commentator Jim Gamble, commenting on the video on Twitter wrote: ‘What an awful example.’
Another Twitter user wrote: ‘How long before Martin Compston releases a statement saying that he would never condone behaviour like that, was caught up in the moment, doesn’t know those songs and apologises to anyone and everyone that might have been offended? I’m going for 24 hours.’
However Compston today issued a statement via social media in which he denied signing the IRA lyrics.
He wrote: ‘Not best pleased to wake up to a story eight hours ahead of me before I’ve had a right to reply.
‘Let me be absolutely clear, I unequivocally did not sing ANY sectarian, songs. I’ve worked in Belfast too long to see the damage done to think this stuff is a laugh.
‘If people want to change the lyrics to a song that is sung at Celtic Park, weddings, Still game, wherever that’s up to them, I’m not the lyric police.
The Scottish actor, famed for playing nice-guy anti-corruption detective Steve Arnott (pictured), was seen on video singing along with supporters as they chanted ‘I-R-A’ at the event in Las Vegas
Compston, who is a life-long Celtic fan and who was a youth football star at Aberdeen, was filmed on stage with actor Gianni Capaldi as well as ex-Hoops midfielders Alan Thompson and Bobby Petta as fans chanted the song. Pictured: Compston recently played in Soccer Aid
‘If it was an IRA song and I was bobbing onstage bobbing along I would understand the story, but I’m pretty sure Daniel Boone had nothing more than Beautiful Sundays in mind when he wrote that song and that’s what I was singing.’
In a later statement, released to the Scottish Sun, Compston said: ‘To be absolutely clear, I 100 per cent did not sing any IRA lyrics.
‘You will see from the footage, I actually pulled up and told others to stop when the words were being changed.
‘I’ve spent the last 5 years or my life working in Belfast and I’ve seen how people’s lives have been affected by sectarianism. I don’t take that lightly.
‘If people want to change lyrics to a famous song I cannot police them, despite my best efforts.
‘I was simply singing along to Daniel Boones’ Beautiful Sunday which is played at Celtic Park after every Sunday game.’
Compston, grew in Greenock, west Scotland and played youth football for Aberdeen.
After leaving school pursued a short-lived football career with his local side, before moving into acting.
Despite having no acting experience, Compston, described as a life-long Celtic fan, landed a role in Ken Roach’s film Sweet Sixteen, which became a cult classic.
He also starred in BBC’s Monarch of the Glen, before landing the part of DI Steve Arnott in smash hit series Line of Duty – which wrapped up last year after six seasons.
Alongside football, Compston has been vocal about his politics, and is a support of the Scottish National Party – and publicly supported Scottish independence.
He currently lives in Las Vegas. He bought a sprawling four-bed mansion in Nevada in 2019 for $420,000 (£300,000), after he relocated to the United States in 2019 with his American wife, their baby boy, and their pet pitbull King
Compston and his wife married in 2016 at Mar Hall, Renfrewshire. Their son was born in 2020.
Compston is reported to have moved to Las Vegas as Tianna is from the city, and they now live two streets away from her mother.