“Today I learned about the history of Celtic and how the club has welcomed families like mine for over 130 years.”
When Celtic FC Foundation welcomed the Kariuki family to Celtic Park, to witness December’s 3-0 victory over Motherwell, this was the reaction of 14-year-old Irvine, who, after a move to Scotland from his home in Kenya, has firmly established his love for Celtic.
Irvine explained that, following desolate circumstances and economic hardship in his home city of Nairobi, the family were forced to apply for refugee status and make a daunting move to Glasgow in 2014.
He said: “My sister and I were very nervous when we found out we had to leave our home. It was different when we arrived here, but everyone in Glasgow was really welcoming, and we received a lot of support. This has become our home.
“As soon as I arrived, I heard about Celtic everywhere and they quickly became my team. No matter where you are from, Celtic is open to all.”
From meeting the Lisbon Lions to walking down the tunnel before kick-off, in this video we follow Irvine’s first experience of match night at Celtic Park:
Irvine finished by explaining that after four years of living in Scotland, his family have recently been granted permanent residency in the UK.
His parents, Anthony and Marion, are delighted to be rebuilding their careers here, while he and his sister, Yvonne, enjoy progressing at school in Glasgow’s Southside. Irvine is also a promising young footballer, making his way as a talented winger on the right flank.
He said: “Our journey until now hasn’t been easy but my family is strong and my parents have built a new life for us here. We are so hopeful for the future. My dream is to play at Celtic Park one day.”
Celtic FC Foundation are proud to support the One Community Project who are dedicated to helping families and young people who are new to the city to settle in. We also support Glasgow’s refugee community throughout the year, via a range of initiatives with Scottish Refugee Council and Refuweegee.