In December 2008, it was reported that the children’s party song The Hokey Cokey could be banned at football matches in Scotland due to its supposedly sectarian content. These reports came after concerted efforts by footballing organisations, Scottish politicians, the Scottish judiciary and several NGOs to prevent football fans singing certain songs; these efforts were part of a wider programme aiming to end sectarian tensions and violence between some fans of arch-rivals Glasgow Celtic and Glasgow Rangers. Using insights from music sociology, and based on analysis of media reporting and of fans’ comments on the issue in internet fora, this article argues that songs and other participatory musical practices are far from a peripheral issue here. They are central to fans’ experience and identities, but can thus also perpetuate discriminatory attitudes where, by tradition or implication, the songs attack the religious or ethnic identities of rival supporters. Tracing developing attitudes to problematic songs, the article argues that there is growing but still insufficient awareness of how musical and other cultural practices can become sites of tension in an intergroup conflict. Moreover, there is a significant risk of increasing rather than decreasing tension when their use is subject to restrictions or even criminal sanctions, and this needs to be taken into account when formulating initiatives and measures to resolve conflicts. Analysis of attititudes to this issue in the fan communities and the media also points to persistent and widespread public misunderstandings on issues surrounding necessary and proportional restrictions of freedom of expression. Moreover, uncritical media reporting of attempts to curtail inciteful and provocative practices can be part of the problem rather than solution.