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'Celtic fans absence a shame'

13 July 2017 National Sport


Last Updated: 13/07/17 11:27pm

Brendan Rodgers says Celtic fans' absence for Friday's match against Linfield is 'a shame'

Brendan Rodgers says Celtic fans’ absence for Friday’s match against Linfield is ‘a shame’

Brendan Rodgers expressed sadness that Celtic supporters will miss the first leg of their Champions League qualifier against Linfield on Friday, after the club refused tickets for safety reasons.

The original dates set aside by UEFA would have seen the Parkhead club travel to Belfast to play the Northern Irish champions at the height of the Orange Order marching season on July 11/12.

That sparked fears of trouble among the Glasgow club’s supporters and Linfield’s fans.

Following talks with the Police Service of Northern Ireland the encounter was moved back to July 14 with a 5pm kick-off, but Celtic refused their ticket allocation for the tie.

Speaking at Celtic’s hotel in Belfast, Rodgers said: “The disappointment is that the supporters aren’t there because wherever Celtic travel worldwide they are renowned for having great support.

Linfield face Celtic in the second round of Champions League qualifying after securing a 1-0 aggregate victory over La Fiorita

Linfield face Celtic in the second round of Champions League qualifying after securing a 1-0 aggregate victory over La Fiorita

Linfield face Celtic in the second round of Champions League qualifying after securing a 1-0 aggregate victory over La Fiorita

“Celtic is a club that lots of teams want to have as their testimonial game. Why? Because supporters travel in great numbers and how they behave when they go to those grounds.

“The only sadness for me, wherever I have been and travelled in this last year, the games have been great but the supporters have been brilliant.

“It is unfortunate they are not going to be there which is a shame for Linfield and Northern Ireland. Football is loved in this country and to have the two sets of supporters there would have been fantastic.

Celtic fans will not be travelling to Windsor Park on Friday

Celtic fans will not be travelling to Windsor Park on Friday

Celtic fans will not be travelling to Windsor Park on Friday

“The football club haven’t been able to have assurances for their safety which is sad for me, coming back to Northern Ireland and a new Northern Ireland and not be able for some way ensure that the supporters’ safety is guarded then that is a problem for me.

“Celtic as a football club protects its supporters and it was deemed for whatever reason that it would maybe be unsafe to travel or be there then of course there has been steps put in place.”

Rodgers, who revealed that skipper Scott Brown has recovered from an Achilles problem, wants midfielder Stuart Armstrong’s representative to make clear the demands for a new contract.

The 25-year-old Scotland international has moved into the last season of his current deal and the former Swansea and Liverpool boss wants him to sign an extension.

Celtic's Scott Brown was injured in 9-0 friendly win against Shamrock Rovers

Celtic's Scott Brown was injured in 9-0 friendly win against Shamrock Rovers

Celtic’s Scott Brown was injured in 9-0 friendly win against Shamrock Rovers

“He is in the final year of his contract and we hope that he will sign a new one,” said Rodgers.

“I speak regularly with him, he wants to be here. If his agent can speak to the club and organise a deal then that would be great.

“He is a boy that I really like, that still has development and is a young player that wants to be at Celtic.”


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