Belfast Telegraph

Monday 29 December 2014

Don't wear your colours in Belfast city centre, Celtic fans warned

Celtic fans sing Walk On during the UEFA Champions League Group G match between Celtic and FC Spartak Moscow at Celtic Park on December 5, 2012 in Glasgow, Scotland.  (Photo by Jeff J Mitchell/Getty Images)
Celtic fans sing Walk On during the UEFA Champions League Group G match between Celtic and FC Spartak Moscow at Celtic Park on December 5, 2012 in Glasgow, Scotland. (Photo by Jeff J Mitchell/Getty Images)
A car blazes on the Albertbridge Road in east Belfast
The Celtic squad at Solitude for this evenings training session ahead of the Champions League qualifier between Clistonville and Celtic tomorrow evening. Picture Charles McQuillan/Pacemaker.
Cliftonville FC sell around 500 tickets at Sean Graham's on King Street Belfast on Tuesday morning for their eagerly-awaited Champions League match against Celtic at Solitude. The tickets have become available because Celtic returned some of their allocation for Wednesday's game. Picture By: Arthur Allison.
Cliftonville tasted title success in April and want to repeat the feat
Cliftonville players warm up at Solitude for the big clash
The Celtic squad at Solitude for this evenings training session ahead of the Champions League qualifier between Clistonville and Celtic tomorrow evening. Picture Charles McQuillan/Pacemaker.
Celtic training ahead of Wednesday nights Champions League 2nd Qual, 1st Leg game against Cliftonville Celtic's Efe Ambrose
Celtic training ahead of Wednesday nights Champions League 2nd Qual, 1st Leg game against Cliftonville. Picture by Darren Kidd /Presseye.com
Celtic training ahead of Wednesday nights Champions League 2nd Qual, 1st Leg game against Cliftonville Celtic's Georgios Samaras
Celtic training ahead of Wednesday nights Champions League 2nd Qual, 1st Leg game against Cliftonville Celtic's Mikael Lustig and Scott Brown. Picture by Darren Kidd /Presseye.com
Manager Neil Lennon at Solitude alongside nine year old Jay Betty from Lurgan, Lennon's home town for this evenings training session ahead of the Champions League qualifier between Clistonville and Celtic tomorrow evening. Picture Charles McQuillan/Pacemaker.
Celtic training ahead of Wednesday nights Champions League 2nd Qual, 1st Leg game against Cliftonville Celtic's Emillio Izaguirre
Cliftonville FC sell around 500 tickets at Sean Graham's on King Street Belfast on Tuesday morning for their eagerly-awaited Champions League match against Celtic at Solitude. The tickets have become available because Celtic returned some of their allocation for Wednesday's game. Pictured after getting their tickets Patrick McDonnald,Caolan Collins,Ryan Donnelly,Aaron Donnelly,Ciaran Donnelly and Jennifer Donnelly. Picture By: Arthur Allison.
Cliftonville FC sell around 500 tickets at Sean Graham's on King Street Belfast on Tuesday morning for their eagerly-awaited Champions League match against Celtic at Solitude. The tickets have become available because Celtic returned some of their allocation for Wednesday's game. 1st to receive his two tickets Adrian Morgan who travelled from Dublin last night. Picture By: Arthur Allison.
Celtic training ahead of Wednesday nights Champions League 2nd Qual, 1st Leg game against Cliftonville. Jay Beatty 9 from Lurgan
Cliftonville FC sell around 500 tickets at Sean Graham's on King Street Belfast on Tuesday morning for their eagerly-awaited Champions League match against Celtic at Solitude. The tickets have become available because Celtic returned some of their allocation for Wednesday's game. Pictured after getting their tickets Katie Quinn and Nataile Murphy. Picture By: Arthur Allison.
Celtic training ahead of Wednesday nights Champions League 2nd Qual, 1st Leg game against Cliftonville Celtic's Georgios Samaras
Manager Neil Lennon at this afternoon's Celtic press conference which took place at the Culloden ahead of the Champions League qualifier between Clistonville and Celtic tomorrow evening at Solitude, Belfast. Picture Charles McQuillan/Pacemaker.
Crowds gather outside Sean Graham bookmakers in hope that they will get one of the last few tickets for the Cliftonville v Celtic on Wednesday night. Young fans Carian, Donnelly, Caolan Collins along with Aaron and Ryan Donnelly. Picture by Matt Mackey/Presseye.com
Anthony Stokes at Solitude for this evenings training session ahead of the Champions League qualifier between Clistonville and Celtic tomorrow evening. Picture Charles McQuillan/Pacemaker.
Cliftonville manager Tommy Breslin and Jaimie McGovern during a press conference ahead of Wednesday nights Champions League 2nd Qual, 1st Leg game against Celtic
Cliftonville manager Tommy Breslin and Jaimie McGovern during a press conference ahead of Wednesday nights Champions League 2nd Qual, 1st Leg game against Celtic
Neil Lennon takes Celtic to Solitude for the first leg of their Champions League qualifier against Cliftonville

Celtic fans have been warned not to wear the club shirt in the centre of Belfast ahead of tonight's Champions League glamour tie.

It came as a fifth night of trouble erupted in east Belfast, where petrol bombs were thrown at police. However, the violence was not on the same scale as previous nights.

Cliftonville are hosting the Scottish giants in the qualifying round of one of world football's most illustrious competitions and the biggest match in the north Belfast club's history.

Following several nights of rioting, Cliftonville officials have advised Celtic supporters not to wear the Glasgow club's famous green and white hooped jersey in the city centre ahead of the Solitude game.

The warning was carried on Celtic's website and quotes Cliftonville FC director David Begley, who said: "Belfast city centre is a very welcoming place but people are very sensitive about colours, not just this week.

"As a result, it's probably best to avoid wearing colours into the city centre tomorrow.

"I would say to all fans to make your way up to Cliftonville Road from the city centre.

"There are lots of friendly pubs here, and indeed our own bar, the Cliftonville Social Club.

"By doing that you can avoid difficulties. It can be tricky as 100 yards in the wrong direction and you could be in the wrong place."

Celtic boss Neil Lennon, from Lurgan, Co Armagh, said he hoped the game against the Irish League champions would be remembered for matters on the pitch.

Asked about the recent disorder, Lennon replied: "Preparations have gone really well so far – it hasn't had an impact on us.

"There might be things going on in the background that police are working hard at but as far as we are aware this has been a normal Champions League trip."

Last night a friendly football match between two Belfast clubs was cancelled just hours before kick-off due to fears it would be hijacked by sectarian troublemakers.

Premier League Glentoran were due to travel to Celtic Park in west Belfast to face Championship One side Donegal Celtic in a pre-season match.

But just before kick-off both clubs announced the game had been postponed on the advice of police and football's governing body here, the Irish Football Association. A statement on Glentoran's website read: "Following advice from the PSNI and the IFA national security officer, tonight's planned pre-season friendly between Donegal Celtic and Glentoran has been postponed."

Donegal Celtic also confirmed the postponement, but the IFA n was unavailable for comment. Last night's friendly was called off after four nights of rioting across Belfast which left 71 police officers injured. The worst trouble was in north Belfast on Friday when a Twelfth feeder parade was prevented from marching past Ardoyne shops as a result of a ruling by the Parades Commission.

Last night, petrol bombs were thrown at police and two vehicles were set alight at Templemore Avenue in east Belfast.

Dozens of PSNI Land Rovers were positioned in the vicinity of the Newtownards and Albertbridge Roads where a large crowd had gathered. Police warned members of the public to avoid the Lower Newtownards Road while they maintained a sizeable presence in the Short Strand area.

In north Belfast, more than 200 loyalists protested at Twaddell Avenue and a crowd of nationalist residents gathered at the Ardoyne shops.

Police said there were pockets of disorder in Woodvale, Mount Vernon and North Queen Street, where small fires were started.

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