Celtic chiefs hope fans will enjoy Cliftonville party
Published 17/07/2013 | 07:59
Neil Lennon and Celtic chief executive Peter Lawwell have both expressed hope that supporters will enjoy a trouble-free, carnival atmosphere at Solitude tonight.
There is tension on the streets of north Belfast, particularly in Ardoyne where trouble broke out following the Twelfth parades, however, both Cliftonville and Celtic are confident the Champions League qualifier will be an occasion to savour.
There will certainly be no repeat of the horrible scenes of 1984 when the game between the sides at Solitude was abandoned 11 minutes from time because of crowd disorder.
Rubber bullets were fired by police and 25 people were taken to hospital.
While not perfect, the Ulster political climate is much calmer today.
Hoops chief Lennon said: "As usual, we are sure our fans will travel in great numbers and of course we are sure they will support the club passionately and positively.
"Our fans have developed a great record of success over many years and we hope that they continue to show how to support their club in the best way possible, ensuring we maintain our great reputation."
Celtic chief executive Lawwell added: "Following our efforts last season we have been rewarded with this opportunity and I know our fans will be looking forward to another European campaign with great excitement.
"We know there will be many fans travelling to the match both from within Ireland as well as from Scotland and beyond.
"Clearly, as is always the case, we wish to ensure that all our fans enjoy a safe and positive experience and that our supporters back the club in a positive manner.
"We have developed an excellent relationship with Cliftonville and have done all we can to ensure that the match will be a great occasion and that the safety of our supporters is given paramount importance."