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Fans harming Celtics' image, says Brendan Rodgers

 

By Graham Luney

Brendan Rodgers has pleaded with Celtic fans to heed a "wake-up call" after the Hoops stated they would close the 'Green Brigade section' of their stadium for the next two matches after "serious incidents of unsafe behaviour" at their previous two home games.

Celtic were hit with Uefa disciplinary charges over an alleged "illicit banner" and "blocked stairways" during their Champions League victory over Linfield on Wednesday night.

The governing body took action over a banner which portrayed an individual in a paramilitary uniform during the Blues game and Rodgers said the club's image was being harmed.

"It's really disappointing that we are talking about stadium safety and paramilitary banners rather than our progress into the next round of Europe," said the Ulsterman.

"The fans have a responsibility to behave in the stadium and I would urge everyone involved to see the damage this is causing to the club. Hopefully this is a wake-up call."

Rodgers added: “The players thrive on the cauldron that the fans create at Celtic Park, but there are clearly boundaries that you can’t step over.

“Everyone knows that pyrotechnics, unacceptable banners and ignoring stewards who are enforcing basic stadium safety measures are simply not on.

“I really hope that the fans take this on board. It would be a real shame if they forced the club to take more permanent action to ensure safety and protect the club’s standing in European football, which is what we should all be aiming to promote.”

The decision will affect 900 season ticket holders in the safe-standing section of the stadium which houses the Green Brigade ultras group.

Chief executive Peter Lawwell told the club’s official website: “The behaviour of fans in the Green Brigade section at the matches against Hearts and Linfield was a serious safety risk, which has left us with no choice but to take decisive action.

“There is no room for debate. The safety authorities and the football authorities make the rules. They also enforce the rules.

“If the rules are broken, Celtic will be punished again and again. There is no hiding from these realities. Anyone who has Celtic’s interests at heart must recognise them and behave accordingly.”

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