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Lennon sorry to see Celtic fans on the move

Ronnie Esplin

NEIL Lennon believes it is a "shame" that the Green Brigade are to be dispersed around Celtic Park after failing to listen to repeated warnings about their behaviour.

The Parkhead club issued a statement confirming that they are to close section 111 of their stadium, which houses the Ultras group, known, for the most part, for banner displays and singing.

However, among other things, warnings to stop "lateral movement of spectators" and "body surfing" went unheeded and consequently supporters will be offered a refund on their season tickets or the chance to relocate.

The Celtic boss is in Sweden for the second leg of their Champions League third qualifying round against Elfsborg, looking to defend a 1-0 lead from the first game.

When asked about the issue, he said: "It is very disappointing because I think that section adds hugely to the atmosphere at the stadium. But there was a final warning after the Cliftonville game and that wasn't adhered to and the club have taken this decision. It is beyond me, it is a club decision and it is a shame that has come to this.

"But there are lines of dialogue still open so I wouldn't say this is the end but there are rules and conditions and it is all about safety at the end of the day, that is paramount to the club."

The former Celtic skipper admitted having a pep-talk with defender Kelvin Wilson, who has been reportedly subject to two failed bids from his former club Nottingham Forest.

Asked if the Englishman, who has recovered from shin splints, had asked the club for a move, Lennon said: "Certainly not to me, maybe to the club, but not that I'm aware of at the minute.

"Kelvin is here and in contention. I spoke to him yesterday. I am not going to discuss what I said privately to the player, that is between me and him.

"He is aware of what we think of him and he knows the situation and what lies ahead of him.

"He is quite calm, he is that type, if he is picked and he is ready to play I am sure he won't let us down."

Celtic won two qualifying rounds to get through to the group stages last season from where they went on to reach the last-16 of the competition before being knocked out by Italian giants Juventus.

However, despite the goal advantage and the clean sheet, Lennon believes there is still a bit of work to be done before the Hoops get through to the play-offs.

"We may have to win both ties to get through," he said.

"We have won one, and we don't have to win, a draw will be suffice but we are coming here to win the tie. Last season has given us the experience, we have been down that road before but it counts for nothing."

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