Fans of Northern Irish champions Cliftonville have been so excited by the prospect of meeting Celtic in the upcoming Champions League qualifiers, they have been camping outside the stadium – Solitude which is the oldest stadium in Northern Ireland, opened in 1890 and has a capacity of just 2,883. The Reds share the stadium with amateur side Crumlin Star; the club are awaiting permission from UEFA to install temporary seats for the tie of which the 1st leg will take place on Wednesday the 17th of July.
Speaking to the Daily Record newspaper, the Solitude clubs manager Tommy Breslin has admitted to be blown away be the demand for tickets for the match: “Celtic are very popular here as indeed they are worldwide but the demand for tickets has been enormous. Normally when we play in Europe, there are a couple of hundred people, so it has been unreal.
“Preparations have been going well but we are nowhere near where we want to be. That’s just the way it is. Last season, we played and trained for 49 weeks of the year so this year I decided to give them a couple more weeks off.
“If I’d have known we were going to draw Celtic, they would have been in the next day after the season ended. That was our first game and we’ve only had five training session and still have a few players on holiday. I won’t be watching Celtic personally because they are over in Germany now so we wouldn’t have an opportunity. But the matches are on TV so we will get a detailed report.”
Cliftonville of course will be massive underdogs against their Scottish counterparts; the match will make them some good revenue and will definitely be a night the fans will not forget in a hurry as they will flock to the old ground to cheer their team on as they face the virtually impossible task.
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