Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Safety fears for Rapid Vienna players at Celtic Park

Sep 23 2009 By Gordon Parks

RAPID VIENNA will rip open old wounds next week when they face Celtic wearing red.

The Austrians last turned out in the strip when they beat the Hoops in the infamous European Cup-Winners' Cup grudge game of 1984.

They insist the decision to switch from their usual green and white to scarlet was meant as a joke.

But Parkhead fans - who have still not forgiven Rapid for cheating their way to a replay after Celtic beat them 15 years ago - will fail to see the funny side. Rapid's switch of strip, which has been approved by UEFA, immediately sparked safety fears ahead of next Thursday's Europa League clash at Parkhead .*

The Austrians admit the decision to wear red was taken to commemorate the notorious clash of '84 when Celtic were ordered to replay the second leg after winning on aggregate.

A bottle was thrown from the Parkhead terracing and play-acting defender Rudolf Weinhofer - who was yards from where it landed - threw himself to the ground, claiming he had been struck by it.

UEFA believed him and ordered Celtic to replay the game at a neutral ground. They chose Old Trafford and lost 1-0. The goal was scored byPeter Pacult, now boss of Rapid, who was later attacked by a fan .**

Last night Rapid spokesman Sharif Shoukry said:"We wanted to keep this secret, but yes, we are definitely going to play in red.

"Our away strip for the Austrian league already shows red and blue but for the Europa League and the special game in Glasgow one of the reasonswechose red was to remember 1984.

"It has helped us once and so why shouldn't it help us again? We have a sense of humour and certainly don't want this to be viewed badly in Scotland.

"We had other options knocked back by UEFA so we thought it would be good to wear the all-red strip for the first time since the game in Manchester - but it's not aimed at upsetting Celtic."

Celtic declined to comment but former Hoops hero Frank McGarvey insists Rapid's strip will unearth bad memories.

Hesaid: "I can't believe it - it is completely disrespectul to Celtic fans. Rapid have badly misjudged the feeling of hatred towards them in Glasgow .

"I can assure you this will not go down well among Celtic fans. Rapid have opened up a hornets' nest.

"Something has to be done and someone must step in because there is now a real safety fear for Rapid when they come to Glasgow .***

"If they believe this is a funny thing to do, they'll soon find out they are badly mistaken."****
Roland Knigshofer, of kit manufacturers adidas Austria, said: "Ahead of the game with Celtic, Rapid asked me to keep everything red because they wanted to play like Rapid in 1984."

*Interesting to note the language used here, nothing like getting the excuses in early.

** Celtc have recent previous for this, nothing from UEFA about how they are going to handle the possibility of yet another invasion onto the pitch from the scum?

***Looks like an open threat to me, any comment from the journalist to try and turn the comments away from this threatening behaviour?

****Apparently not, next line is further deranged ramblings from a demented former yahoo player.

Celtc - The most misunderstood club in the world - never defeated, always cheated since 1BBB

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