Thursday, July 18, 2013

Sectarian chanting at Celtic UEFA Champions League clash

The arrival of hundreds of Celtic fans in Belfast for last night’s match against Cliftonville passed off largely without incident.

However, sectarian chants during the Champions League qualifier angered many football fans watching the game live on television.

Many loyalists used social networking sites last night to call on elected representatives from the nationalist community to condemn those responsible.

There had been fears the game in north Belfast could add to an already tense atmosphere after five nights of rioting in parts of the city.

Both sets of fans spent much of yesterday drinking together in the area around Cliftonville’s Solitude ground after the Scottish fans were warned not to sport their green and white hoops around the city centre.

Speaking prior to the game, Celtic manager Neil Lennon said he hoped nothing would happen to mar the occasion.

Commenting on previous nights of violence in the area, Lennon said: “It hasn’t had an impact on us and I am hoping the night will be remembered for all the right reasons.”

Celtic’s website had posted advice for travelling fans. Quoting advice from Cliftonville director David Begley, it said: “Belfast city centre is a very welcoming place... but it’s probably best to avoid wearing colours into the city centre.

“I would say to all fans to make your way up to Cliftonville Road from the city centre. By doing that you can avoid difficulties. It can be tricky as 100 yards in the wrong direction and you could be in the wrong place.”

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