Sunday 18 March 2018

Celtic to review travel arrangements after players verbally abused in airport

Celtic's Leigh Griffiths was involved in an altercation.
Celtic's Leigh Griffiths was involved in an altercation.

Ronnie Esplin

Celtic manager Brendan Rodgers has said he will review travel arrangements after his team appeared to be verbally abused at Glasgow Airport ahead of the Champions League third qualifier against Rosenborg.

Striker Leigh Griffiths, available after a calf injury kept him out of the goalless draw at Parkhead last week, appeared to react to a comment made from a holidaymaker in the check-in queue next to where the Hoops squad picked up their boarding passes for the trip to Norway.

The person appeared to shout an obscenity and Griffiths was heard to say, "you're team's deid (dead) mate, beat it."

There were also suggestions the Scotland forward was then accosted as he made his way to the security gates on the next level.

Speaking at Celtic's hotel in Trondheim, Rodgers said: "I don't want to comment on it. I haven't seen it or heard about it, that's the first thing.

"The second thing, the club knows my feeling on our travel and the organisation with that.

"That is something internal for us and obviously with the help of Glasgow airport that we can get something a bit more suitable.

"Incident or no incident, it is something we can look at that allows us to travel safely, which is the most important thing.

"Any team in any airport in the world. If you are going from the first entrance to the airport, right the way through where you have to pass every element in the airport, every restaurant, every bar in a busy period, there is always a risk of that. Not just Glasgow airport but any airport, if that is the route you would take.

"But we hope that with the help of the airport that we could maybe organise something. If there was an incident then it is not something we would want and not something that a team should have to go through.

"You want to go, get checked in, get to your plane and get to the country you are travelling to safely and without anything else.

"There is nothing more to add to it."

Rodgers confirmed that Griffiths and defender Erik Sviatchenko, who missed the first leg with a groin complaint, are both in contention.

The Northern Irishman said: "They trained the last couple of days so they are available for the game or part of the game if we need them.

"Leigh has looked really good in the last couple of days. Mikael Lustig also had an issue but they all pushed themselves to make sure they are ready."

The former Swansea City and Liverpool manager remains perplexed that the champions of Scotland have to go through two qualifiers and a play-off to make the group stages of European football's elite club competition.

He said: "I don't believe the team that wins the league should be in the qualification phase, it never used to be the case.

"But of course finance and money changes the game and that means countries and clubs like ourselves, one of the biggest, iconic clubs in the world, are having to go through six games in order to qualify.

"But it is what we have to do.

"I first got the experience of it last year and it wasn't easy and it will be exactly the same this time.

"It gets tougher next year and we have to live with that and do our very best to qualify.

"But we want the problem. If that's what it takes for a club like ourselves to qualify then we have to do that so we can't complain."

Press Association

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