CELTIC have released a statement ahead of this evening’s Champions League Group E game against Atletico Madrid at Parkhead.

The club have made an appeal for supporters not to display banners, flags and symbols relating to the present Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

In the solemn message, Celtic also thanked the fans “their positive support of the players and the team” during a time of worldwide sorrow.

The statement reads:

“We have witnessed death, violence and destruction in the Holy Land in recent weeks, with thousands of people – men, women and children – killed, injured and displaced.

“We are witnessing a tragedy of horrendous scale. As it continues, everyone at Celtic prays for all who have been affected.

“We also hope and pray for peace, and for humanitarian support to reach those who are in need and in fear.

“Many of our colleagues, supporters, friends and families have been affected by these events.

“Against this backdrop of conflict and pain, sport can promote peace and demonstrate humanity and empathy for all who continue to suffer.

“For the Club’s UEFA Champions League match against Atletico Madrid this evening, Celtic and Atletico Madrid players and coaching staff will wear black armbands, as a show of respect and support for all those affected by the conflict.

“The Club is also making a contribution to the International Committee of the Red Cross to support people affected by the humanitarian crisis in the region.

“The Club recognises that our supporters hold personal views to which everyone is entitled. As a club open to all, we all belong at Celtic Park.

“Celtic Park is where we come to support our football club. Recognising this, respecting the gravity of the tragedy unfolding and its impact on communities in Scotland and across the world, and in line with other clubs, leagues and associations, we ask that banners, flags and symbols relating to the conflict and those countries involved in it are not displayed at Celtic Park at this time.

“As we approach this crucial fixture, as ever, we sincerely thank our fans for their positive support of the players and the team.

“We thank you very much for your continued support of Celtic Football Club.”

There will be a sell-out 60,000 crowd at Celtic Park this evening for a must-win Champions League match for Brendan Rodgers’s side after two back-to-back losses in the section.

The Hoops were unfortunate in Rotterdam in the opening tie where they finished the game with only nine men following red cards for Gustaf Lagerbielke and Odin Holm as Feyenoord won 2-0.

And Celtic were left scuppered by a sixth-minute stoppage-time winner from Pedro as Lazio left Glasgow with a 2-1 victory earlier this month.

Now the fans will get right behind their favourites on an evening in which the rest of Europe will be watching.

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