CELTIC’S Europa League rivals Zenit St Petersburg have been accused of smuggling pyrotechnics into the stadium for their recent away tie against Real Sociedad.

The Spanish club’s president Jokin Aperribay accused backroom staff of the Russian side of assisting the team’s ultras to get flares into the Anoeta Stadium last week.

During the second-half – which Zenit won 3-1 – a barrage of flares were launched from the section housing the Russian support.

Aperribay said: “What happened last Thursday was a disgrace.

“For this game, there were 140 local police on duty when normally there are 80 and 180 members of security when normally 104 are employed.

“Each Russian fan was searched extensively upon being admitted to the stadium and we strongly suspect that backroom staff from the Zenit delegation were instrumental in getting the pyrotechnic material to the ultras.

“We’ve voiced this view to UEFA ‘s Disciplinary committee and hope they act accordingly against the Russian side”.

Zenit have been hit with disciplinary proceedings against the club for their supporters’ behaviour at the match, including for acts of damage, setting off fireworks, throwing objects and lack of order within the stadium.

The Russians are already facing a partial stadium closure for Celtic ‘s visit to St Petersburg after being found guilty of racist behaviour by UEFA for displaying a banner during their group stage clash against Macedonian club FK Vardar.

Brendan Rodgers’ men will face Zenit at Parkhead on February 15 before travelling for the return leg a week later.


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