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CELTIC SUPPORTERS FACE EURO TICKET SCRAMBLE

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BRENDAN RODGERS’ competitive debut as Celtic manager against Lincoln Red Imps will be watched by fewer than 1,000 Hoops fans in Gibraltar next week.
The part-timers beat Estonian title holders Flora Tallin 2-0 on Wednesday to secure a 3-2 aggregate victory and a second qualifying round tie against the five-in-a-row champions.
Victoria Stadium, which has a capacity of only 2,000, will host Rodgers’ team in the first-leg on Tuesday night with the return game in Glasgow a week on Wednesday.
Red Imps chairman Derek Alman is looking to set aside 960 tickets for Celtic supporters.
Alman, who also doubles up as the club’s president, ruled out moving the fixture to a bigger stadium as it would have been a “logistical nightmare”.

He said: “It is definitely coming to Gibraltar. We had thoughts in that direction a week ago with the possibility of us getting through to the second round.Lincoln-Red-Imps-Gibraltar-The-Squad-e1435931397232

“But we had to wait until last night to be certain, to be able to make arrangements, which gives us only four days for tickets and security arrangements in places such as Portugal so that is a logistical nightmare.

“We wouldn’t be able to do that, it would jeopardise the success of the match. We know we are foregoing a huge financial prize, but I think we would rather keep it small and manageable. At the end of the day, we are a small club.

“We are hoping to be able to allocate 960 tickets to Celtic fans. With the design of the stadium and the segregation of the fans, it works out well for us to give one side of the stadium to Celtic.

“We have just two main stands directly opposite each other, so it is more secure for Celtic fans to be in one stand and local fans to be in the other.

“We know Brendan Rodgers knows Gibraltar as he has been a visitor here, so he probably knows the stadium well enough.”

Alman joked about the match, saying he is looking to be “4-0 up in the first-half, anything else is a disappointment for us” before undertaking a more serious analysis.

He added: “It is our third year in the Champions League qualifiers and we have got through twice to the second qualifying round. This is a dream draw for us, to host such an illustrious club as Celtic here in Gibraltar, we are over the moon.

“To be realistic, we are a very humble club, we have just joined UEFA, so we are taking our first steps into European football.

“The population of Gibraltar is 32,000 and most of our players are local. We have to be realistic but we will fight it out and we will try to give Celtic a competitive match.

“Just getting into the second round of the qualifiers is a huge achievement for us. We beat the champions of Estonia whose population is 1.5million and that is a prize in itself.

“We are under no illusions as to what is the normal thing to happen. However, having said that, football is football and bigger upsets have been seen.”

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