CELTIC have declared they are “extremely surprised” police have moved to publicly distance themselves from the club’s decision to prevent fans attending tomorrow night’s game in Belfast.

The Hoops, who are due to play Linfield in the first leg of their Champions League qualifier at Windsor Park, revealed last month no tickets would be made available to their support.

The tie against the Irish League champions has already been moved back to prevent a clash with the height of Belfast’s marching season on July 12.

Celtic stressed the decision was made to ensure the safety and security of all Hoops followers travelling and attending matches.

With the tie one day away, the Police Service of Northern Ireland issued a statement yesterday which caused surprise at Celtic Park.

A brief statement on the force’s Twitter account read: “Contrary to some reports, the decision of Celtic FC not to accept their allocation of ‘away’ tickets for the game against Linfield in Belfast was a decision taken solely by the football club and was not made by PSNI.”

Replying to the force’s comments, the treble-winners tweeted: “We are extremely surprised by this statement and the timing of the release.

“This is clearly not our understanding of the situation and we stand by our statement of 23rd June.

“We feel there is nothing to be gained by commenting further until the tie has been played.”

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