NEIL LENNON reckons the financial penalties from UEFA incurred by the misbehaviour of a section of fans have cost Celtic a new player.
The Hoops hierarchy have decided to part-close the safe standing section for tonight’s Europa League Group E encounter against Rennes at Parkhead, as reported in CQN.
They took the step after being fined £12,900 by Europe’s governing football body for their supporters displaying illicit banners and making obscene chants at their European meeting with Lazio in Glasgow last month.
That was the latest in a procession of punishments to hit the champions, who are also facing another sanction for their followers’ use of pyrotechnics during the Lazio game in Rome earlier this month.
Lennon, whose side have already qualified for the knock-out stages of the competition, feels the team could have been strengthened with the money they have been forced to pay out.
The Celtic boss, speaking to the Evening Times, said: “It’s fair to say we could have bought a player for that amount of money. It’s £500,000 and it’s all going to UEFA. The club have taken this action now. We’re hoping it will be a deterrent for that sort of behaviour, but not for them coming into the ground.
“It’s not ideal. But the club have made the decision and there are rules and regulations the club has to adhere to, health and safety and so on.
“We’re all hoping this will be a short-term thing. There will be a little bit of a void there, but the players can’t think about that and I don’t want any negativity surrounding this game.
“We’ve had a great campaign, we want it to finish strongly and we want the Green Brigade back asap, but in the right manner.”
* DON’T miss the unbeatable match report from Celtic v Rennes this evening – only in your champion CQN.