WE are all more than aware of the magic that is a night of European Football at Celtic Park. Whether it was George McCluskey netting against Real Madrid back in 1980 in a 2-0 victory, a late winner scored by Scott McDonald against the mighty AC Milan in 2007, or the beauty of watching Rod Stewart, a grown man who has seen it all, unashamedly crying with joy after seeing his beloved Celtic get one over on a Barcelona side, that many regard as the best team of all time, in 2012.
The hallowed turf of Celtic Park possesses an energy unlike any other, especially on nights like these. It becomes a living, breathing structure pulling the Hoops over the line with every fibre of its being. Lionel Messi, Xavi, Oliver Kahn and Sir Alex Ferguson have all sang its praises on occasion, with the great Paolo Maldini going as far as to say that he had “never felt anything like it”. This is high praise coming from a man who spent twenty-five seasons in the Serie A and played at four Fifa World Cup Finals.
When it comes to Celtic Football Club, it is fair to say that we have the home fixture of a European tie well and truly covered. But The Bhoys need our back when they travel abroad for the return fixture. Away ties can prove to be some of the most difficult around, with the team often having to play in sub-zero conditions in some of the most intimating atmospheres the world of football has to offer. Luckily, Celtic fans are more than willing to make the trip in order to kit out as the twelfth man.
So, once the balls have been drawn and the fixtures confirmed, it is time to plan for the big trip. Away days in football can be expensive ventures, but that is rarely an issue when it comes to being loyal to the team. The hard part is making sure that you have the best experience possible.
So, let’s take a look at the three things every football fan needs to get right when following Celtic across the continent!
Remember Where You Are
Before we get into the nitty-gritty, let’s take a moment. For most of us, it is not often you get the chance to travel abroad and European football has the ability to bring you places you would never have otherwise seen. So, this tip is in relation to the place itself.
The day plans should be fairly straight forward, it should be easy to find your fellow Hoops and begin the pre-game rituals. But we highly recommend taking a stroll and checking out the local architecture before entering the fan zone, you will not regret it!
An all too often overlooked part of the trip are the post-match plans. This is where a little bit of research comes firmly into play. You will have the opportunity to live like a local does for the evening.
If you are smart with your time, you can visit the local hotspots, drop into some of the best casinos in Europe, sample some of the local cuisine and still have time to toast a Celtic win with your mates!
Flights are crucial, and while price is important, this suggestion is all about one thing – location, location, location! Make sure the airport you plan on arriving at is not on the other side of the country in relation to the stadium. Sure, you might be able to save a few quid, but time is money on these trips, so pick wisely.
The same is true when it comes to your accommodation. You don’t want to be too far away from the stadium or where the party will be. You want to be able to gather with your fellow-supporters during the build up to the game to ensure your vocal chords are more than prepped to sing your team to victory!
If you follow these suggestions, you can ensure that there will be no regrets upon your return!