Damien Duff has labeled tonight’s ticket scenario as “bizarre” ahead of Celtic’s clash with Lazio.
The Celtic first-team coach will be on the sidelines tonight with Neil Lennon as they look to mastermind a special night at the Stadio Olimpico. With the pressure Lazio managed to put on us at Celtic Park two weeks ago, it would be an terrific result if we managed to leave with anything.
But when Celtic step out onto the Olimpico surface tonight, they likely won’t get a hostile atmosphere. Lazio have had to close the Curva Nord section of the ground due to UEFA’s ruling (BBC).
And Duff, who was speaking to the Celtic View this week (Volume 54, Issue 18, Page 6), believes it would be crazy if the Hoops support have a bigger turnout than the home side.
“It’ll be a bit bizarre if there are more Celtic fans than Lazio fans, but it will be great for us. I don’t think they’ve had big crowds so far for the Europa League games so we expect the Celtic fans will be there in force and they have tickets to back it up so they’ll be in the ground.
“It’s great having them there cheering you on and I’m sure the lads on the pitch will thrive on that.”
Lazio apparently expecting 25,000 in total tonight
According to Sola La Lazio, marketing director Marco Canigiani is expecting around 25k spectators tonight. He stated that he expects around 8k Celtic fans to be in the stadium, with around 20k having been sold as recently as yesterday.
The Stadio Olimpico itself holds over 72k in total (Sportskeeda). Therefore, if Canigiani’s prediction is right, that will still be a huge boost for Celtic. Much of the ground would be empty, and there would be no need to panic about the atmosphere.
Of course, that doesn’t change the quality on the pitch. Lazio have plenty of that. But without a raucous support cheering them on, we could get more joy than we first thought.
We’ve seen the effects of a big support at Celtic Park. There’s no denying the energy of the crowd inside Parkhead has helped roar Celtic on to six points from six in the group.
Lazio, meanwhile, had to turn around a 1-0 home deficit against bottom club Rennes last time out at home in Europe. There is a chance here tonight if we play our cards right throughout the game.
Duff can likely forget any idea of their being more Celtic fans than Lazio fans however. But by the sound of things, the home support certainly won’t be overwhelming.