Sarajevo's stadium likely to be half-empty for Celtic clash

By Hamish Carton

July 9, 2019

Celtic’s trip to face FK Sarajevo may not be as hostile as first feared.

The Hoops travel to face the Bosnian champions in their Champions League opener on Tuesday night with the return leg in Glasgow the following week.

(photo by Alan Rennie/Action Plus via Getty Images)

Many fans were fearful when it emerged that Sarajevo played in the Asim Ferhatovic Hase Stadium. It seemed like Celtic would be in for a grilling in front of a hostile eastern European support that would be baying for blood.

However, it doesn’t seem like it’s going to be quite as intense.

(Photo by Samir Yordamovic/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images)

Stadium to be half-empty for Sarajevo vs Celtic

Sarajevo may play their games in the 35,000 arena but they fail to sell it out. In fact, that’s putting it lightly. The Bosnians averaged a home gate of just 4,294 last season – that’s under 13% of the capacity. (transfermarkt.com)

In June, the Scottish Sun reported that the club had handed out thousands of tickets to school and university students.

A Sarajevo statement said: “We need the help of everyone in the city for this game. Come to the Asim Ferhatovic Hase Stadium and cheer us on against Celtic.”

(Photo by Srdjan Stevanovic/Getty Images)

While handing out freebies may boost their numbers, it’s hardly going to create an intimidating atmosphere for the Celtic players. Our guys won’t exactly be quaking in their boots as they head out to some fair weather supporters who probably wouldn’t have bothered going to the game if they had to pay.

The conditions are still likely to provide a big test for Neil Lennon’s men while Sarajevo also possess a really good home record. That means it will be far from a cake walk. But it’s certainly a little more favourable than first thought.