After 2,000 fans turned up for the friendly match against Preston last weekend, 9,000 attended for the first round of the Champions League qualifier against Midtjylland on Tuesday night.
Following a meeting with the local Safety Advisory Group, Celtic confirmed the increased number for the Hammers encounter. They “encouraged by the indicative figure of around 24,500 for the subsequent home game”.
A Celtic statement read: “We were delighted to have our supporters with us last night for the game against FC Midtjylland, and we really look forward to welcoming our fans once again for the match this Saturday.
“We can assure our supporters we will be doing all we can to work closely with the relevant authorities and welcome our fans back in even greater numbers in the coming weeks.
“Details on match ticket balloting for West Ham United will be shared in the next 24 hours, but in the meantime, we ask that you continue to familiarise yourself with our new protocols for reduced capacity matches at Celtic Park.
“We want nothing more than to welcome as many fans back to the stadium as quickly as possible, and therefore appreciate your patience as we continue to work behind the scenes to make that happen.”
Ange provides injury report and welcomes home Scottish Cup draw
Ange Postecoglou got the job done against Alloa Athletic in the Scottish Cup fourth round on Saturday.
A 2-1 win against League One side ensured advancement to the showpiece final at Hampden Park later this season.
The goal was to get through, but despite accomplishing that goal, injuries forced Callum McGregor and Yosuke Ideguchi to leave the Indodrill Stadium.
Ange Postecoglou spoke exclusively to Celtic TV about the duo’s fitness and the fifth round, which includes a match versus Raith Rovers at Celtic Park.
The Celtic manager said: “Callum is better today. He wasn’t in great shape after the game but I’ve exchanged messages with him and he feels a bit better, which is great.
“Knowing the type of character Callum is, for him to come off was something significant. Hopefully, his recovery doesn’t take too long.
“Yosuke is not great. I think I said after the game it didn’t look too serious but it’s still pretty painful now.
“I was optimistic it wouldn’t be too bad, but as everyone saw in the footage it was a tackle that shouldn’t have happened and should have been addressed on the day.
“It was a terrible tackle and one he hasn’t come of too well and will be missing for a little bit as well.
“The pitch wasn’t great in the last round against Alloa and they’re the type of things you want to avoid. The fact we’re at home in front of our supporters and on our pitch, I think is a good advantage.”
On the plus side, the team put in a strong performance on Saturday, led by Giorgos Giakoumakis, who scored his second goal for the green and white Hoops.
“It was good for him and more important it was good to get 90 minutes,” he said. “He’s had an interrupted first half of the year but he’s worked awfully hard.
“We gave most of the guys a week off in between games but he stayed at Lennoxtown with a few other boys and put in the work.
“He got through the 90 minutes pretty strong and scored his goal, so it’s a good foundation for him.”
Celtic’s brilliant player could leave before transfer deadline
Celtic’s Mikey Johnston might be on the move in the last week of the transfer market as Aberdeen look for a loan deal.
Aberdeen manager Stephen Glass, according to the Daily Record, is desperate to add additional attacking alternatives.
The Dons now want to loan Johnston out for the remainder of the season, which might be beneficial to all parties involved.
This season, Johnston has appeared in 12 Scottish Premiership matches but has only played 90 minutes twice.
With loanee Jota excelling in from the left-wing, Ange Postecoglou hasn’t given Johnston a big role this season.
A new signing has been made. Daizen Maeda can also play on the left, Johnston may find it difficult to break into the first squad if he stays at Celtic.
Johnston, like Ryan Christie in 2017, may be able to play frequently and really kick on if he moves to Aberdeen.
It’s worth noting that former Celtics star Scott Brown is said to have given Johnston a great endorsement.
Brown and Johnston were teammates at Celtic, and with Brown now assisting Stephen Glass as a coach in addition to his playing duties, Johnston has come highly recommended.
Celtic are currently dealing with a number of injuries, so Postecoglou may be able to postpone Johnston’s departure until the very last minute.
With his 23rd birthday approaching in April, Johnston may have to consider leaving Celtic for good.
Although 11 goals and 10 assists in 77 matches isn’t bad, it’s difficult to envisage him as a starting player for the Bhoys.
Callum McGregor has described Johnston as “sensational” and a “great talent,” but he has been plagued by injuries, particularly this season.
Johnston is a quick and crafty player with a lot of potential, but he may need some time away from Celtic — either on loan or permanently – to fully realize it.
Celtic closing in on deal to sign Matt O’Riley
Ange Postecoglou’s side has made moves to make additions to the Celts’ squad, and the latest they have their eyes on is English third-tier midfielder, Matt O’Riley of MK Dons.
The 21-year-old Englishman is reportedly wanted by both Blackburn Rovers and his former coach, Chris Martin’s current side, Swansea City.
As reported by The Athletic, Celtic is set on signing the midfielder on a 1.5 million pound deal by the end of the week, which will beat competition not just from England, but Europe.
Matt O’Riley, who sits ninth in goals and assists in England’s League One, was reportedly eyed by the Gunners and the Citizens. This, his speed and the ability to play anywhere in the midfield, will make him a great signing for Ange.
O’Rilley, the EFL player of the month in November last year, was on Denmark and Norway’s watch lists earlier this month (eligible from his mother’s side), a clear indication of his potential.
Since Swansea almost have Monchengladbach’s winger, Hannes Wolf, whom Celtic supposedly wanted on loan terms, Ange has a bigger chance to gain payback in O’Riley.
The youngster, if signed by Celtic, will see Fulham pocket some good money from their sell-on clause with his current side, but the contributions he has made since joining are probably worth every cent.
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