Celtic have been punished by Uefa for the 14th time in the past decade for supporter misconduct, receiving a £20,500 fine for the paramilitary style banner displayed in the second leg of their Champions League qualifier against Linfield.
Uefa’s Control and Disciplinary Body issued their latest penalty against the Scottish champions yesterday, also finding them guilty of a breach of safety regulations because of blocked stairwells at Celtic Park during the match.
Celtic have now racked up fines totalling more than £230,000 since 2007 for a variety of offences involving their supporters during home and away European games.
The club took measures of their own following the latest infringement which saw manager Brendan Rodgers depicted as part of an “illicit” banner with paramilitary references linked to the Troubles in his native Northern Ireland.
The section of Celtic Park which houses the club’s Green Brigade group of supporters was closed for this week’s Champions League qualifier against Rosenborg and the Premiership opener against Hearts on 5 August. Rodgers condemned the banner and urged the Green Brigade to keep their political views away from the stadium.
Celtic face the prospect of a partial or full stadium closure for future European games if their current rate of Uefa disciplinary breaches is not halted.
As Rodgers tries to steer the club back into the group stage of the Champions League, he has confirmed he remains in the hunt for the signature of Manchester City winger Patrick Roberts, whose successful loan period at Celtic finished at the end of last season.
The 20-year-old has been with City’s first team during their pre-season tour of the USA but it is understood he will be loaned out again, with both Southampton and Newcastle United interested in him.
Roberts can also play as a central striker when required and Rodgers would prefer to have that option in his squad rather than sign another out-and-out centre forward as back-up for Moussa Dembele and Leigh Griffiths, who both missed Wednesday’s 0-0 draw against Rosenborg in the first leg of the Champions League third qualifying round tie.
“It all comes down to Manchester City,” said Rodgers. “Pat would be amazing for here. I think everyone could see that. But it all comes down to Manchester City and how they see his future there. He has obviously gone away on tour with them and got some game-time. They will make a decision after that.
“It is also down to the boy. The boy might not want to come back. The boy might want to play in the Premier League if he has somewhere to do that. He might fancy a spell in Europe. But what he knows is that he has a great place here if it comes to that.
“The club can bring him here. It’s more going to be about whether the player sees this as the next step for him.”
With last season’s top scorer Dembele sidelined until September with a hamstring injury, Celtic are hopeful Griffiths will be able to return to the side for next Wednesday’s second leg against Rosenborg in Trondheim. The Scotland striker was suspended for the first leg, but would have been ruled out in any case by a calf problem.
“Leigh was out on the training field today,” said Rodgers. “We’ll get a better gauge over the course of the next couple of days. We’ll need to wait and see, it’s still touch and go. It’s all about getting him on the flight next week.
“He’ll be short of match fitness but that’s how it goes. It’ll be down to how he feels – that’s what it boils down to. Players are rarely 100 per cent, but it’s that mechanism of risk and pain. Leigh will want to play if he is somewhere near it.”
Right-back Mikael Lustig and captain Scott Brown will both sit out today’s friendly against Sunderland at the Stadium of Light as they nurse minor knocks they sustained on Wednesday night but are expected to be fit for the trip to Norway.