Celtic will next week become the first football team to fly into the Middle East since the UK Parliament approved bombing Islamic State in Syria when they travel to Turkey on Wednesday for their final Europa League Group A tie against Fenerbahce the following evening.
However, former Hibernian midfielder Scott Allan claims he is more concerned with starting a European game for the first time in the Sukru Saracoglu Stadium than he is about his personal safety.
Turkey is the most popular route into Syria for Islamist fanatics travelling from Europe to fight in Syria and the Turkish air force has been striking against terrorist targets since January 2014.
In 2015, 139 people have been killed and hundreds more injured as a result of terrorist attacks in the country. Allan, though, is not worried about any potential danger.
“No, we go to play football,” the 23-year-old said. “That is what our job is.
“When it comes, the boys will look forward to it. Fenerbahce is a big club and there will be a great atmosphere. It is our job to go over there and play and we will just get on with it.”
Allan insists that the tension in the region will not prey on the minds of the Celtic party.
“I think, for us, that it is just a football match,” he said.
“We don’t really look into that. We should be safe. It is a game for us and that is it, basically.”
Travelling supporters have already been warned not to use the underground in Istanbul after a pipe bomb exploded in one of the city’s metro stations earlier this week. They have also been advised not to make targets of themselves by displaying club colours.
Celtic have arranged to lay on private buses in order to take their fans to and from the game securely, however Allan stressed that there will be no extra nervousness for himself or his team-mates, for whom the game is a dead rubber.
“Not for a player,” he said. “It’s European football and these are the games you want to go and play in.
“Obviously, there are lots of circumstances going on just now but we just need to apply ourselves and do our job over there.”
Indeed, Allan expects the intimidating atmosphere generated by the home support to be quite enough for Ronny Deila’s squad to contend with.
“I don’t think anything could compare to going to Fenerbahce or Istanbul,” he said.
“Everybody knows the history of the club and their rivalry with Galatasaray – it’s like the Old Firm game.
“That is something to look forward to. Hopefully, we can get a result over there.”
Allan and his team-mates visited Glasgow’s new Royal Hospital for Children yesterday, handing over gifts for the patients as well as a cheque for £3,000 from the Celtic Foundation.
Among the players in attendance was Scotland full-back Charlie Mulgrew, who has been told that he will be sidelined for at least eight weeks after suffering a recurrence of a thigh injury against Ajax last week.
The 29-year-old had returned to action in that 2-1 defeat after a two-month absence.