Welcome to my blog detailing my groundhopping exploits. My aim is to visit all football grounds in England (Premier league to the 8th tier) Scotland (SPL to 3rd Division) and the Welsh premier league I may also add grounds from other sports or countries. I hope you enjoy reading.

Friday, 20 April 2012

Glasgow Celtic - Celtic Park

Match - Celtic 2-0 St Johnstone
Competition - Scottish Premier League
Admission - £26 Lisbon Lions Stand (East)
Scarf - £7 Shirt £20
Attendance - 57,848
Food - Chips with Curry Sauce 5/10
Ground No - 109
Ground Rating - 9/10

We (Me, Will, Phil) awoke this morning at a decent time knowing that we didn't have any travelling to do for today's game with Celtic Park being only around a mile and a half walk down London Road from our Premier Inn hotel. therefore we were able to have a casual breakfast and relax before heading for the stadium. On leaving the hotel for breakfast we discovered that almost everyone that was staying at the hotel was also attending today's game as we were greeted by a sea of Green and White shirts.

Today's game was supposed to be the day that Celtic won the SPL title but a slip up in midweek against Rangers and a last minute goal in the previous days game for Rangers against Motherwell left Celtic still requiring 4 points to guarantee the championship. The game was a 12.45pm kick off so at around 11am we left for Celtic Park, the ground was easy to find as it could be seen a fair way down London Road and by following the thousands of hooped shirts.

On arriving at Celtic Park we made our way to the main entrance to the stadium (above) where there are three proud standing statutes of Club legends. The first is of Brother Walfrid who was the founder of Celtic football club there are also Statues of Jock Stein CBE a former Celtic Manager and Jimmy Johnstone a former Player. I have pictures but they don't seem to want to upload properly so may try later.

We then crossed the Car Park and went to the large Club Shop to purchase scarves, I also purchased the Celtic away shirt, this is the only time of the season I buy shirts as they have usually been reduced from the normal £40-£45 to around £20. The shop was packed with a very long queue but with 10 tills in operation we were soon out and on our way to the turnstiles.

As we had seats in the second tier of the ground we had to climb a number of flights of stairs they seemed to be never ending but finally came out into a smallish rather tight concourse and headed for the food kiosk with the usual Pies, burgers and hot dogs on offer. Unlike a lot of large grounds in England they also had chips which I had with Curry sauce. I wish I'd had a burger or a pie.

We made our way to our seats in the top tier of the Lisbon Lions Stand, where we had a great view of the action. Celtic Park is a large, mainly two tiered stadium the only single tiered stand was the South Stand to the left of the above photo, which has what I believe to be a commentary position suspended underneath the roof. The South East corner is home to a very small section that is handed to away supporters which St Johnstone didn't even half fill. The ground also has two large scoreboard under the roof at each end of the stadium.

The game started in lively fashion to the background sound of "You'll never walk alone" as Celtic created a couple of chances early on without really testing the keeper, as the half went on the chances were limited apart from a great chance for Commons which he dragged wide. The most dangerous player for Celtic was Samaras and he caused plenty of problems for the St Johnstone defence especially when he drifted out to the left but was left isolated too often when surrounded by up to 3 defenders. Samaras did have a good shout for a penalty mid way through the first half as he was dragged back at a corner but the referee must have seen things differently. On 19 Minutes there was a terrific standing ovation given in support of Aston Villa's Stilian Petrov, a former Celtic hero, who had just been diagnosed with Leukaemia. The first half then ended with the scores 0-0 and with hopefully a much improved performance in the 2nd half.

The 2nd half started with the visiting side looking the more likely to score with a number of close opportunities helped by the Celtic midfield who seemed to give the ball away every time they managed to get it back. Against the run of play though Celtic took the lead, a free kick from the left was floated into the box and Samaras climbing highest managed to head the ball into the bottom right hand corner of the keepers goal. Samaras deserved his goal for all his hard work but Celtic as a team probably did not. The second came less than 5 minutes later with St Johnstone again on the attack. A foul on the attacker was missed by the officials and Celtic broke quickly and ended with a cross from the right being turned into the net by the defender.

After the second goal Celtic calmed down and played the game out easily keeping the ball away from the St Johnstone players for large periods off time. The game ended 2-0 leaving Celtic 1 point away from winning the title, and with supporters already starting to celebrate.

After the match we made our way back to the hotel and after a quick drink in the pub were in the car for the long drive home straight down the M74, M6 and A14. We were back after a few stops on the way around 11pm.

 The only problem with the weekend was there was a distinct lack of goals and as such my average goals per game has taken a massive hit as it was above 5 per game but as they say "That's Football". Overall though we had a great weekend of football, drinks and laughs and I look forward to my next Groundhopping weekend. Hopefully my Dad will be able to make the next one.

1 comment:

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