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Lennon: I don’t understand why fans aren’t back at Celtic Park

The Celtic boss welcomed test events but wants his team in front of a home crowd soon.

Lennon: I don’t understand why fans aren’t back at Celtic Park SNS

Neil Lennon has urged authorities to allow fans back into Celtic Park, saying he doesn’t understand the delay when other countries have supporters in the stands.

This weekend will see a small number of fans attend two test events, with 300 supporters watching Aberdeeen against Kilmarnock at Pittodrie, and Ross County take on Celtic in Dingwall.

However, the widespread return of fans is still in the distance with the government moving the proposed date for reopening stadiums to October 5 at the earliest.

Lennon believes Celtic Park is ready to welcome supporters back and he said that having fans in attendance for the derby against Rangers on October 17 wasn’t unrealistic.

“No, certainly from our point of view, our stadium is as good as you can get,” he said.

“You know I watched the NFL game last night, the opening game of the season, the Kansas City Chiefs, there was 17,000 to 18,000 in their stadium.

“So I don’t understand, to a certain degree, why we can’t sort of accelerate this when all the protocols and measures have been checked and checked again by the club.

“Maybe it’s because it (football) is so high profile. But when we were playing in France (pre-season) they were letting people into the stadiums there.

“Ligue 1 has started and I watched Brest play Marseille and there was 5000 to 6000 in the stadium.

“And like I say, in the first NFL game of the season last night, there were 17,000 to 18,000 in the stadium. We can cater for that, no question.”

Celtic has previously seen a bid to hold a test event rejected but Lennon says it is “imperative” that supporters return.

He added: “We’re disappointed that we haven’t had the opportunity to get fans into our stadium because we’ve been in the forefront of everything positive, regarding this pandemic and in terms of getting the game going again.

“It’s a good sign [that test events will take place]. It’s a sign of progress and hopefully, we’ll get our turn sooner rather than later because it’s imperative for us that we get our supporters back into the stadiums.

“I think it’s hugely important. Obviously health and safety comes first, we have always maintained that but as far as our own sort of home environment is concerned it’s as good as anything around Britain and it’s ready to go.

“So hopefully this pilot scheme at the weekend will be successful and then we can get the green light to go ahead with our games at home as well.”

The Celtic boss confirmed that his new signing Shane Duffy will be in the squad that travels north to face Ross County and also welcomes Odsonnne Edouard back after injury.

He also said that Boli Bolingoli had been handed the maximum punishment the club could impose after he broke coronavirus quarantine rules and travelled to Spain without telling the club.

He added: “He’s not back in training and I think his representatives are looking at options for him elsewhere.”