The Celtic manager shared his disappointment that Celtic fans won’t be en route as he returns to Ulster for Friday night’s clash with Linfield.
The County Antrim man was speaking ahead of the rescheduled first leg of the second round of Champions League qualifying.
The first legs were played on the 11th and 12th of July, but Celtic’s visit to Linfield of Belfast was postponed until Friday 14th, given potential tensions around the annual Orange celebrations. Despite the change in date, Celtic have declined away tickets for the tie, amid safety concerns.
The unfortunate reality of the situation is not lost on Celtic boss Brendan Rodgers.
“That’s the only sadness for me,” Rodgers said via BBC Sport.
“It’s a shame for Linfield and for Northern Ireland because football is a sport in this country that is loved and to have had the two sets of supporters there would have been fantastic. The Celtic supporters will travel worldwide but this is a game that the football club hasn’t had the assurances for their safety, which is sad for me, coming back to a new Northern Ireland.
“Not being able to ensure that the supporters’ safety is guarded is a problem for me.
We will just focus on the football and next week in Glasgow there will be 60,000 there and we’ll enjoy the football in the home leg as well. You always want to hear your own supporters, but it won’t take a lot away from the actual game.”
In lieu of attending Windsor Park, Belfast City Council has seen fit to erect a fanzone at a Belfast pub, but the move has attracted criticism from Unionist politicians citing the £15,000 cost of doing so per the Belfast Telegraph.