Celtic to play a Champions League game in Dublin? It could happen next season
Celtic playing Champions League football in Ireland might seem like a fantasy for the club’s many Irish supporters, but it could become a reality next season.
The atmosphere in Celtic Park on Champions League nights has become the stuff of legend at this stage and has been commented on by some of the best footballers in the world, including Andres Iniesta after Barcelona played the Hoops earlier this season.
That atmosphere could possibly be replicated in the Aviva Stadium or even Croke Park next season after Celtic Chief executive Peter Lawwell admitted that Dublin is amongst a number of options the club are exploring as they seek an alternative venue to play potential Champions League qualifiers at the start of next season.
Should, as expected, Celtic qualify for the Champions League again next season, they will have to play at least one qualifying match outside of Parkhead, which, along with other Scottish venues, will be out of action because of next summer’s Commonwealth games.
Lawwell said that the club are already in discussion with UEFA about alternative venues and that Dublin is on the list of possibilities, although Murrayfield is the most likely option at the moment.
"At the moment we have two or three options we are looking at internally,” Lawwell told STV.
“The most likely and the one getting the highest consideration is Murrayfield.
"It is clear it is the right size, the right quality for the Champions League game and it is nearer Glasgow than others. We are looking at others outside the border maybe in Ireland and the north of England but as yet we don’t know if UEFA would approve that.
"We are assessing the options at the moment before we go to UEFA.
"Clearly having it as close to Celtic Park for our own supporters is a high, high advantage that Murrayfield has.”
“There are other options, probably less likely, that we’re looking at,” Lawwell added.
“The Aviva, Croke Park or, maybe, down south, a northern Premier League club.
“There would be a big support in Dublin.
“The stadium was full there when we played Liverpool in the summer, so that would be great and there is a precedent in that we played at Old Trafford against Rapid Vienna.
“We’re developing a few options and then we’ll take it to UEFA and see what they think. I don’t really know until we see the possibilities.”
Judging by Lawwell's comments it doesn’t seem likely at this stage but Celtic supporters on this side of the water can at least dare to dream for now.