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CELTIC PARK

WHERE? In the East End of the city on London Road, near the Forge Shopping Centre, and directly across from the Emirates Arena.

Home to Celtic F.C. and dubbed Paradise by some, it is the largest stadium in Scotland with a current capacity of 60,832. The team have played there since 1892.

Like their rivals Rangers at Ibrox, Celtic Park saw major redevelopment due to safety concerns exposed during disasters at Ibrox and the Hillsborough Stadium in England. Also just like their nearest rivalsand most football clubs in Scotland, they were in a bad financial position in the late 1980s and early 1990s. Fergus McCann took control of the club, allowing the old terracing to be demolished and the current stadium constructed in its place.

 

The stadium was originally constructed in a disused brickyard near Celtic’s original ground on the corner of Springfield and London Road. Celtic’s strong ties to the Irish community were sealed when the first piece of turf lain was sourced from County Donegal, carried over by Irish republican Michael Davitt. In the first half of the 20th Century, Celtic Park was primarily wooden terracing. The Grant Stand, named for club director James Grant, was destroyed in a fire in 1927, replaced by a new Main Stand two years later.

 

In the latter half of the century, more modern touches were added, such as floodlights and the concreting of northern terrace. Roofing was gradually built over all the terraces, meaning Celtic Park was, at the time, the most covered stadium in Scotland. However, with the Hillsborough disaster and the mandate by the Taylor report that football stadiums must be all-seating, Celtic were left in a bad position to change this. Board disputes nearly tore apart the club, with outlandish plans drawn up for a new $100m stadium and banks driving the club to the brink of bankruptcy. Fergus McCann stepped in, and immediately rejected any plans for moving away from Parkhead, insisting that a new stadium be phased in place of the standing terracing. The plan was achieved in four years at the cost of $40m, with the west stand named after Jock Stein, the Celtic and Scotland manager who was the first in Britain to win the European Cup. A decade after the stadium’s redevelopment, his statue was erected, along with players Jimmy Johnstone and Celtic’s founder, the Irish Marist Brother Walfrid.

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