Sport

Brendan Rodgers concerned by verbal abuse of his players

Celtic manager Brendan Rodgers says he has concerns over travel arrangements for his side after striker Leigh Griffiths was involved in an altercation at Glasgow Airport ahead of the Champions League qualifier against Rosenborg
From Ronnie Esplin in Trondheim

Uefa Champions League third qualifying round, second leg:

Rosenborg v Celtic (tonight, 7.45pm, live on eir Sport 2 and Premier Sports)

CELTIC manager Brendan Rodgers has said he will review travel arrangements after his team appeared to be verbally abused at Glasgow Airport ahead of the Champions League third qualifier against Rosenborg.

Striker Leigh Griffiths, available after a calf injury kept him out of the goalless draw at Parkhead last week, appeared to react to a comment made from a holidaymaker in the check-in queue next to where the Hoops squad picked up their boarding passes for the trip to Norway.

The person appeared to shout an obscenity and Griffiths was heard to say, “you’re team’s deid (dead) mate, beat it.”

There were also suggestions the Scotland forward was then accosted as he made his way to the security gates on the next level.

Speaking at Celtic’s hotel in Trondheim, Rodgers said: “I don’t want to comment on it. I haven’t seen it or heard about it, that’s the first thing.

“The second thing, the club knows my feeling on our travel and the organisation with that.

“That is something internal for us and obviously with the help of Glasgow airport that we can get something a bit more suitable.

“Incident or no incident, it is something we can look at that allows us to travel safely, which is the most important thing.

“Any team in any airport in the world. If you are going from the first entrance to the airport, right the way through where you have to pass every element in the airport, every restaurant, every bar in a busy period, there is always a risk of that. Not just Glasgow airport but any airport, if that is the route you would take.

“But we hope that with the help of the airport that we could maybe organise something. If there was an incident then it is not something we would want and not something that a team should have to go through.

“You want to go, get checked in, get to your plane and get to the country you are travelling to safely and without anything else.

“There is nothing more to add to it.”

Griffiths, meanwhile, is expected to play some part at the Lerkendal Stadion, although he is not certain to start.

Celtic assistant manager Chris Davies said: “Leigh will be travelling with us. He has been working hard to get back.

“He is available for selection, as is Erik Sviatchenko (who is) coming with us as well.

“He (Griffiths) has obviously not been training all the time in the last few weeks, but he has had some good rehab, has worked very, very hard and he is available for us, which is a big boost.”

Celtic played without a recognised striker in the goalless first leg of the third qualifying-round tie.

Moussa Dembele is out for several weeks with a hamstring injury and Griffiths was suspended for one match, but the Scotland striker would have missed the game with a calf problem anyway.

Asked if he expected Griffiths to play in Norway, Davies said: “I think so, yes, without giving away too much whether he is going to start or not. He is an important player for us and it’s good for us going into the game.

“It’s important (to have him available). We have a lot of players who are important in terms of scoring goals and creating chances but Griff is an important player

for us, he has been since he’s been here.

“The manager works closely with him, he has a good relationship with him and we are really pleased that he is available for selection.”

Midfielder Tom Rogic played the ‘false nine’ position against the Eliteserien leaders but without success and manager Brendan Rodgers utilised winger James Forrest up front in a 5-0 friendly win over Sunderland on Saturday.

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