Police applaud good behaviour of Celtic army
By Auslan Cramb
The tens of thousands of disconsolate Celtic fans, who flew home
yesterday after watching their team lose to Porto in the Uefa Cup
Final, have been praised by Spanish and Scottish police for their
According to the latest estimates, more than 70,000 fans travelled to
the match, but no arrests were made before or after the game in
Seville on Wednesday night.
A downbeat Martin O'Neill walks past the UEFA Cup
After a party that began at the weekend and brought the Spanish city
to a standstill before the match, a spokesman for the British
consulate in Andalucia said the supporters were "consummate
ambassadors for Scotland".
Assistant Chief Constable Ricky Gray, of Strathclyde Police, added:
"We have been in close contact with our officers who are out in
Seville, and they have confirmed that there have been no arrests of
Celtic fans overnight.
"Despite the teams' defeat and the lengthy delays at the airport, the
supporters have been fantastic. The comment from the consulate is
brilliant praise for thousands of supporters facing a long journey
Jack McConnell, the First Minister, said the result was deeply
disappointing for everyone in Scotland but added: "The team showed
great sportsmanship and I believe that Celtic and their fans put
Scottish football back on the map of Europe."
Around 16,000 supporters passed through Glasgow airport alone
yesterday, making it the busiest day in its history.
Despite losing 3-2 in extra time, some fans who were too young to
remember Celtic's victory in the European Cup in 1967, described it as
the best day of their lives.
John Stevenson, 24, of Croftfoot, Glasgow, said: "It's a big
disappointment, but we played well and Porto played well too. The
atmosphere was superb, and none of us will ever forget it."
While most of the supporters were flying back to UK and Irish airports
from Spain and Portugal, many expatriate Celts were facing long
journeys home to destinations including Australia, New Zealand,
America and the Far East.