18+ | Commercial Content | T&Cs apply | Begambleaware.org
Three rows are left empty around Celtic Park on European nights and the reason isn't because the club can't sell out their 60,000-seater stadium. In fact, Celtic's UEFA Champions League tickets are like gold dust in Glasgow which makes the sight of Celtic Park empty seats even more frustrating and confusing.
Why are there empty rows at Celtic Park on Champions League nights?
The reason is all to do with advertising, a sad indictment on modern football that means thousands of Hoops fans have missed out on famous European nights at Celtic Park over the years.
A couple of years ago, the mystery was explained by Celtic's Supporter Liaison Officer, John Paul Taylor. Answering a query about the empty seats on X (then known as Twitter), Taylor explained that on European nights the advertising boards need to be placed in certain positions which means the pitch wouldn't be visible for fans on the first three rows around the stadium. As a result, the club don't sell tickets for these rows.
The empty rows of seats have almost become part of the charm of the stadium with the sight of them indicating that the match is another chapter of Celtic's European fairytale.
Despite these empty rows, Celtic Park on Champions League nights is still a sight to behold so let's take a look at some of the club's best nights on home turf.
Celtic best Champions League nights
Celtic 4-3 Juventus
In 2001, Celtic went toe-to-toe with one of Europe's finest teams of the time, Juventus, at Celtic Park. The match swung one way and then the next but the Hoops eventually came out on top thanks to a Henrik Larsson penalty in the second half.
Celtic 1-0 Manchester United
In 2006, Celtic won their first-ever match against Manchester United. The two teams were drawn alongside each other in the group stages and after losing 3-2 in a thriller at Old Trafford, Gordon Strachan's team got their revenge in Glasgow thanks to a stunning Shunsuke Nakamura free kick.
Celtic 2-1 Barcelona
Celtic's greatest European win at Celtic Park came in November 2012 when they faced arguably the greatest club side of all time – the early 2010's Barcelona. Two goals from Victor Wanyama and Tony Watt sent Celtic Park wild as Neil Lennon's side won with just 27% of the ball. Afterwards, Lionel Messi said that Celtic Park had “the best atmosphere in Europe.”
When did Celtic win the Champions League?
Celtic's rich history in European football stretches back more than 50 years and they became the first club from the United Kingdom to win the European Cup in 1967. Led by captain, Billy McNeill and manager, Jock Stein, the Hoops faced Inter Milan in Lisbon and came from a goal behind to beat the Italian 2-1. The match is regarded as the best night in the club's history with the players involved going down in legend as the “Lisbon Lions.”