“I have one final dream left at Legia and that is to have a full stadium,” Boruc’s plea

Ange Postecoglou talked up the benefits of avoiding bounce games at training grounds, or summer friendlies in empty stadiums as he looked back with some satisfaction last night in the two games over the past five days against Rapid Vienna in Austrian capital last Saturday and then against Banik Ostrava in Czech Republic yesterday afternoon as the hosts celebrated their centenary in front of a large crowd.

The Celtic fans at yesterday’s game.

Speaking to Celtic TV after yesterday’s 4-2 win in what was a competitive and entertaining encounter on and off the park the manager said: “It was a big occasion for the club and great for us to be a part of it. They gave us a real contest and it was great for us. We started a wee bit slow and in in general were sloppy with some of our play and our passing.

“When we had our good moments, we were really good and it was another good game for us. We don’t have any competitive games in the pre-season this year. I didn’t want to play friendly games that aren’t in main stadiums, I wanted to play in big stadiums and good crowds and the last 3 games have been perfect for us.”

Next up is Blackburn Rovers at Celtic Park on Saturday lunchtime and you would expect that there will be a sizeable crowd there to see the re-enactment of the Men Against Bhoys from two decades ago as Celtic progressed in the UEFA Cup on the road to the final in Seville.

The same might not be the case in midweek with the rather surprising news that the Legia Warsaw fans have been less enthusiastic than you might have expected in buying tickets for the Artur Boruc testimonial match.

Given that the former Celtic goalkeeper started his career and ended it at the club he supports is a positive there’s also the fact that he did leave to play most of his football abroad including of course his impressive spell playing for Celtic.

But it’s maybe more than that, the Legia fans are unhappy about the team’s poor showing last season and also the price of tickets for the match against Celtic, and we are hardly among their favourites after the events that occurred at that Champions league qualifier at Murrayfield in August 2014. While Legia were clearly authors of their own misfortune, some of their fans will clearly still hold a grudge, even if both clubs have clearly moved on from the controversy.

Yesterday Legia confirmed that ticket sales were dire for Wednesday’s encounter and Boric issued a plea to the Legia supporters to come out and let him play his last match in front of a packed stadium. That is looking unlikely to say the least as Legia revealed yesterday that just 3,825 tickets have been sold for the 31,800-capacity ground after complaints from the support that the ticket prices for the testimonial match were far too high.

Boruc said, as reported by Scottish Sun: “First of all, I won’t make any money from the tickets, nor did I set the prices. I signed a contract with Legia to arrange this match. My only priority is to say goodbye to the fans.

“I left Celtic a long time ago and there is practically no one at the club left that I know.

“I know there are plenty of players over the years at Legia who are more deserving than me for this game. And I am well aware what the fans think after such a disastrous season.

“But I have one final dream left at Legia and that is to have a full stadium. This is more than just a match to me. I want to say thanks to the fans. If you are still hesitating and want one more chance of abusing me, then please come along too… you also contributed to my career and made sure I worked even harder.

“So I cordially invite you to my final game of football.”

Legia even released a clothing range for their fans to purchase to commemorate Boruc’s last game, as shown above That seemed an exercise in maximising revenues at the expense of their fans, as indeed the ticket pricing appears to be as well.

Hopefully the Legia fans will put their concerns to one side and come out and give the 42 year old club legend a fitting send off which will also provide Celtic with another tough challenge in what has been an entertaining pre-season fixture list so far.

About Author

The Celtic Star founder and editor, who has edited numerous Celtic books over the past decade or so including several from Lisbon Lions, Willie Wallace, Tommy Gemmell and Jim Craig. Earliest Celtic memories include a win over East Fife at Celtic Park and the 4-1 League Cup loss to Partick Thistle as a 6 year old. Best game? Easy 4-2, 1979 when Ten Men Won the League. Email editor@thecelticstar.co.uk

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