‘Welcome to Hell,’ AEK boss issues Athens battle cry

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The AEK Athens manager has called on the club’s supporters to interrupt their summer breaks and come out in large numbers on Tuesday to help beat Celtic to the fourth round play-off spot for the so-called Champions League.

Marinos Ouzounidis wants the Greek fans to give Celtic the usual ‘Welcome to Hell’ message after the 1-1 draw in Paradise puts the Greeks in an excellent position.

Both sets of supporters enjoyed each other’s company on Tuesday and Celtic supporters travelling to the crucial encounter will hopefully be afforded a friendly welcome.

This was the AEK fans arriving at Celtic Park, receiving the applause and appreciation of the Celtic support as they made their way to the ground.

The Olympic Stadium on Tuesday night might not be at capacity – as Celtic Park was for the first leg – and Ouzounidis is anxious to ensure that he has every advantage going against a dangerous opponent, so has asked the fans to come out in their tens of thousands.

“I think qualification depends on us. We have a great opponent facing us, but we have proved we are a very good team too.

“And I am asking for the help of all friends of AEK,” he said.

“I know it’s not a great time of year because many families are on their holiday and the league hasn’t yet started, but I want everyone to come out and cheer us on.

“We need the passion, support and intensity of our supporters. The ‘Welcome to Hell’ message is used a lot, but this time I would really like it to be true when we face Celtic.

“We are a young team and it would make a huge difference to the confidence of some of the youngsters if they were playing in front of a full stadium.

“We are a long way from qualifying. We will have to work even harder than we did in Scotland.

“But I am optimistic. I believe in my team.

“Celtic’s away form is not anything like as good as their home form. We have a real chance of advancing.

“And that’s why I want our fans to be the 12th man and cheer us to victory.”

For those interested in the behind the scenes operation that happens when a side travels for a European match, here’s a copy of the AEK schedule for their visit to Scotland this week.

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