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By ESPN Staff

San Siro to be ready for visit of Celtic?

UEFA are now confident that Celtic and their supporters will get the go-ahead to travel to Milan for next month's Champions League crunch match.

The Scottish champions are due to face AC Milan at the San Siro stadium on March 7, a fixture which at one stage looked set to be moved out of Italy.

The death of a police officer at the Sicilian derby between Catania and Palermo on February 2 prompted the Italian government to demand an improvement in facilities at Italian football stadia.

Work to install electronic turnstiles at Milan's home ground - which they share with Inter - began last week.

It progressed so quickly that 28 turnstiles were open yesterday to allow 21,000 Milan season-ticket holders entry to the Serie A match against Livorno. Seven of the 28 proved temperamental, however Milan believe that represented just teething problems rather than a major issue.

The pace of the progress has convinced UEFA that the second leg of the last-16 tie can be played at its original venue.

'We've been very encouraged by what happened during the weekend,' said William Gaillard, UEFA's communications and public affairs director.

'They have installed new turnstiles and are putting in more of those this week.

'As far as we are concerned, given the fact the Italian FA have told us they would do this work and it has been done, it should be business as usual.'

UEFA cannot overrule the Italian government, however, and the European body were tonight waiting for the green light from sports minister Giovanna Melandri before giving a definite decision on where the match will be played.

'We would (usually make this decision) but we have to obey Italian law,' Gaillard confirmed. 'Official word should come out very soon.'

Geneva is no longer an option as a standby city to host the match, however Newcastle and Paris could be considered if Milan are refused permission to open up their stadium to a capacity crowd.

Away fans were barred from yesterday's league match, but UEFA have made Celtic supporters a prime concern, determined that they should be allowed to attend.

Gaillard stressed: 'We want the rights of the Celtic fans to be upheld.'

A decision on whether the match goes ahead in Milan is expected within the next 24 hours, however it remains in the hands of the Italian authorities.

Like Gaillard, Celtic chief executive Peter Lawwell is optimistic the trip will go ahead.

Supporters booked on the club's official trip to Italy have been promised refunds if the match is moved, however that prospect has become increasingly unlikely.

'We believe it's getting near San Siro but we wait to hear from UEFA formally tomorrow,' Lawwell told Sky Sports News.

'If it's decided to go there, we'll be sending our own safety people over towards the end of the week to have a look at what they're proposing.

'I'm sure if it is to the Italian authorities' and UEFA's approval, it'll be to ours.

'But we'll be sending our security advisors over, together with the local police towards the end of the week.'

The away clash comes 15 days after Milan come to Parkhead for the first leg.

Lawwell expects a travelling army of almost 10,000 Celtic supporters to travel to Italy for the return match.

'Our fans are looking forward to it,' he said. 'We've got 5,000 officially going and I'm sure there'll be another three or four (thousand) unofficially.

'The last thing we want to do is disrupt the supporters' arrangements. It's a fantastic stadium; we were there two or three years ago and we're looking forward to going back.

'It was a safe trip. There are difficulties in terms of different cultures and the way they go about staging football matches, but those were overcome by our magnificent support.'