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Sep, 29, 2009

Celtic chief Lawwell plays down crunch clash with Rapid

Celtic chief executive Peter Lawwell has called for calm as the club prepare to renew hostilities with Rapid Vienna, 25 years on from a stormy European Cup Winners' Cup clash between the sides.

The build-up to Thursday night's Europa League fixture at Celtic Park has been dominated by reflections on the controversial encounter in 1984 when Celtic seemingly won 4-3 on aggregate, only for the second leg to be replayed when Rapid's Rudi Weinhofer claimed to have been struck by a missile.

Celtic lost the replay, which was moved to Old Trafford, and Rapid progressed to the quarter-finals to invoke the ire of the hooped half of Glasgow who felt aggrieved at the nature of their exit.

But Lawwell is hoping the club's fans do not have thoughts of revenge uppermost in their mind when the Austrians visit Celtic Park on Thursday.

"Much has been said about the events of 1984," said Lawwell. "But, as a club in 2009, all we are focusing on is what happens on the pitch on Thursday evening, as we try to progress in our Europa League group.

"As is always the case, we expect the Celtic supporters to come in their numbers, get right behind Tony and the team and on a European stage, once again demonstrate all that is good about Celtic."

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