Champions League: Football and politics unite Celtic and Barcelona fans

Glasgow, Scotland (CNN)Barcelona and Glasgow might have their differences when you compare climate, food and culture, but when it comes to football these institutions have common passions on and off the field.

Walking into Celtic Park ahead of Wednesday’s Champions League game between Celtic and Barca, you’re immediately reminded of past glories, like that of Jock Stein’s Lisbon Lions, who became the first British football team to tame European opponents and conquer the continent in 1967.
    Next year will be the 50th anniversary of that historic night when 11 local “bhoys” — all but one member of the 15-man squad was born within 10 miles of Celtic Park — beat Italian giants Inter Milan and were immortalized after lifting the European Cup.
    “It’s immortal, immortal,” Celtic fan Colin Boyle reminisces.
    “That team summed up the spirit of Celtic, and what it’s all about — expansive football, making friends in Europe, a friendly team open to all, open to anyone regardless of religion, race, and creed. Everybody’s welcome.”



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    Celtic midfielder Nir Bitton reveled in the environment despite Celtic’s 2-0 loss.
    “I think every European night in Celtic Park is incredible,” the Israeli said. “Obviously Barcelona is the sexiest team in the world and everyone wants to play them and wants to beat them. When you play them you want to show your quality on and off pitch.”
    And that, for at least the green half of the city, is just about paradise.

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