House Full Is Not A Prerequisite Of A Good Game

By Ed_ScottishFitba
Last updated : 18 March 2008

Tonight sees Aberdeen take on Celtic in their Scottish Cup quarter-final replay and visiting assistant manager Jimmy Nicholl is looking forward to hearing the noise of boos ringing out at Parkhead from the home fans. He is not interested in how many fans turn out for the game as Celtic's stadium is likely to be far from full for the game. Things were no better at Pittodrie for the original encounter, which ended in a 1-1 draw. But however many Celtic fans turn up for the game, Nicholl is just looking to Aberdeen to keep those supporters quiet. He explained: "I don't know what the crowd is going to be, but when you go to Parkhead you always say the same things - you have to work hard, keep them quiet and don't give them any encouragement. You want to get the crowd quiet whether it be Celtic or Rangers you are playing and get them on the players' backs. It was working at Ibrox a few weeks ago when we were 1-0 up and the fans were getting at them. If there are only 30,000 fans at the game, I hope there are 30,000 fans booing the Celtic players off at half-time. If there is a crowd of 50,000 or there isn't, I don't care. As long as they are getting booed off the park at half-time, that will do me lovely."

fans are becoming selective in the games they attend with so many other distractions along the way. Last October, Celtic were beaten at home in a CIS Cup quarter-final by Hearts in front of fewer than 22,000 supporters. A year earlier, at the same stage of that competition, Falkirk won at Parkhead via a penalty shoot-out with the ground less than a third full. However, Nicholl does not put those defeats down to Celtic lacking inspiration when faced with a far smaller crown than usual and lots of empty seats. He said: "
I don't think a player goes out and looks around the stadium and thinks 'oh, there are only 30,000 people in here instead of 50,000'. There is a game of football to be played that both teams want to win, irrespective of what the crowd is." Nicholl admitted he is unsure why fewer people are attending games in domestic cup competitions, refusing to single out the influence of television as the culprit. He added: "I don't know if television is the reason why attendances are down. I am not going to blame TV because it has been good to us. If people don't come out to a game, then they don't come out, but if we get through to a final then hopefully they do."

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