Reid promises Celtic's disillusioned fans he will bring back glory days

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The Independent Online

The Celtic chairman John Reid has vowed to do everything possible to help the club wrest the Scottish Premier League title from Rangers next season. Reid and the board have come under fire for a perceived lack of investment at Parkhead, which many claim is a major factor behind one of the most miserable campaigns in the Hoops' recent history.

Quoted in the Evening Times speaking this week at the club's annual Player of the Year awards – won by Robbie Keane – Reid said: "I thank the Celtic fans for their support and I give you my assurance that we do not take that support lightly. We cherish it, and it is for you that we aim to reinstate this club to its pre-eminent position in Scottish football as quickly as possible.

"We respect the loyalty you have shown to us and will do everything in our power to repay that. From the top down, we will do all we can to bring the success that this great club of ours ought to have."

Rangers could wrap up the SPL title this weekend, sealing Celtic's first trophyless season for seven years. Reid added: "It is times like this when the character of a club is tested.

"It's tested in the sense that our capacity is held up to inspection, our capacity to recover from those trials and tribulations, the capacity in terms of our character, our strength, our endurance, our commitment, our resilience, our determination that we will get through that." He added: "I'd like to thank Neil Lennon for taking on the post of interim manager.

"Thank you for taking on the task in such a difficult time and it is also great to see Johan Mjallby return to the family. I want to say thank you to the players. There have been performances that have fallen way below the standard that we would expect but I would like to thank you for the guts and determination to show that you can come back from that."

Parkhead has been plagued with empty seats since Celtic's Scottish Cup defeat to Ross County 11 days ago and Reid urged fans to get behind the team. "It's always easy to support a club when things are going well," he said. "It's always easier to support a club when it's fashionable, and it's much easier when times are difficult to sit on the sidelines and criticise rather than sit in the stands and support.

"Clearly, this has not been the easiest or the best year for anyone involved with the club. It has been difficult, it has been challenging.

"Despite a very promising start it didn't work out the way we wanted for Tony Mowbray and his team."

Celtic yesterday announced their planned friendly against AZ Alkmaar tonight had been postponed due to the travel chaos caused by the erupting Icelandic volcano.

An ash cloud from the volcano Eyjafjallajokull has grounded nearly all airplanes across western Europe in recent days, affecting an increasing number of sporting events.

Even though a few flights were allowed to take off yesterday morning, it has been decided not to go ahead with the match at Parkhead.

Celtic said in a statement: "The club is hoping to rearrange the fixture for the near future."

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