CELTIC yesterday revealed phase one of Parkhead’s £4million facelift which aims to make the stadium known throughout the football world as one of the best for spectator experience.
The double treble winners have spent £2.3m on a new entertainment system the club claim will produce a light and sound show even better than that of Ajax’s Amsterdam Arena, which has been hailed as having the best such system in Europe.
A new hybrid pitch is being laid, for a cost of £1.3m, at the request of Brendan Rodgers. The manager had previously voiced concerns about the state of the surface. A new drainage system and undersoil heating was put in last year.
Work is also being done on the Jock Stein Stand and Main Stand, as Celtic make the most expensive upgrades on their 60,000 capacity home since the stadium was fully completed in 1998.
A new PA system will also be installed and is now extended around the whole stadium. Everything should be completed by the start of the new season.
The light show promises to be one of the biggest hits with supporters, especially on European nights. New LED floodlights are to be installed around the stadium, replacing the Halogen lights installed almost 20 years ago, and one light on its own has 225 bulbs.
Rodgers will hope the new pitch, the most expensive in Scotland, will give his team a huge advantage in the coming campaign. He and several players admitted they found playing on the previous surface difficult at times.
The new grass will be taken up around artificial fibres, which has worked well at Murrayfield. It will be ready for Celtic’s first game of the summer.
The gable end of the Jock Stein stand is being upgraded with new metal in an attempt to better protect supporters in the area of the stadium from the bad weather. It is the most exposed section of Celtic Park.
And in the main stand, work will be done on the roof, again to make it more weather resistant to supporters.
Celtic Park and the surrounding area has been transformed in recent years with the Celtic Way, which begins with a statue of Billy McNeill, and plans remain in place for a hotel and museum to be constructed at the stadium.
Over the years at the AGM, supporters have asked about the possibility of taking the capacity up by putting a third tier on the main stand but such plans are on the back burner for the moment.