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  • Celtic stars echo NHS message urging fans to #StayHomeSaveLives

    Celtic stars echo NHS message urging fans to #StayHomeSaveLives

    By: Paul Cuddihy on 27 Mar, 2020 19:02

  • CELTIC captain Scott Brown and the Hoops squad have joined some of the UK’s leading sports stars in teaming up with the NHS this weekend to issue a rallying cry for fans to play their part in showing coronavirus the red card by staying at home.

    Footballers, managers, cricket and basketball players are uniting to support the NHS #StayHomeSaveLives social media campaign.

    The flurry of online messages will kick off tonight (Friday) at 8pm, when the England football team was due to play Italy, and Gareth Southgate will also offer a message of solidarity with Italy, who have suffered greatly due to the coronavirus pandemic.

    Footballers and managers will also urge fans to stay at home on Saturday from 3pm – the traditional kick-off time for most Saturday games – with Hoops skipper, Scott Brown sending a video message urging fans to #StayHomeSaveLives.

    By lending the NHS their massive social media audiences, the sports stars hope to help reinforce the advice from medics and scientists for everyone, and particularly those at greatest risk, to stay at home. This will slow the spread of coronavirus and therefore save more lives, and at the same time support health service staff in meeting the challenge they face from the global pandemic.

    NHS national medical director Professor Stephen Powis said: “I know lots of people will be missing their weekend sporting rituals over the coming weeks – whether it’s going to the ground, the pub or round their friends’ house to watch their favourite teams compete.

    “But nobody can sit on the bench when it comes to the national response to the global coronavirus pandemic, which is why the NHS is calling up sporting heroes to help their fans through this tough time, and encourage them to do the right thing and stay at home.

    “Our NHS staff are working round the clock gearing up to deal with this unprecedented challenge, and it’s fantastic to see sport stars helping to amplify their important message: stay home, save lives.”

    Earlier this week, Celtic manager Neil Lennon: “This is obviously a very worrying time for all of us, and I just want to pass on my thoughts and best wishes to all of our supporters on behalf of all the coaching staff and players here at Celtic.

    “We want everyone to stay safe, to follow the expert advice that has been given and to keep looking after each other and out for each other. That’s what all of us are doing with our families.

    “Of course, we’re all part of the wider Celtic Family too. It’s something that we’re all proud of, and everyone at the club appreciates the support our fans always give us.

    “The Celtic Family is a worldwide one, and we know the Celtic fans will continue to show the solidarity and togetherness for which they’re renowned throughout football.

    “This is a difficult time for everyone and the priority for all of us is to look after ourselves and to look after each other, but I also know that everyone here at the club is looking forward to when we are able to get back playing in front of our fantastic supporters at Celtic Park. Take care. You’ll Never Walk Alone.”

    A number of Celtic players have also been offering their support to fans at this time including Ryan Christie, who said: “To echo the manager, Broony, and the feeling of all the boys and everyone involved at the club, we just want everyone to keep being safe. The more we can listen to the advice of the government and health officials, then the sooner it’ll all be over. If we dig in, we’ll get through it soon enough.

    “Everyone is in isolation at the moment. Maybe you’re on your own, or living with family or friends, but while everyone is on their own, it’s a weird feeling, because there is a real sense of togetherness as well.

    “These are uncertain and scary times, but when you’re watching the news, you do have a sense that everybody in the country is watching the screen at the same time.

    “There is a strange unity to it all, I suppose. So, as long as everyone is staying safe, keeping in touch with each other and checking in, then I’m sure we can get through it.”

    And French defender Christopher Jullien added: “Please stay safe. Stay home and take care of yourself and your family. Stay positive and believe that everything is going to be fine and you’ll see us again out there on the field.”

    The campaign is the latest effort by sports clubs to play their part in helping the country through the coronavirus pandemic.

    Celtic FC Foundation, supported by Celtic FC, launched the Football for Good Fund, and already £175,000 is being used to help local partners to provide urgent food and essentials to those in our communities who are in greatest need.

    These include our partners Glasgow North East Foodbank, Golden Generation (for the elderly) and a range of organisations supporting vulnerable children, families and the homeless, such as FARE Scotland, Spirit Aid, The Salvation Army, Action for Children, Help the Homeless and The Wayside Club.

    Our support of people in those vulnerable categories has also extended to additional locations in Scotland, England and Ireland, including Edinburgh, London, Dublin and Belfast. And crucially, we are also working with a partner to try and find a way to feed frontline NHS staff in Glasgow.

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