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Pacult keen to reward Rapid fans
Published : 16 Dec 2009 18:41:16Rss feed
Rapid's own Gerhard Hanappi stadium holds only around 17,000 so the Austrian club have been playing their Europa League games at the Ernst Happel stadium, which will be almost sold out with around 48,000 supporters expected to attend, including 700 Hoops fans. The Austrian club boast the biggest average attendance in the competition of more than 49,000 supporters, even though they are at the bottom of Group C with four points, one behind Celtic, with neither side able to progress through to the knockout stages. It is Rapid's last game before the Austrian Bundesliga closes for the winter break and, after staying at the top of the table with a 2-1 win over SV Ried at the weekend, coach Pacult wants to thank the fans for their support. "First of all it is important that we play well in our last game before the winter break," he said. "This is a way to say thank you. I want it to be a success for us. "However, the way the table finishes is not that important, what is important is to show a great effort and give the fans something to be proud about." Celtic manager Tony Mowbray and assistant Mark Venus both indicated the Hoops will play some of their fringe players but Pacult refused to take that news as any source of comfort. He said: "First of all I have to say that our defensive midfielder Markus Heikkinen is out and (keeper) Helge Payer got injured in training and is a doubt. "But, even if Celtic don't play their strongest XI, they still have a strong squad and we will have to put in a great performance to get a result tomorrow. "It was a very even group and any of the four teams could have got through. Celtic lost it in their first two games and we lost it in the third and fourth games. "In this group it was possible to have one bad game but not two. But it was a big sporting challenge and we looked forward to every game we had. "Unfortunately, it is the last game but it is still a challenge for us."