FEYENOORD midfielder Liam Kelly has a very special reason for wanting to pile Europa League agony on Steven Gerrard and Rangers at Ibrox on Thursday.

The former Republic of Ireland Under-21 star’s dad is a massive Celtic fan!

Kelly rejoined his ex-Reading boss Jaap Stam in Rotterdam in the summer.

The 23-year-old was born in England, but can represent Mick McCarthy’s team through the the Irish connection in his family.

And he hopes a good display against the Gers in the opening European tie on Thursday night could attract the eye of the former Hoops centre-hald – as well as giving his father something to cheer.

Kelly, speaking to the Daily Record, said: “My dad’s parents are from Ireland and I represent the Republic at international level. That side of the family are all big Celtic fans, including my dad Joe.

“My dad is a Chelsea fan, as well, but Celtic are his Scottish team with the Irish connection and he’s excited about the European game at Ibrox.

LAST-GASP ACTION HERO…Alfredo Morelos glances in the stoppage-time winner against Legia Warsaw.

IBROX ADULATION…Morelos accepts the cheers of the Gers support.

FLAT OUT…Morelos is on the deck after being mobbed by his team-mates.

“He is going to Glasgow for the game along with my mum and brother, so that should be a good experience for them.

“Given the fact he’s a Celtic fan, he has an extra incentive for his son to beat Rangers.

“My dad always watched Old Firm games and I would watch with him. Even now, when the Old Firm games are on I always watch them because it’s such an intense fixture and there’s always good quality.

“It’s interesting that a Republic of Ireland international – and also ex-Reading like myself – Jonny Hayes scored in the last derby.

“I’ve never come across Steven Gerrard before and, while I’m a Chelsea fan, I admired a legend in the game like him.

“So, you know the quality he’s going to bring to Rangers and it should be a good game.”

Kelly was on the substitutes’ bench at the weekend as Stam’s side warmed up for Ibrox with a 3-2 win over Den Haag.

Conceding two late goals made it a nervy finish at De Kuip, but the Dutch attention has now swung to Europe and a group that also includes Porto and Swiss side Young Boys.

Kelly added: “It’s still a learning process and I’ve been in and out the team, but I’ve started two league games and can hopefully become a regular.

“We won 6-0 on aggregate against Hapoel Be’er Sheva in the Europa League qualifiers and we won against Willem II before the international break which was massive for us as we drew the first three games.

“With the new manager coming in, the players still had to get to know each other, but I’m sure we’ll kick on now.”

Rangers go into the opening group encounter after their dramatic stoppage-time win over Legia Warsaw when Alfredo Morelos headed in the only goal over two frantic legs.


About Author


Acclaimed author Alex Gordon wrote the biography of Scotland international legend Denis Law, entitled 'King and Country'. He is a former columnist with World Soccer magazine and Scottish correspondent of respected European journal L'Equipe.

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