CELTIC'S ambitious package to restore fortunes and build a #50m

stadium is in disarray after reports that the #20m cornerstone funding

for the project at Cambuslang does not exist.

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Late last night club directors were trying to contact Geneva-based

merchant bankers Gefinor, named as the core backers, and Mr Patrick

Nally, of Stadivarious, who was said to have secured the funding.

Gefinor executive Edward Armaly and Mr Nally were locked in talks in New

York.

Oxford-based Stadivarious is contracted to raise funds by Superstadia

Ltd, which, along with Celtic, submitted a planning application for the

Cambuslang stadium.

The Celtic board's principal critics have demanded a public statement

to end the ''sad shambles''.

On Friday, the club's deputy chairman, Mr David Smith, announced

details of a three-pronged plan to build the stadium, float an enlarged

Celtic plc on the Stock Exchange, and raise up to #6m by offering new

shares.

He also announced that #20m cornerstone funding for the Cambuslang

project was in place, thanks to Gefinor.

Mr Smith was not available for comment yesterday after Gefinor

executive David Hagan, in Geneva, had not only denied any knowledge of a

deal but said that the company had made no commitments or agreements

whatsoever with the club.

In New York, fellow bank executive Mr Armaly was quoted as saying it

was ''absolutely wrong'' that Gefinor was putting up #20m for a Celtic

stadium.

Meanwhile, Celtic director Michael Kelly, who has been trying to get

in touch with Gefinor, insisted he had no reason to believe anything had

changed since Friday's announcement. Keystone funding was held by

Stadivarious in correspondence with Celtic, he said.

The Superstadia chairman, Mr Laurence Davis, also insisted that the

Cambuslang project was a reality, even if a Gefinor deal collapsed. He

said: ''We have a couple of funding institutions in the wings anyway.''

Mr Davis saw no change of course from what was said last week, and

added: ''We do not believe there is any cause for concern.''

He argued that critics, supporters, and the media had failed to

understand that investment in the Cambuslang site was a separate issue

to concerns about Celtic's playing side.

Glasgow was big enough to take the #50m complex, one of six planned in

different parts of the UK. It included an indoor arena suitable for ice

hockey, basketball, and other sports. Celtic, as lead tenant, was the

icing, in effect.

It is understood Gefinor was in talks with Stadivarious some time ago

about funding worth #65m for the stadia throughout the UK. Confusion

over interest in the Cambuslang site may have arisen as a result.

Mr Davis claimed Superstadia ''had sight of'' a conditional offer by

the merchant bank.

He added conditions included an approved detailed planning consent,

plus surveys of the Cambuslang site, due in April and May, proving the

land was suitable for building on.

Former Celtic director Brian Dempsey, who on Friday said the scheme

did not stand up to scrutiny, called on Mr Smith to ''immediately make

the fullest public statement on this matter''.