Leinster’s head coach Leo Cullen has apologised for his light-hearted call to Celtic supporting locals to back his team in today’s Pro14 Grand Final in Parkhead.

His off-the-cuff remarks after they had beaten Munster in last weekend’s semi-final had generated controversy in some quarters, after he suggested that the majority of those who support today’s opponents, Glasgow Warriors, would be more inclined to support Rangers.

Clearly he had not anticipated that reaction and, even before any questions had been asked at yesterday’s pre-match press conference, Cullen seized the initiative by indicating that he intended to make a statement.

"After the game last week, our semi-final, I made a comment that seemed to attract plenty of attention. Just so that we're all aware, it was a throwaway remark, it was made in jest and I didn't mean to offend anyone. For any individuals that I did offend, I apologise to them,” he said.

His comments had even seen him admonished by Lisbon Lion Jim Craig earlier in the week, albeit his irritation was more down to exasperation at the gift Cullen had given to those in the Glasgow sports community who seem eager to take offence on such matters but the Dubliner chose not to respond to the criticism that has come his way.

"I can't comment about the reaction to comments. As I said, it was made in jest and it's taken place, so we're looking forward now,” he observed.

Those comments were obviously predicated on the close and undeniable links that exist between Celtic and Ireland and their team captain, Johnny Sexton, acknowledged those when asked to describe his sense of the occasion.

“I think Glasgow, in terms of them it’s the biggest occasion they had, probably ever really when you look at it. A home final in Celtic Park, it’s incredible (and) it’s up there for us as well,” he said.

“There’s a big affiliation for Celtic in Ireland and a lot of us would have grown watching games here and dreaming to play here and it’s great to get the chance to do it. Once in a lifetime I think is what I’m really trying to say.”

As to whether he is among the Celtic-supporting contingent in the Leinster dressing room the 2018 world player of the year poked some fun at the predicament in which his coach and former team-mate had found himself, saying: “I don’t want to stoke any fires again. I’ll have to give a statement before the game tomorrow.”