04 July 2017

Linfield vs Celtic: When could Champions League meeting take place and what TV channel would potential feisty encounter be on?

THE season’s first Champions League draw has been made and thrown up a potential all-UK tie between Linfield and Celtic.

Northern Ireland and Scotland’s champions are set to meet in the second qualifying round if Linfield beat San Marino’s La Fiorita.

Celtic’s first competitive match of the season could be in Northern Ireland
News Group Newspapers Ltd

Although police may be hoping the team from San Marino win as a Linfield vs Celtic match could invoke sectarian tensions.

When would Linfield vs Celtic be played?

If Linfield progress to the Champions League second qualifying round, the first leg at Windsor Park will be played at 5pm on Friday, July 14 – just 22 hours before the Celts host Lyon in a friendly.

Celtic will have few, or no, fans inside the stadium in Belfast after the club refused to take their allocation of tickets, citing safety fears.

The original date of July 11/12 was deemed unsuitable as it would clash with controversial Battle of the Boyne celebrations on July 12.

The battle is celebrated in the Northern Irish protestant community but the parade is considered offensive by many Catholics.

If La Fiorita progress, Celtic will play them at 7.45pm on either July 11 or 12.

Celtic ace Scott Sinclair takes a break from partying in Ibiza to kickoff his own pre-season training regime

What TV channel would the match be on?

BT Sport hold the rights to the Champions League, but it is not known yet whether they will cover the match.

Celtic’s match against Lincoln Red Imps at the same time last season was due to be shown on Premier Sports before being switched to BT Sport 2 at the last minute.

Linfield are the current champions of Northern Ireland
Pacemaker Press

Why could a Linfield vs Celtic match cause tension?

Linfield are one of the best supported teams among Northern Ireland’s Protestant and Unionist community.

Many, if not most, Linfield fans also support Rangers.

Meanwhile Celtic are by far the most popular team in the Republic of Ireland and have huge support among Northern Ireland’s Catholic and Republican community.

Although Linfield boss David Healy admitted his side would love to play Celtic, saying: “Financially for Linfield it would be a glamour tie to get Celtic.

Boss David Healy (centre) was keen to avoid Celtic despite the financial boost the tie would give the club
Pacemaker Press

“I think that everyone associated with the club would love that to be the case. I’m sure the fans would love nothing more than a game against Celtic.”

The match would also mark a return to Northern Ireland for Hoops boss Brendan Rodgers.

And Healy said: “Given Brendan’s background that would add to the game as well.”

But the former Northern Ireland striker added: “Personally I wouldn’t want it.

“Being realistic, I don’t think there would be any chance of us beating them.”

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