Celtic could face NIFL Premiership champions Linfield in Belfast on July 12 – a key date in the loyalist marching calendar, writes Stephen Barry.
Linfield will play Celtic in the Champions League second qualifying round if they can beat San Marino side La Fiorita, who have lost their last five European ties on an aggregate scoreline of 35-1.
With the game scheduled for July 11 or 12, that could cause problems for security services, as the parades have often been a flashpoint for riots and sectarian violence. Bonfires are also lit across areas of the city on the night of the 11th.
The July 12 celebrations commemorate William of Orange’s victory over Catholic king James II at the Battle of the Boyne, which ensured the Protestant Ascendancy in Ireland. It is a public holiday in the North.
The reaction to the draw on Twitter anticipated trouble.
Linfield v Celtic match preview pic.twitter.com/EnUlWSVgxX— Karl Reilly (@HistoryLOI) June 19, 2017
Can't wait to get my half and half scarf for the Celtic and Linfield game— Connor (@BheanyArLa) June 19, 2017
Celtic could play their first CL game of the season at Linfield, on the 12th July. pic.twitter.com/b7I4CKRMYY— Paddy Power (@paddypower) June 19, 2017
Linfield v Celtic, in Belfast, on 12th July potentially.
👀— Stan Collymore (@StanCollymore) June 19, 2017
Celtic Linfield pic.twitter.com/FQsCqqlNLl— Rikos (@Rikos67_) June 19, 2017
Breaking: Rangers have already sold out their ticket allocation for Linfield v Celtic on 12 July....— Barry Anderson (@BarryAnderson_) June 19, 2017
Repeats of Celtic v cliftonville in 1984 when we play linfield 😂😂 pic.twitter.com/A5SpIccJaN— shaunpaul byrne (@shaunpaul67) June 19, 2017
As footshooting exercises go, @UEFA have set the bar high by potentially drawing Celtic out v Linfield on 12 July— Kevin Cummins (@KCMANC) June 19, 2017
Lets get this man up to Belfast for the Celtic v Linfield on the 12th of July for an interesting night pic.twitter.com/am9uYLgqVC— Barry Nixon (@barrynixon1980) June 19, 2017
Celtic v Linfield at Windsor park on the 12th of July! Allow about 9hours for a 30 min journey— Danny (@sharkattack686) June 19, 2017
Linfield vs Celtic on the 11/12 of July? pic.twitter.com/lLmI8wURgT— Confuser (@i_confuser) June 19, 2017
Linfield v Celtic on July 12th?
May as well pack it up. That'll never be topped.— Ted (@NewcoTed) June 19, 2017
Potentially, we could have Linfield v Celtic on 12th July, what could possibly go wrong.....— Dex E Smith (@DexySmiths) June 19, 2017
Meanwhile, one fan was left to fulfil a bet.
*UPDATE* video will be uploaded as soon as it rains in Dublin and there's a puddle to swim in.— 🥔 (@donn_1967) June 19, 2017
It’s unclear if security services will request for the game to be moved, should Linfield progress.
UEFA separate some countries in the draw for political reasons, such as clubs from Armenia and Azerbaijan, or Kosovo and Serbia.
That first-round ties will be completed on July 4 or 5, a week prior to the second-round first legs.