Update 5.05pm: Celtic have confirmed that no tickets for their potential Champions League qualification second round, first leg against Linfield will be available to away fans.
They said in a statement: “The safety and security of all Celtic supporters travelling and attending matches is of paramount importance to the Club.”
— Celtic Football Club (@CelticFC) June 23, 2017
Original story: The likely Champions League second round qualifier between Scottish champions Celtic and NIFL Premiership winners Linfield may be delayed to July 14, but Celtic are reportedly set to turn down their ticket allocation, writes Stephen Barry.
Due to security fears, stretched police resources and with Linfield unwilling to concede home advantage for the first leg, UEFA have allowed the game to be moved to a 5pm Friday kick-off to avoid a clash with the ‘Twelfth’ celebrations in the North.
However, following a board meeting last night, it’s been reported locally that Celtic’s lingering safety fears for supporters attending the Windsor Park fixture mean they will refuse their ticket allocation.
They will also advise fans not to attend the game at the 18,400-capacity stadium.
Linfield are expected to beat San Marino amateurs La Fiorita to set-up the tie, which, as originally scheduled, would’ve seen Celtic travelling to Belfast for the first leg on July 11 or 12. Those major dates in the loyalist marching calendar have been flashpoints for riots and sectarian violence.
Discussions between both clubs, the PSNI and UEFA reached the July 14 compromise.
Linfield were knocked out of the Europa League last year by Cork City, while Celtic drew three and lost three in the Champions League group stages.
Hoops’ manager Brendan Rodgers is from Carnlough, Co Antrim, less than an hour away from Windsor Park, while Linfield boss David Healy spent 18 months at Celtic’s Old Firm rivals Rangers.