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Celtic and Linfield agree new date for possible Belfast clash to ease 12 July concerns

If the Northern Ireland champions progress to the second round of Champions League qualifying, they will host the Scottish giants on 14 July.

Celtic manager Brendan Rodgers.
Celtic manager Brendan Rodgers.
Image: Craig Watson

CELTIC WILL NOT be travelling to Belfast to play Linfield in a Champions League qualifier on 12 July, due to fears of trouble on the day when thousands of Orange Order members march across Northern Ireland.

Linfield need to overcome San Marino champions La Fiorita first before entertaining the idea of facing Antrim native Brendan Rodgers’s side in the second round, but if they do they won’t be playing in Belfast on 11/12 July, as initially scheduled.

Due to fears about the strife a visit by Celtic fans could cause on those dates, it has since been agreed between the clubs that their first-leg clash would instead take place on Friday, 14 July, rather than the previous Tuesday or Wednesday.

The Police Service of Northern Ireland have backed the decision to ensure no added pressure is put on their resources on one of the most tense days of the year in Northern Ireland.

It had originally been hoped that the home and away ties could be switched but Linfield rejected that proposal as having the first leg at Windsor Park would likely be more lucrative for the club.

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