Celtic drawn to face Linfield or La Fiorita in Champions League qualifying

Jay Anderson
June 19, 2017

Celtic may face a heated encounter with Linfield in the second qualifying round of the Champions League, while RB Salzburg could yet force UEFA to exclude sister club RB Leipzig from the tournament.

Should the Belfast side get past La Fiorita from San Marino in the first round, they will meet in a huge clash on either July 11 or 12.

"At this stage the first-leg would be on July 11, potentially with an early kick-off but there are discussions going on at home now with the PSNI to see how that would be managed". That is the preferred option.

"They were the top team in the draw, they've had a tremendous season and of course there is the Brendan Rodgers factor, too".

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Linfield are favourites to beat S.P La Fiorita, who were founded in 1967, the year of Celtic's greatest success when they beat Inter Milan in Lisbon to become the first British club to win the European Cup.

I don't think that Celtic should be a club that has to qualify for the Champions League.

With Rodgers as coach and players they now have, I think Celtic's ambition should be more than qualifying for the group stage, it should be to make it to the last 16. I keep stressing, we have two very important games before a potential tie with Celtic but it is the best draw would could have hoped for. Linfield, who have a close association with the Bhoys' arch-rivals Rangers, have prominent Protestant connections while Celtic's deep association with Irish Catholicism is likely to prompt authorities to look into the possibility of moving the date of the fixture, given its combustible timing.

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