Linfield fans buzzing ahead of trip to face Scottish champions Celtic

Linfield fans at the Champions League qualifier first leg in Belfast last Friday
Linfield fans at the Champions League qualifier first leg in Belfast last Friday

Trade is reported to have been brisk at the Linfield Superstore as hundreds of fans get kitted out for Wednesday night’s Champions League tie against Celtic in Glasgow.

Kate Moore has been busy behind the counter for several days and said she can’t remember so much excitement ahead of a Linfield game, home or away.

The Blues trail 2-0 from the first leg of the second round qualifying game in Belfast last Friday, but that hasn’t taken the shine off what will be a showpiece occasion at the 60,000 capacity Celtic Park stadium.

Ms Moore will be one of around 1,000 Linfield fans making the trip – much more in hope than expectation.

“Everybody is really looking forward to it. I think everybody is just looking forward to a good day out and hoping that Linfield can play as well as they did in the first game – especially in the second half.

“But I think it will be a far tougher game for Linfield. Celtic will come out stronger playing at their home ground, and there will be some crowd at it too.

“I can’t wait. I’m very excited about it and so is everybody who’s been coming into the shop,” she said.

The first leg was marred by a small number of Linfield fans who threw coins and a bottle at Celtic’s Leigh Griffiths midway through the second half.

The same section of the crowd in the South Stand at Windsor Park then reacted angrily when Griffiths tied a Celtic scarf to the goalpost at the Kop stand end just after the final whistle.

One man managed to get on to the pitch in an effort to confront the Scottish international but was quickly apprehended by police and stewards and ejected from the stadium.

The two incidents led to Linfield being charged by Uefa and Griffiths being cited for provoking supporters.

Lifelong Blues fan Ms Moore is confident there will be no repetition of the misbehaviour at Celtic Park.

“Hopefully it will all go well and that there won’t be any problems. And hopefully there will be none of the idiots that caused the hassle at the last game. I think it will because the supporters who are going over are regular people – either season tickets or members or someone who has been vouched for.”

She added: “It was being called a pitch invasion but only one man ran on to the pitch. He shouldn’t have been there but to me that was just an idiot.

“The genuine fans who go every week were booing those ones [confronting the stewards] every time they did something to try to keep them in line.”