Belfast Telegraph

We're on a mission: Linfield out to earn Celtic respect, says Healy

David Healy says his Linfield side are on a mission to earn Celtic's respect in the Champions League double-header.

The Blues will tackle Brendan Rodgers' side at Windsor Park on Friday (5pm) in a second qualifying round first leg tie.

Rodgers' Scottish champions are in the mood to hit the ground running in Europe but the Danske Bank Premiership's finest are putting their pride on the line.

Read more: Celtic supporters' absence a shame for Linfield and the new Northern Ireland, says Brendan Rodgers

With the reunion at Parkhead on Wednesday night, the Blues will not want to be on the wrong end of a hammering on a surface where their manager weaved magic as an international player.

“We said once the draw was made, we knew how difficult the task would be,” said Healy. “We spoke tonight about enjoying it. Hopefully we'll turn up and be organised.

“We've done all we can. The players are well aware of the respect we'll give them, but hopefully come the game and second leg, we'll have earned the respect of Celtic.”

Read more: Watch: Comedian Darren Farley on Brendan Rodgers' disappointment at facing 'world class' Linfield

The Hoops, who remained unbeaten on the domestic front last season on the way to treble glory, warmed up for the Linfield clash by thumping Shamrock Rovers 9-0 in a friendly.

“No,” said Healy when asked if he could detect any weaknesses in their ranks. “They are strong, physical, they're fit, they're organised and Brendan has them playing in a way that Celtic FC and fans expect in general.

“You go back to the great Celtic teams of the past, they always played the Celtic way, the way they went about the job last season.

“I'm sure other teams have weaknesses, but it's trying to find them. It's down to us to try and expose them, but no team in Scotland found the key to the door last year. It's a difficult task, but we'll go out, try and be organised and do our utmost for our club and proud supporters.”

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