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Linfield boss Healy applauds class act Brendan Rodgers

Celtic boss shakes hands with every Linfield player in defeat

By graham Luney

David Healy left Parkhead full of pride last night, paying tribute to his Linfield players and Celtic boss Brendan Rodgers after the classy Scottish champions strolled into the third qualifying round of the Champions League with a comfortable 6-0 aggregate victory.

Trailing 2-0 from the first clash at Windsor Park, the Blues gave it everything at Celtic Park but a Scott Sinclair double and further strikes from Tom Rogic and Stuart Armstrong ended Linfield's thrilling European adventure with a 4-0 loss on the night.

Healy hailed fellow Ulsterman Rodgers as a "class act on and off the pitch" after the Carnlough man came into the visitors' dressing room after the game and shook hands with every Linfield player.

Rodgers was full of praise for the Blues' battling performance over the two legs and singled out keeper Roy Carroll for special praise while Healy said his kind words were warmly appreciated.

"Brendan is a class act on and off the pitch, he came into the dressing room and shook all the players' hands," said Healy.

"That means a lot to the staff and the players.

"That Celtic team can get out of the group stages of the Champions League.

"Fair play to Brendan, he is a great ambassador for his football club."

“I patted the players on the back for their attitude, effort and discipline. Our players are up early in the morning to go to work and that is the level we are at,” said Healy (below).

“They come out of this with immense credit.

“Celtic are a very good side, an incredible team and probably the best squad they have had in a number of years.

“It’s a learning curve for our players, there will be times during our domestic season when we will have to defend.

“It was a great atmosphere and our supporters were immense. We received criticism because of a few mindless people at Windsor Park but tonight you saw the proper Linfield support, week in week out and I’d like to thank them for their support,” said Healy.

Trailing 2-0 from the first leg at Windsor Park, Linfield knew they faced an awesome challenge in Glasgow.

But the Blues had been encouraged by their spirited resistance and some goalkeeping heroics from Roy Carroll, and the mood was defiant heading to Parkhead.

Celtic, however, were hungry to put on a show in their first home game of the campaign and their ruthless approach left the visitors licking wounds.

Rodgers said: “If it wasn’t for Roy Carroll over the two legs the margin of victory would have been greater.

“Roy did very well, I saw him in the changing room and he looks in great shape. When you have been doing it for so many years he can really enjoy it. Credit to Linfield, hopefully they go on and have a good season.

“Irish sides fight for everything and Linfield worked incredibly hard.

“It was a good one, our own disappointment is we didn’t score more in the first half.

“Our intensity wore them down in the end and I must say an amazing thank you to the fans, a near full house.

“We are in a 100 per cent different place to where we were this time last season.

“Rosenborg will come here and keep it tight so we know what to expect.”

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