Belfast Telegraph

Linfield and PSNI to discuss dates for the potential clash with Celtic

By Graham Luney

Linfield representatives will hold talks with the PSNI today with the aim of pencilling in a date for a potential Champions League battle with Celtic.

If the Blues defeat La Fiorita of San Marino, they will progress to a showdown against the Scottish Premiership champions.

Both clubs ruled out a July 12 meeting in Belfast due to the Twelfth parades but Linfield are still determined to play the first leg at Windsor Park.

An early kick-off of either 5pm or 5.30pm on July 11 is one option, but the Police Service of Northern Ireland could push for the game to be staged on Thursday, July 13.

That move would need Uefa approval as there are Europa League second qualifying round clashes that evening.

It's possible that the matches could be switched with Linfield travelling to Parkhead for the first leg, but the Blues know that any heavy defeat in Glasgow could dilute interest in the second leg and the Hoops will be tempted to rest players.

Blues chairman Roy McGivern has stated that the south Belfast club's "preferred choice" is to contest the home leg first.

Whatever date is chosen for the Windsor clash, there are fears that fewer Celtic fans will travel to Belfast for the game due to security concerns.

The Hoops did not sell their full allocation of tickets for the game against Cliftonville at Solitude in 2013 and returned some to the Reds.

Cliftonville have also offered to help the Blues as the club prepare for what may be one of the biggest games in their history.

The match has generated huge media interest and it also involves significant planning.

The north Belfast side, who had to construct temporary seating at Solitude to cater for demand, understand the intensive work required to make sure the game goes ahead without major incident.

David Healy's men will host La Fiorita at Windsor Park on Wednesday, with the return leg on July 4.

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