Belfast Telegraph

Windsor incidents ruined our big night against Celtic, raps Linfield's Lowry

Blues ace tells of his team's dismay at missile throwing that marred Celtic showpiece

By Graham Luney

Stephen Lowry says he's disappointed Linfield's brave performance against Celtic on Friday night was overshadowed by missile throwing at Leigh Griffiths.

The Celtic striker had at least one bottle thrown at him, along with coins, when he attempted to take a second half corner and the incidents have seen Linfield hit with disciplinary action from UEFA.

Blues fans reacted angrily after Griffiths used his fingers to reference Celtic's 5-1 Old Firm victory at Ibrox earlier in April and then tie a Hoops scarf to the goalpost at the end of the game. Griffiths has also been charged by UEFA, for provoking supporters.

One man charged on to the pitch before being escorted away as police formed a line in front of a section of the home support at the finish. Celtic won the first leg of the Champions League qualifier 2-0 but Linfield shut out Brendan Rodgers' Invincibles from the 23rd minute to the end of the game and midfielder Lowry feels the spotlight should be on the players' astonishing effort.

"The missile throwing incidents were disappointing," he said. "I feel what happened ruined that performance from us. Everyone is talking about what happened around Leigh Griffiths when the focus and spotlight should be on the team.

"I thought Roy Carroll was outstanding and the boys really dug in. To restrict them to a two-goal lead was an impressive effort, particularly in the second half. I did fear we could be on the end of a tanking but the way we fought on says a lot about the team.

"The club have shared their feelings on what happened and it was a few individuals involved. The Linfield fans really backed us in the proper way and I know all the players really appreciate their support."

Lowry added: “Hopefully they will enjoy Parkhead and we can give them something to shout about.”

Linfield called on their fans to steer clear of trouble this week, saying: ‘Have a safe and enjoyable trip to Glasgow and at all times, do nothing to harm or damage the name of the club you are supporting.’

This week is a signficant one for Lowry as, after facing Celtic at Parkhead on Wednesday night, his next big match is performing best man duties for his brother, Crusaders midfielder Philip, at his wedding to Elaine in Cushendall on Friday.

“That’s two big days for me, I’ll need to be ready,” added the former Coleraine ace.

“I’ll need to work on my best man’s speech while I’m in Glasgow!

“I’ve never been to Parkhead. I was supposed to go to a game with my uncles when I was about 10 but the game was rained off and I never made it to the stadium. Celtic supporting mates say the atmosphere is unbelievable so it’s a new exciting experience for many of the boys but we can take a lot of confidence and belief from the first leg.”

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