Belfast Telegraph

Linfield should have been given helping hand in Euro bid

By Billy Weir

Tonight is arguably the biggest match in the long, glittering history of Linfield Football Club as Azerbaijan side Qarabag visit Windsor Park for the first leg of their Europa League play-off.

A win over two legs would put David Healy's men into the group stages, the first time this would ever be achieved by a team from these shores, and all fans here, despite their own allegiances, have to be fully behind them.

What is a mammoth task was not helped by the powers-that-be not taking the bull by the horns and giving the Blues a helping hand by postponing last weekend's game with Coleraine to give them as much time as they could to prepare.

They have already had an arduous European adventure and the Bannsiders made the most of that with a smash and grab raid to deservedly take the three points home.

It was typical, though, of Coleraine boss Oran Kearney that he could see the bigger picture.

"I'm not saying it was punishment for Linfield having to play the game, but in the circumstances I would have rearranged," he said.

"All the talk is about improving the league's co-efficient so I wouldn't have objected to the game being put back to a later date, just to give them the best possible chance of going further in Europe. The last thing they needed was this game stuck in the middle of it."

He is 100 per cent correct. We, as a league, need success at this level and despite whatever side you follow, let us all hope that the Blues can do us proud tonight.

Belfast Telegraph

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