ROY McGIVERN, the Linfield chairman, has today eased fears over the possible powder-keg clash between his side and Celtic on the notorious July 12. One CQNr today called this their ‘most bigoty day’.
McGivern has spoken to Celtic today over lunch and has subsequently given assurances that the game, if his side progress to the second qualifying round, will take place on 11 July with an early kick-off likely.
Ferries to the north of Ireland won and around 12th July are exceptionally busy with Orangemen and Orange women and their Orange children heading over from Scotland for the various Orange parades.
Linfield, whose last competitive outing against a Scottish side resulted in a 2-0 defeat last season to Queen of the South, will face Celtic if they are able to overcome San Marino minnows La Fiorita.
In Linfield can progress, their home match against Celtic in the the second qualifying round, is now likely to be played on 11 July with an early kick-off.
McGivern revealed that early talks had taken place with Celtic representatives about the potential tie and said that, for practical reasons, July 12 was not going to be an option.
“From a football point of view it is fantastic,” he said.
“I had lunch with Celtic’s representatives after the draw and we’ve had initial discussions about the games.
“Obviously we have a two-legged tie against La Fiorita first and we won’t get ahead of ourselves, but with the second qualifying round so soon after, it is vital to start thinking about arrangements now for a potential blockbuster tie.
“We’ve also had a chat with UEFA and we had ruled out July 12 for obvious reasons, purely from a practical point of view.
“Our preference is to play the home leg first, for financial reasons that’s obvious the best thing for us.
“At this stage the first-leg would be on July 11, potentially with an early kick-off but there are discussions going on at home now with the PSNI (Police Service of Northern Ireland) to see how that would be managed.
“That is the preferred option.
“Celtic are relaxed about it and they seem happy enough to play in Belfast on July 11.”