Friday July 14: Champions League Qualifier Second Round First Leg; Linfield 0 Celtic 2 (Sinclair 17’ Rogic 22’)
Celtic have one foot in the next round of Champions League qualifying, after a comfortable 2-0 victory over Linfield at Windsor Park. Unfortunately the game was marred by off the field incidents in the second half.
Some Celtic fans did attend the game in a section behind one of the goals, and the Celtic team they saw featured Griffiths starting instead of Dembele up front, with Sviatchenko in for the injured Boyata.
Celtic dominated the game from the start, with Linfield putting players around the box in an attempt to keep Celtic out, but the Celts opened the scoring in the 17th minute, Scott Sinclair - who was booed throughout the game by the Linfield fans - heading home from close range via a deflection off Haughey. (1-0)
The second Celtic goal arrived just five minutes later, and it was one from the training ground, as a Griffiths corner was swept home by Tom Rogic (2-0).
Celtic went for the kill befor half-time, and a brilliant pass from Rogic found Sinclair, whose effort was tipped over the bar. Carroll then palmed away another effort from Sinclair before a Lustig shot crept wide of the post as the first-half ended with no more goals.
The second half began with Griffiths having a goal disallowed for offside after he was played in by Rogic, he seemed just off, then Sinclair header over after a good cross by Forrest.
Then came one of the most bizarre incidents I have seen for a long time, as a bottle was thrown from the crowd at Leigh Griffiths as he prepared to take the corner, Griffiths then handed the bottle to the referee, who booked Griffiths for time wasting!? And people say that referees in Scotland and poor!
This was a dreadful decision by Alejandro José Hernández Hernández and Celtic should try and get it rescinded. Watch the incident below.
Griffiths was substituted for Moussa Dembele soon after this, and Jonny Hayes made his competitive debut replacing James Forrest.
Hayes set up Rogic for a shot but his effort screwed wide, then Carroll pulled off another good save to deny Armstrong from point blank range.
The game ended 2-0, and the Celtic players saluted the band of fans that came over for the game, whilst riot police were at the Linfield end. Celtic will be happy to have got this volatile game out of the way, and can now look forward to giving Linfield a gubbing in the second leg at Celtic Park on Wednesday night.