Scott Sinclair and Tom Rogic scored as Celtic won a hostile Champions League qualifier at Linfield in Belfast 2-0 on Friday.

Celtic Football Club of Scotland

The first ever meeting of the two teams was the first Champions League game to be played on a Friday.

The unusual scheduling was to avoid clashing with the tinderbox date of July 12, when Protestants celebrate King William of Orange beating the deposed Catholic ruler James II at the Battle of the Boyne in 1690.

While Celtic retain a Catholic heritage, Linfield’s associations are Protestant.

Celtic had declined their ticket allocation for the second qualifying round, first-leg tie, citing security concerns, but around 200 Hoops fans secured tickets by other means.

The match passed off largely without major incident, but missiles were thrown at Celtic corner takers Leigh Griffiths and Jonny Hayes from a Linfield section of Windsor Park.

And at the final whistle, a number of home fans attempted to access the pitch when Griffiths tied a scarf to the goal posts.

One supporter did make it onto the surface but was quickly ejected as police and stewards moved in to contain the situation.

Amid tight security no trouble was reported pre-match.

Striker Sinclair headed Brendan Rodgers’ side ahead in the 17th minute, before midfielder Rogic made it two five minutes later.

That left the Scottish champions in a good position to wrap up the tie in the return leg at Parkhead next week, with the winners of the Dundalk v Rosenborg clash awaiting in the next round.

Before Friday’s game Celtic, Scottish treble winners last season, were 1-12 favourites to win, while Linfield, who won a league and Cup double last season, were major outsiders.


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