The Scottish Premiership champions take a two-goal lead into the second leg as they look to book their place in the next round of the competition
Celtic will look to finish the job against Linfield and take a step closer to the Champions League group stage when the sides meet in the second leg of the second qualifying round on Wednesday.
Brendan Rodgers’ side boast a two-goal advantage over the Northern Irish champions after winning the first leg 2-0 at Windsor Park, where goals from Scott Sinclair and Tom Rogic were the difference.
Should the Scottish Premiership champions overcome Linfield, a return to Ireland could be their reward, with either Irish champions Dundalk or Norway’s Rosenborg waiting in the third qualifying round.
|Game||Celtic vs Linfield|
|Date||Wednesday, July 19|
CELTIC TV CHANNEL & LIVE STREAM
In the United Kingdom, the match will be available to watch live on television on Premier Sports and by stream via the Premier Player app.
Fans outside of the UK and Ireland will also be able to watch the game live on Celtic TV, Celtic’s in-house broadcasting service.
|UK TV channel||Online stream|
|Premier Sports||Premier Player|
CELTIC TEAM NEWS
Scott Brown shook off an Achilles problem to play the full 90 minutes in the first leg against Linfield and the captain should be fit for the second leg after sitting out Saturday’s friendly defeat against Lyon.
The only first-team players to feature against the Ligue 1 side at Celtic Park were those who began Friday’s game in Belfast on the bench, with Jonny Hayes and Moussa Dembele coming through 73 minutes unscathed.
New signings Olivier Ntcham and Kundai Benyu also played against Lyon and may have forced themselves into contention for early competitive debuts after impressing Brendan Rodgers.
Celtic will be without Cristian Gamboa, who has been with the Costa Rica national team for the Gold Cup, and there may be longer-term concerns over the full-back’s availability after he sustained a thigh-muscle tear against Canada.
Defender Dedryck Boyata remains out of action due to the medial knee ligament problem he picked up during the Bhoys’ pre-season friendly against Slavia Prague. The former Manchester City starlet is set for three months on the sidelines.
CELTIC BETTING ODDS
Celtic are heavy favourites to win the second leg at 1/50, according to dabblebet, while the odds on Linfield winning in Glasgow are 66/1. A draw between the teams is given at 14/1.
Bhoys strikers Leigh Griffiths and Moussa Dembele are favourites to score first at 15/8, with the pair given at 3/10 to score any time during the game. Scott Sinclair and Tom Rogic, who scored in the first leg, are rated 14/5 and 11/2 respectively, to hit the back of the net first.
CELTIC GAME PREVIEW
Celtic were left somewhat disappointed not to have registered more goals in the first leg, but Rodgers was pleased to avoid a repeat of the embarrassment they endured against Lincoln Red Imps at the same stage of the competition last season.
Tensions will be high at Celtic Park following the scenes that marred the game in Belfast, which required riot police to be deployed in order to maintain calm.
The first leg was moved to a different date and Celtic did not take up their allocation of tickets for the game amid security concerns, but that did not prevent disorder from breaking out. Celtic’s Leigh Griffiths was targeted by Linfield fans, who launched missiles, including a glass bottle, at the striker when he attempted to take a corner kick.
The Scotland international was shown a yellow card when he tried to draw the referee’s attention to the objects being thrown at him, an incident Rodgers felt was bizarre.
“Obviously it’s not what you wanted to see. The game was played in good spirit, in the main. So it’s not ideally what you would like to see,” Rodgers said.
“I thought it was strange [Griffiths] getting booked for it. But like I say the talk is more really on the football for us. The scoreline was okay, it could have been better but it gives us the advantage for the second leg.”
UEFA has confirmed that charges have been brought against both clubs following the game, with Linfield being disciplined for the unruly behaviour of their fans during and after the game, while Celtic are being punished because Griffiths is said to have ‘provoked spectators’ by tying a scarf around the goalpost after the game, as well as the fact the Hoops received five yellow cards.
Despite the off-field issues, with a two-goal lead and home advantage, the Bhoys will be keen to put on a show as they attempt to cement their place in the third qualifying round, where either Rosenborg or Dundalk will be their opponents.