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Griffiths targeted as Celtic ease through tie

Leigh Griffiths
Leigh Griffiths (SNS Group)

Linfield 0 Celtic 2

Champions League 2nd qualifying round first leg
Windsor Park, Belfast

Two first half goals from Scott Sinclair and Tom Rogic gave Celtic a comfortable lead to take into the second leg of this qualifying tie.

The Scottish champions dominated play and for David Healy’s players it was more a case of keeping the score to a dignified level.

They certainly had no one to challenge Celtic skipper Scott Brown who was imperious in midfield, even though he escaped harsh punishment following an aggressive foul on Stephen Lowry.

It took only until the 17th minute for the home team, featuring former  Manchester United goalkeeper Roy Carroll, to fall behind when Sinclair headed the visitors into the lead following a corner.

A second corner led to Celtic’s second goal when a left-foot shot from Rogic flew past Carroll. The two sides meet for the second leg at Celtic Park on Wednesday.

The match was marred by some bottle-throwing when Leigh Griffiths appeared to be the target after celebrating his part in the second goal.

Celtic may also have something to say to Uefa about Spanish referee Alejandro Hernandez who booked the striker for delaying the kick while picking up one of the bottles.

Manager Brendan Rodgers said the officials “could not explain” the yellow card.

Linfield chairman Roy McGivern appealed to the troublesome fans to refrain from causing disorder.

Celtic did not take up their ticket allocation because of security fears, although 300 travelling fans were inside a half-full stadium.

A number of Linfield fans tried to invade the pitch after Griffiths tied a Celtic scarf to the goalposts.

In a statement Linfield said: “The club will be reviewing our own footage and investigating. We are obviously very disappointed that a small number of people chose not to respect the club’s wishes. There will be serious and lasting consequences for anyone involved.”

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