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Goalkeeper Craig Gordon insists Celtic can overcome lack of Hoops fans at Linfield

Goalkeeper Craig Gordon.  (Mike Egerton/PA Wire)
Goalkeeper Craig Gordon. (Mike Egerton/PA Wire)

CRAIG GORDON believes Celtic will retain their Champions League focus even if their fans are absent against Linfield at Windsor Park.

The Parkhead club declined tickets for the first leg of the second qualifier in Belfast amid security concerns.

The match was moved to Friday evening instead of July 11-12 as initially planned so it did not clash with Orange Order parades.

However, Gordon insists the Scottish treble-winners will look to take the first step towards European football’s premier club competition regardless of whether or not they have any backing.

The Scotland keeper said: “I don’t think it will make that much difference. We will be fully focused on the job we have to do on the pitch, and whatever goes on in the stands, we will not be focusing on that and we will go out and play the game to try and win and get an advantage to take into the second-leg.

“We know what we have to do here. We are fully focused and very well prepared to go and do that.

“Whatever happens we have to go out there and play our game. We have prepared really well for this, we have looked good in training and we will have the second-leg at home in front of 60,000, so we know we will be backed when we get back to Celtic Park.

“We are looking to win the game. It’s two legs so we don’t want to be going for it too much.

“We will look to win the game as we do in every game, whether it’s home or away against anybody and we will see as the game goes on.”

Windsor Park will be less than half-full for the visit of Brendan Rodgers’ side but boss of the Northern Irish champions, David Healy, a former Rangers striker, had a message for the home fans.

“Enjoy the game, enjoy the occasion,.” he said.

“It might be the only chance the fans get to see Celtic. So enjoy it, embrace it, do it the proper Linfield way.

“Linfield over the years have made great strides on and off the pitch so they should enjoy it.

“I would urge the fans, be patient, get behind the players and hopefully these guys will do us proud.”