Craig Gordon insists an all-Linfield crowd in Northern Ireland will not rock Celtic’s Champions League bid.
The first leg of the second-round qualifier in Belfast was moved to Friday evening instead of July 11-12 as initially planned so it did not clash with Orange Order parades, but Celtic declined their supporter allocation amid security concerns.
Police in Northern Ireland are on standby for the fixture at Windsor Park, despite insisting Celtic’s decision not to accept their allocation of away tickets for the game was taken “solely by the football club and was not made by PSNI”.
Celtic goalkeeper Gordon is confident the Scottish treble-winners will take the first step towards European football’s top competition regardless of whether or not they have any backing in the stands.
“I don’t think it will make that much difference,” he said. “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.”