Celtic could face Belfast club Linfield in July 12th qualifier

Dundalk and Cork learn their fate in Champions and Europa League draws

Celtic fans during the derby against Rangers in March. Photograph: Mark Runnacles/Getty Images

Scottish champions Celtic have been drawn to face Linfield of Northern Ireland, should they overcome La Fiorita from San Marino, in the second qualifying round of the Champions League.

The first leg of the fixture is set for July 11/12th, with Linfield (Belfast) or La Fiorita at home.

Wednesday, July 12th is also The Twelfth, an Ulster protestant celebration in Northern Ireland. The day is signified by marches to celebrate the victory of protestant king William of Orange over catholic king James II at the Battle of the Boyne in 1690.

While Celtic are renowned for their distinct Irish Roman Catholic foundations and identity, which has led to a fierce rivalry with fellow Glasgow club Rangers.


Brendan Rodgers’ side, who reached the group stages last season, will look to build on their unbeaten domestic campaign in the new season, starting with a smooth Champions League qualification.

The second leg is on July 18/19th, in Celtic Park.

Meanwhile League of Ireland champions Dundalk will face Rosenborg in the second round of qualifying. Rosenborg have won the Norwegian league on 24 occasions, including the last two seasons.

The third qualifying round draw is on July 13th, while the play-off for the group stages is drawn on August 4th, and will include Liverpool.

In the Europa League draw, Cork City will look to take their domestic form on to the continent as they face Levadia Tallinn in their first round qualifier. They will travel to Estonia for the first leg.

While Shamrock Rovers are also away first, as they face Stjarnan from Iceland. Derry City play FC Midtjylland from Denmark. They beat Manchester United in the home leg of their Europa League last 32 match last season, but their 2-1 victory was eclipsed by United's 5-1 Old Trafford win.

Eamon Donoghue

Eamon Donoghue

Eamon Donoghue is a former Irish Times journalist