BY ALAN TEMPLE at WINDSOR PARK – @CCP_Sport
DAVID HEALY has joked that he is ready to play a 6-4-0 against Celtic after Linfield were battered by Hearts – while Celtic were knocking NINE past Shamrock Rovers.
Harry Cochrane, Jamie Walker, Isma Goncalves and Cole Stockton all found the net, cancelling out a fine opener by Blues skipper Jamie Mulgrew.
While foolish to read too much into a friendly, one suspects that Brendan Rodgers will be presented with a substantial dossier of defensive weaknesses by chief scout John McGlynn, who was in attendance at Windsor Park.
Indeed, allied with Celtic running riot on the other side of the Irish border at the same time, it was an ominous afternoon for Linfield.
“I did hear the Celtic score against Shamrock, someone told me the good news,” laughed Healy. “We had someone at the game and they have sent me through the match report – I told him to delete it after the first couple of goals. Maybe I’m going to play a six-four-zero!
“No, I’m going to ask the players to enjoy it. It’s a huge, huge occasion. We will probably never, ever play Celtic again in the second qualifying round of the Champions League. Enjoy the occasion because you might never get it again.
“Some of these players are getting on a bit, some of these players are young. Some of them might never get the chance of playing again at this level.”
The build up to the fixture has been dominated by potential security concerns, with Celtic announcing they will not be taking up their allocation. However, Healy is adamant he can’t wait to welcome the Scottish champions to Belfast.
“I’ve a huge amount of respect for Celtic,” said Healy, a former Rangers star. “People will be waiting on me to slip up and say something – that I’ve no respect for Celtic Football Club – well I certainly do.
“I can’t wait personally to have them here.”