Football/Soccer

What a draw: Windsor Park: July 11 or 12: Linfield could face Celtic in Champions League qualifier clash

Scottish champions Celtic will play Northern Ireland's Linfield or La Fiorita of San Marino in the second qualifying round of the Champions League.

Brendan Rodgers' side, who reached the group stages last season, will begin their competitive season when the tie takes place over two legs on July 11 or 12 and 18 or 19.

Their opponents will become clear in the first week of July after Linfield and La Florita have played each other in the first qualifying round.

With Celtic drawn away for the first leg, the possibility of them playing in Belfast on July 12, a key date in the marching calendar, would present major difficulties for security services given past sectarian tensions.

It remains to be seen how any issues could be resolved.

Elsewhere the draw, made at the headquarters of European governing body UEFA in Nyon, Dundalk were handed a tie against Rosenborg of Norway.

Like Linfield, Welsh side The New Saints must also enter at the first qualifying round stage. They will play Europa of Gibraltar and will then face HNK Rijeka of Croatia if they get through.

Sixteen days after Real Madrid became European champions for the 12th time, the road to Kyiv began to take shape with debutants Trepça '89 in the first tie to be draw; the Kosovan champions will take on Víkingur of the Faroe Islands.

Celtic, European champions in 1967, will play Linfield or La Fiorita in that second qualifying round, with København meeting Žilina.

APOEL, Malmö and Legia Warszawa, who have featured in the group stage in recent years, were also among the sides involved in today's draws; their bids to return to that stage begin against Dudelange, Vardar and IFK Mariehamn respectively.

First qualifying round draw (27/28 June & 4/5 July)

Víkingur (FRO) v Trepça '89 (KOS)

Hibernians (MLT) v FCI Tallinn (EST)
Alashkert (ARM) v FC Santa Coloma (AND) 
The New Saints (WAL) v Europa (GIB)
Linfield (NIR) v La Fiorita (SMR)

Second qualifying round draw (11/12 & 18/29 July)

APOEL (CYP) v Dudelange (LUX) 
Žalgiris (LTU) v Ludogorets Razgrad (BUL)
Qaraba? (AZE) v Samtredia (GEO)
Partizan (SRB) v Budu?nost Podgorica (MNE) 
Hibernians (MLT)/FCI Tallinn (EST) v Salzburg (AUT) 
Sheriff Tiraspol (MDA) v Kukës (ALB)
Astana (KAZ) v Spartaks J?rmala (LVA) 
BATE Borisov (BLR) v Alashkert (ARM)/FC Santa Coloma (AND) 
Žilina (SVK) v København (DEN) 
Hapoel Beer-Sheva (ISR) v Honvéd (HUN) 
Rijeka (CRO) v The New Saints (WAL)/Europa (GIB)
Malmö (SWE) v Vardar (MKD) 
Zrinjski (BIH) v Maribor (SVN) 
Dundalk (IRL) v Rosenborg (NOR)
FH Hafnarfjördur (ISL) v Víkingur (FRO)/Trepça '89 (KOS)
Linfield (NIR)/La Fiorita (SMR) v Celtic (SCO)
IFK Mariehamn (FIN) v Legia Warszawa (POL)

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