Belfast prepares for Linfield - Celtic showdown

The Beehive Bar in West Belfast gets set for the Celtic V Linfield game. Picture by Hugh Russell
Andrew Madden

CELTIC fans without tickets for Friday's UEFA Champions League qualifier with Linfield are to gather in bars and homes to watch the eagerly anticipated showdown.

The match will kick-off at 5pm at Windsor Park, however, Celtic fans will have to be accommodated elsewhere as the club turned down its allocation of tickets due to security concerns.

Several venues around Belfast are attempting to capitalise on the situation by setting up various "fan zones".

The tie, where Linfield will be going in to the game as huge underdogs, is to be televised on a Sky and Virgin add-on channel, Premier Sports.

A spokesperson for Premier Sports said it "outbid other interested parties" to win the tender to broadcast the game.

In west Belfast, the game will be shown in The Rock Bar on the Falls Road, which advertises itself as "Ireland’s Biggest Rebel Bar and Belfast's home to Glasgow Celtic".

The Devenish Complex on the Finaghy Road, meanwhile, is hoping to lure fans in with "the biggest screen in Ireland".

Screens have been set up both inside and outside the complex for the game, with free entry from noon onwards.

The Beehive Bar on Falls Road will also be showing the match on seven screens.

The capacity at Windsor Park on Friday is expected to be around 10,500, however, this could be higher if Celtic fans gain entry into the ground.

Earlier this week, Linfield chairman Roy McGivern said during a press conference that he would be "amazed" if there were no Celtic fans at the game.

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