FOOTBALL: Healy - Time for talking is over

Linfield Manager David Healy pictured at the Linfield press conference at Windsor Park in Belfast ahead of their game with Celtic.  Photo by Kelvin Boyes / Press Eye.
Linfield Manager David Healy pictured at the Linfield press conference at Windsor Park in Belfast ahead of their game with Celtic. Photo by Kelvin Boyes / Press Eye.

David Healy is calling on the Linfield football family to showcase the club’s proud history - even if a fall may follow against Celtic.

An expected capacity crowd will back the Blues across a Champions League qualifying clash between two teams fresh from treble-winning triumphs at domestic level.

Celtic’s decision to avoid accepting the allocation of away tickets has been a major talking point leading up to the tie but Healy’s only focus is on the backing the home supporters can provide his players.

“I hope our fans enjoy the game and occasion,” said Healy. “In the long, proud history of both clubs, we’ve never met each other in any competition and I can’t imagine there being many friendlies.

“It might be the only chance the fans get to see Celtic so, hopefully, they enjoy and embrace it and do it the proper Linfield way.

“This club has made massive strides over the years on and off the pitch to make improvements.

“We have a mixed dressing room which is great, they enjoy each other’s company.

“Hopefully, the fans will be patient and enjoy it and I’m sure the players will go out and do us proud.”

Now the off-field hype is over, Healy is relishing the chance to tackle Celtic within the familiar four white lines of the Windsor Park pitch.

“The talking is over,” he said. “The players will have been aware this was on the horizon, it’s been talked about for a long time.

“Did we want Celtic? Probably not as an ambitious club and manager, the players were keen to stay in the competition.

“You might have preferred a softer draw when you had an opportunity to maybe advance.

“We’re under no illusions how difficult the task is, it’s one we’ll embrace.

“The players are chomping at the bit to finally get out there.”