Celtic’s victory over Linfield has passed off without any major incident between the fans, despite a number of ugly moments during and after the match in Belfast.
Projectiles were thrown at Celtic corner taker Leigh Griffiths from a Linfield section of Windsor Park.
The incident happened around the 65th minute as Griffiths lined up to take the corner kick.
As he did so, a number of objects were thrown from the crowd, including what appears to be an empty bottle of Buckfast that missed him by a few feet and bounced forward onto the pitch.
The Scotland international brought this to the attention of referee Alejandro Hernandez, who then – in a decision that has proven controversial – showed him a yellow card.
The incident has drawn heavy criticism on social media as an unwelcome addition to a match that featured a sublime performance from Linfield goalkeeper Roy Carroll to keep the Belfast club in the tie for the return leg in Glasgow after their 2-0 loss.
Responding to the incident in a post-match press conference, Linfield’s manager David Healy said that he had not seen the incident, but that Linfield had made “giant strides” over the years in stopping the abuse of players.
Celtic manager Brenden Rodgers said that he hadn’t seen what had been thrown, but said that whatever may have been thrown, it “shouldn’t happen”.
“Players go on to the field and it should be a safe environment for them,” he said.
“You want the passion from the stands to stay in there. But if you take that away from it, it was a good evening.
“Obviously it’s not what you wanted to see. The game was played in good spirit, in the main. So it’s not ideally what you would like to see. I thought it was strange him getting booked for it.”
— Kieran O’Neill (@CalmDownKieran) July 14, 2017
Linfield fans throwing coins and a buckfast bottle at Celtic player Leigh Griffiths trying to take a corner pic.twitter.com/Q90lvdf6tK
— Mark McConville (@mark_mac_) July 14, 2017
Referee was a disgrace. Throwing a bottle of Buckfast at Griff and HE GETS A YELLOW. Linfield showing their true colours
— Shania (@c_sixty7) July 14, 2017
Impressed by Linfield’s fitness &2nd half. Shame a few morons+buckfast will partly overshadow it.
— James Greer (@jimtgreer) July 14, 2017
At the final whistle, a number of fans of the home team attempted to access the pitch when Griffiths tied a scarf to the goal post.
Celtic striker Leigh Griffiths cheers in the direction of the Celtic fans after tying a Celtic scarf to the goal post following the UEFA Champions League Qualifying, Second Round, First Leg match at Windsor Park, Belfast. Liam McBurney/PA Wire
In a statement, PSNI Superintendent Norman Haslett said: “I would like to pay tribute to and thank the vast majority of fans from both football clubs who behaved impeccably and enjoyed the football match in Belfast between Linfield and Celtic this afternoon.
“Unfortunately, there were a small number of incidents which police and other relevant authorities will be reviewing in the days to come.
“I would like to thank everyone who worked together to ensure fans were able to enjoy the football safely.”
During the police operation a 25-year-old man was arrested for disorderly behaviour.
Belfast Telegraph Digital