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It was a historic occasion at Windsor Park – a Champions League clash between the green of Celtic and the blue of Linfield.

In the end, Brendan Rodgers’ Hoops – the Scottish champions – .

But before the match a spirit of compromise broke out despite the rivalry between the clubs.

However there could be a potential fine for Linfield for a thrown bottle that almost struck Celtic striker Leigh Griffiths.

A number of small scuffles broke out in the crowd after the final whistle and police in riot gear came onto the pitch to keep the peace.

A 25-year-old man was arrested on suspicion of disorderly behaviour. Celtic had not taken up their ticket allocation for the match amid security concerns.

But rather than close their eyes and hope Celtic fans would not break the ticket ban imposed on them, Linfield set aside an entrance gate and a stand for them.

It meant the two sets of supporters went into the stadium at gates almost half-a-mile apart and they were not sitting beside each other inside the stadium.

It worked well.

Indeed, the only Blues fan who went into the wrong gate was well-known Democratic Unionist Party (DUP) politician Jim Wells.

He saw the funny side, as did the stewards.

The special arrangements for Celtic fans were a triumph of pragmatism.

There was some tension in the air as a small group of loyalists – no more than a dozen – tried to get past police lines and confront the Celtic supporters.

As they conceded defeat, one shouted “we’ll get them later”.

It was confirmation, if it were needed, that the police will have to remain vigilant this evening long after the final whistle.

The match itself was a tightly-fought affair, albeit dominated by Celtic.

Linfield fans queued long before kick off to make sure they got into the ground in good time.

The first man in the queue had a personal connection to the game – Frank Burns’s son is Linfield attacker Aaron Burns.

“This game means a lot to me,” he said.

“Hopefully Linfield will hold them to a 1-1 draw, or 2-1 – sneaky wee win.”

Frank said Aaron wasn’t nervous before the game but that the players were a little disappointed more Celtic fans would not be in Windsor Park.

Close by in the queue, a woman told me that she had queued for over two hours to get her ticket.

“We want to beat them, it’s massive,” she said.

“This is something you may never, ever see again.

“I don’t mind Celtic, they’re a good team – but they’ve no opposition at all in Scotland.”

Another fan making their way into Windsor Park was Billy Hutchinson, a Progressive Unionist Party councillor at Belfast City Council.

“We would like to get through to the next round but that’ll be difficult, we’re only a semi-pro team,” he said.

“But it’s great to be here.”

He added that Friday’s bumper crowd reflected the high-profile nature of the match.

“Lots of Linfield fans have turned out today,” he said.

“They’re not the fans I would see on a normal match day, they don’t come every week.

“But what I hope is that we have a good day, that the atmosphere’s good and we keep it to football.”

Over at the entrance for Celtic supporters, one fan made his way inside after travelling from Glasgow – and he wasn’t telling us where he got his ticket.

“It’ll be tense but it’ll be a good atmosphere,” he said.

A Celtic fan from Ardglass in County Down also expected a positive atmosphere and said there was respect between the two sets of fans.

“It think there is, of course there is – it’s a football game, that’s all it is.

“I don’t think there’ll be any fighting or arguing or anything like that – I think it’ll be a normal football game.”

And a prediction?

“4-0 to Celtic.”

It was a tighter scoreline at the end of 90 minutes, but there’s still another 90 minutes left to play with both sides heading to Celtic Park in Glasgow for the second leg next Wednesday.

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