JONNY Hayes last night insisted he is looking forward to sampling the “nice atmosphere” at Windsor Park in Belfast if his new club Celtic have to take on Linfield in a Champions League qualifier next month.

The Scottish champions were yesterday drawn to face the winners of the first round meeting between their Northern Irish counterparts and La Florita of San Marino.

If Linfield prevail in that two-legged fixture against their part-time opponents – as they are widely expected to do – they will come up against Celtic in the second qualifying round.

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Read more: Jonny Hayes lured back to Celtic by Brendan Rodgers - the coach who stole him away from Parkhead as a boy

Representatives from both clubs spoke to UEFA officials following the draw in Nyon, Switzerland, and immediately ruled out the possibility of playing the game on July 12 as that will present serious security issues for local police.

That date is public holiday in Northern Ireland - it celebrates the victory by the Protestant King William of Orange over the Catholic King James II at the Battle of the Boyne in 1690 - and is often marred by sectarian violence.

It now looks certain the game will go ahead the day before, possibly with an early kick-off time, to avoid any crowd trouble.

Hayes, the Republic of Ireland winger who completed his £1.3 million transfer to Celtic on Saturday, has played in the Europa League qualifying rounds with Aberdeen in the last three seasons and knows it will be a difficult tie to negotiate.

However, the 29-year-old Dubliner, whose last competitive match came against Celtic in the William Hill Scottish Cup final last month, is looking forward to the double header and the prospect of making his debut for Brendan Rodgers’s side.

“If Linfield go through it will be a tough game there, but it will be a nice atmosphere to play in,” he said.

Read more: Jonny Hayes lured back to Celtic by Brendan Rodgers - the coach who stole him away from Parkhead as a boy

“You always want to play in decent football grounds and atmospheres and I have spoken to Niall McGinn (the Northern Ireland internationalist who was his team mate at Aberdeen) and he talks about the atmosphere.

“I played there in the Foyle Cup when I was about 15-years-old with a young Irish team and that’s the only time I’ve played there. I’m sure that if we do have to play there then we will be clued up on what to expect.

“It’ll be incomparable to what it’s like at Celtic Park for a Champions League match. It will be a good game if they do go through and we’ll look forward to it. I’d play in the car park tomorrow if I needed to. I’m just looking forward to getting going.”

Hayes continued: “I know from playing in Europe with Aberdeen over the last few years that there isn’t one easy game.

“I remember playing a team who were a so-called minnow from Luxembourg (CS Fola Esch last year) and we took a 3-1 lead over there and lost the game. They hit the post in the final minute and that would have put them through on the away goals if it had gone in.

Read more: Jonny Hayes lured back to Celtic by Brendan Rodgers - the coach who stole him away from Parkhead as a boy

“That shows that there are no easy games. I’m sure whoever plays against Celtic will always raise their game.”

Hayes admitted the chance to play in the Champions League group stages against teams like Barcelona, Juventus and Manchester United was one of the attractions of signing for Celtic, but stressed that he knew it wouldn't be easy progressing to that stage.

“There’s a long way to go with qualifiers,” he said. “There are some tough games in Europe. People will come to Celtic Park with thoughts of turning us over and we have to be prepared for that. If we get there eventually, I’ll look forward to it, but it’s still a long, long way away."