Published Tuesday, 23 July 2013
Less than a year ago some people were calling for manager David Jeffrey's head after the Blues had gone through a season without a trophy to their name and achieved 'only' a third place finish in the Irish Premiership.
Now though, big Davy will take on hero's status if his side can qualify for the next stage of the competition and earn a likely meeting with Standard Liege.
Jeffrey, of course, is a former Linfield player and he scored a rare goal for the club back in 1984 to secure the Blues a 1-1 draw with Shamrock Rovers which earned them a tie with Panathanaikos.
The Greeks won the home leg 2-1 and then put Linfield out 5-4 on aggregate after coming from 0-3 down to force a 3-3 draw in the return leg.
Before that, in 1971 Linfield bowed out on away goals to Manchester City after winning the home leg 2-1 in front of 25,000 at Windsor Park.
More recently in 1993, the Blues beat FC Copenhagen 3-0 at home but went out 4-3 on aggregate after the Danes scored an injury time winner in the return leg.
In the current decade Linfield haven't had much success in terms of winning ties in Europe until the last two years when the club has been successful in two out of four ties including an unprecedented three victories in a row in the current campaign.
Faroe Islanders IF were beaten home and away and then came arguably one of the Blues best-ever results in Europe - that 1-0 away win in Xanthi, a team that plays in what is rated the 11th best league on the continent.
Now the challenge is to ensure all the hard work in Greece doesn't go unrewarded although it certainly won't be easy - just ask Linfield's cross city rivals Glentoran.
Eddie Patterson's side did their bit in Iceland when they came away from Reykjavick with a creditable 0-0 draw against KR only to lose the home leg 3-0 at the Oval.
Ironically, KR were drawn to face Standard Liege and a 3-1 win in the first leg in Iceland has set up the Belgians nicely for the second instalment.
Much will depend on whether the Blues can keep a clean sheet - if they do then they will go through.
Team captain Michael Gault is now being employed in a central defensive role and playing some of the best football of his career having missed the last four Euro campaigns due to injury.
Northern Ireland goalkeeper Jonathan Tuffey, an astute signing by David Jeffrey, made some superb saves in the away leg in Greece.
Both men could be in for a busy night on Thursday.
© UTV News