Celtic draw Linfield or La Fiorita in Champions League
Frank Monkhouse | 21 June 2017
Bhoys could face Northern Irish champions
The draw for the early rounds of the Champions League took place on Monday and Scottish champions Celtic have been pulled out of the hat alongside La Fiorita and Linfield.
The winner of San Marino vs Northern Ireland in the first round will play Celtic in the second on Tuesday 11th July, with the return leg in Glasgow a week later. Click here to have your early say on the Champions League and Europa League winners.
Celtic seek Champions League improvement
It’ll be a long road if Celtic are to reach the Champions League proper but the Scots, seeded in group three alongside the likes of Malmo, Rosenborg and Legia Warsaw, did it the hard way last season, winning through two qualifying rounds and a play-off.
Once there, they held their own in what was a tough group, alongside Barcelona, Man City and Borussia Monchengladbach. The Hoops ended bottom of that pool, but did pick up three points, drawing home and away with Man City and ending level vs Monchengladbach. They will be targeting improvement, but it is worth remembering they lost 7-0 to Barcelona in Group C game one.
Rangers host Niederkorn in Europa League
Old Firm rivals Rangers are back in Europe, and have been handed what appears to be a very winnable task against Luxembourg’s Progres Niederkorn in the Europa League. The first tie will take place in Govan on Thursday 29th June, with the return leg on 6th July.
Rangers boss Pedro Caixinha is in the middle of a summer clear-out at Rangers, and added Columbian striker Alfredo Morelos on Monday, making him the Light Blues’ sixth signing of the window. More new arrivals are expected, with Caixinha suggesting he could bring in up to 11 fresh faces, while weeding out the worst of what Mark Warburton left behind.
Of the other Scottish sides, St Johnstone meet Trakai of Lithuania and Aberdeen face-off against Ordabasy or Siroki in the second round. Rangers will be looking to make home advantage count in the first-leg, and if they do as expected and progress, they’ll play the winner of AEL Limassol and St Joseph’s.