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Celtic drawn with Cliftonville

Celtic have been drawn to play Northern Ireland champions Cliftonville in qualifying for the UEFA Champions League.

Last Updated: 02/07/13 at 13:02 Post Comment

Celtic: Neil Lennon's men in action against Barcelona in last season's C

Celtic: Neil Lennon's men in action against Barcelona in last season's C

Neil Lennon's side will play the first leg of their second-round qualifier on July 16/17 before hosting the return game a week later.

Celtic reached the knockout stage of last season's competition thanks in part to a group-stage victory over Barcelona in Glasgow, and striker Anthony Stokes is looking forward to this term's opener.

He told the club website: "It's a great draw for both clubs "Cliftonville had an exceptional season and it will be a tough game and we will have to be at our best, but we're going to have a good pre-season and will be ready.

"Both atmospheres will be electric. I'm sure they will have a good crowd over here for the game as I know there is a decent relationship between the two clubs.

"I know a lot of their fans would be Celtic fans as well or would look for us to do well, though maybe not in these two games."

Elsewhere, Welsh club the New Saints were paired with Legia Warsaw of Poland, while Irish champions Sligo Rovers will take on Ole Gunnar Solskjaer's Norwegian side Molde.

The winners of the second-round ties must come through two further rounds of qualifying to make the group stage, although should Celtic progress they will be seeded for any further qualifying rounds.

UEFA Champions League first and second qualifying round draws:

First qualifying round:

Shirak v Tre Penne

Lusitanos v EB/Streymur

Ties to be played 2/3 and 9/10 July

Second qualifying round:

Neftci v Skenderbeu

Steaua Bucuresti v Vardar

Plzen v Zeljeznicar

FC Sheriff v Sutjeska

Birkirkara v Maribor

Sligo Rovers v Molde

IF Elfsborg v FC Daugava

HJK Helsinki v Nomme Kalju

FK Ekranas v FH Hafnarfjordur

The New Saints v Legia Warsaw

Celtic v Cliftonville

Dinamo Zagreb v CS Fola Esch

Gyor v Maccabi Tel-Aviv

BATE v Shakhtyor Karaganda

Shirak/Tre Penne v Partizan Belgrade

Slovan Bratislava v Ludogorets

Dinamo Tbilisi v Lusitanos/EB/Streymur

Ties to be played 16/17 and 23/24 July

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Readers' Comments

S

terling needs to be told though that upon entering the Arsenal squad he will re-enact the final scene from Highlander where he will be thrown around a warehouse by cartoon dragons and then be a mere mortal that will only ever spend three to four weeks a season playing football and the rest on the physio's bed. There can be only one.....player available at The Emirates.

rodger's gusset
Arsenal interest in Sterling

T

he game changed in our favour when Carrick came on. We were able to play further up the pitch due to having a player who can give and go with the ball and keep possession. Yet barkley made some runs and Townsend scored a good goal but carrick's inclusion and chiellini's withdrawal made the biggest difference to the flow of the game

ricky villa
Hodgson: Barkley was brilliant

N

o, you've not silenced anyone Andros, i'm afraid. We know you can score a great goal, and it's really handy to have your direct running and willingness to shoot on the bench. But until you can do the other things expected of a winger (beat the man, put a decent cross in, stay wide etc) then you can't expect more than a regular cameo. Wonderful goal though, what a hit! No wonder Buffon wanted the shirt.

badwolf
Townsend: I've silenced critics

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