Hoops await Euro opponents

Celtic are among several British sides who will learn their first 2013/14 European opponents on Monday.

Last Updated: 23/06/13 at 16:38 Post Comment    Bet with SkyBet  Champions League Winner 13/14. Click here to bet.

Neil Lennon: Awaiting Champions League draw

Neil Lennon: Awaiting Champions League draw

Celtic could be paired a Welsh or Irish side when their first Champions League qualifying opponents are decided on Monday.

Neil Lennon's side are seeded in the second qualifying round draw with Irish champions Sligo Rovers, Danske Bank Premiership winners Cliftonville and Welsh champions The New Saints among the teams Celtic could face.

The Hoops are among 17 seeds in the draw with all but two of their possible opponents already known - the champions of Andorra, San Marino, Armenia and the Faroe Islands are the only teams playing in the first qualifying round.

Celtic, whose first game will be on July 16-17, will have to knock out a total of three teams in order to reach the group stages for a second successive season.

The Europa League second qualifying round fixtures will also be decided on Monday, with Hibernian and St Johnstone among the British sides entering at that stage.

The first qualifying round will be drawn first with Linfield and St Patrick's Athletic among the seeded teams. Glentoran, Crusaders, Drogheda and Welsh sides Airbus FC, Prestatyn and Bala are among the unseeded sides.

St Pat's will be seeded for the second-round draw too with Hibs and St Johnstone unseeded along with Derry City and Linfield. UEFA will split the 80 potential second-round teams into eight groups of 10 in the morning to narrow down the potential opponents.

Russian side Rubin Kazan and Belgians Standard Liege are among the leading sides in the draw.

St Johnstone's opening European game on July 18 will be Tommy Wright's first match in charge after he stepped up following the departure of Steve Lomas to Millwall.

Wright said: "It couldn't get much more exciting in terms of the European games for the supporters and players.

"Hopefully it will logistically be one that is good for the fans with not too much travelling, and we would obviously like a team we have a decent chance of beating."

Scottish Premier League runners-up Motherwell enter the competition in the third qualifying round.

Meanwhile, Andy Preece, manager of Welsh League outfit Airbus FC, insists his side will not be disgraced on their European debut - no matter who they land.

Only a couple of teams from San Marino are ranked lower than Airbus in the 76-team first qualifying round.

"If we come up against anybody that is halfway or below in the list of seeded teams, I really believe we can get through,'' he said.

"In past years, there have been instances of clubs being beaten by eight or 10 goals against the top sides at this stage of the competition.

"We are too well organised and good at our jobs to get beaten by a score like that, even against the best.

"I will put my neck on the line and say it won't happen.''

The Champions League draw takes place at 1100 BST, with the Europa League draw starting an hour later.


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