Celtic & Rangers learn fate

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Rangers have been drawn against either Malmö or HJK Helsinki in the Champions League third qualifying round when they try to reach the group stage in Europe’s elite competition for the first time since the 2010/11 season.

However, Celtic must face Midtjylland in the second qualifier, with a tough third round against PSV Eindhoven or Galatasaray waiting for the winner.

Third qualifying round ✅

Who is the strongest team at this stage? #UCL pic.twitter.com/i1KU6G0Tug

– UEFA Champions League (@ChampionsLeague) 19 July 2021

Celtic were last in the Champions League group stage during the 2017/18 campaign, although new manager Ange Postecoglou has already questioned the club’s prospects this season by complaining that they ” can not get people in fast enough ” to strengthen the troupe.

Rangers’ Scottish Premiership title last season under Steven Gerrard was their first since the financial disaster a decade ago and is enough to give the club a place in the third qualifier. After meeting either Malmö in Sweden, there is a playoff between them and a place in the group stage. A draw can make it tough or favorable if Rangers are seeded out.

No matter what happens, Rangers are guaranteed to be in the group stage of a European competition this season. Even defeat in the third qualifying round of the “Champions Path” would mean a transfer to the Europa League play-offs, which in turn would mean moving on to either the Europa League group stage if they win or the Europa Conference League group stage if they lose.

If Rangers beat either Malmö or HJK but were later eliminated in the Champions League play-offs, they would move into the Europa League group stage. Winning both the third qualifier and the playoffs would, of course, mean getting into the Champions League group stage.

Celtic only need to beat Midtjylland to also be guaranteed a group place in one of the three European competitions, as defeat in the third qualifier for them in the “league track” would automatically result in a place in the Europa League group stage.

Defeat in the second round results in a place in the Europa League third qualifying round. Defeat at that stage would then mean a place in the Europa Conference League play-offs.

Ange Postecoglous Celtic meets Midtjylland in the Champions League second qualifier / Catherine Ivill / Getty Images

Celtics’ draw against Midtjylland will be played on Tuesday 20 July and Wednesday 28 July.

The third round of qualifying bands will then take place 3/4 August and 10/11 August.

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