535,000 reasons why Celtic should be aiming for a massive Europa League send-off

By Euan Davidson

December 7, 2021

Celtic face Real Betis on Thursday in the Europa League; call it a dead-rubber, call it what you will.

Ange Postecoglou has already outlined why it matters to him. Every European night is an opportunity; from a co-efficient standpoint, from a squad confidence perspective and for the reputation boost it can give the Hoops on the continent.

We have a manager who’s a born winner. He wants Celtic to win every game they compete in; whether it has material importance or not.

Photo by Fran Santiago/Getty Images

But there’s at least 535,000 reasons why it might really help his cause. For every win in the Europa League group stages, there’s €630,000 on offer [Swiss Ramble].

That’s £535,000 to potentially add to Postecoglou’s January transfer fund.

Per Swiss Ramble, here is the breakdown of finances in the Europa League group stage:

That’s a hefty bit of funding. While the temptation is for Celtic to rotate entirely in this Europa League tie, and get some minutes in the legs of players who need it, you could understand Postecoglou fielding a strong team. Purely because he wants to win of course, he’s famously not an accountant.

He’ll be aware though, surely, that a final, slightly meaningless 3 points would do the coffers some good. So, from a footballing point of view and a financial point of view, there’s plenty of incentive for Celtic here.

But really, we should be expecting them to do their best regardless. Perhaps there’s 535,001 reasons, then.

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Andrés Iniesta poses with another Celtic target, as ridiculous Hearts whining continues
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It’s about more than money; Celtic could send a warning to Europa League competition with Betis win

There’s also some revenge on the cards here. Betis beat Celtic 4-3 in their first Europa League meeting, a result that really shouldn’t have been.

It was perhaps, at that stage, the best half of football Celtic fans had seen in an age. That it all fell away so spectacularly remains a frustration.

Those kind of things clearly get to Ange Postecoglou. As they should, mind. That was a strong Betis side that we played, a team who beat Barcelona at the weekend. Manuel Pellegrini is doing some excellent work in Andalusia, in what’s been a largely successful managerial career.

Photo by Robbie Jay Barratt – AMA/Getty Images

Ange wanted to test himself against the best. In terms of teams we can play this season, Real Betis are right up there. Celtic so nearly had them last time.

As far as financial incentives go, it’d be a welcome boost for the club ahead of January. There’s more to it than that, though. This is a manager who finds the idea of a dead rubber utterly abhorrent. As well any Celtic boss should.

For Postecoglou, there’s pride at stake. For the Celtic board, there’s a cool half a million that’d look far better in the club’s hands than Betis’.

A dead rubber? No chance.

Read more: Acting Celtic CEO Michael Nicholson speaks after brilliant off-field Christmas gesture