Celtic close to automatic return to Champions League group stages

By John Reid

August 7, 2020

Celtic are not far away from having the chance of qualifying for the Champions League group stages automatically.

At the moment, the Hoops have to play four qualifying rounds to reach the money-spinning group stages of the competition.

Two spots in Champions League

However, as ESPN’s Dale Johnson has revealed on Twitter, that will change next season. Scotland will receive two spots in the Champions League qualifiers in season 2021-22.

Champions League nights at Celtic Park take a lot of beating (Photo by Chris Brunskill Ltd/Getty Images)

Should the Hoops win the league this season, then Celtic will only need to win two qualifiers to reach the group stages.

However, perhaps more important is that, according to Johnson, should Celtic – and the other Scottish clubs in Europe – perform as well as they did in Europe last season, then automatic qualification for the Champions League is within reach.

For those unsure about the importance of Europe to Celtic in this 10 in a row season, the above Tweet should show how important it is.

What a boost it would be for Celtic to have the chance of qualifying for the group stages of the Champions League automatically. That is something that hasn’t been achieved since Gordon Strachan’s time at the club.

The lights of Celtic Park (Photo by Alex Livesey – UEFA/UEFA via Getty Images)

Winning the league is obviously the priority – this season more than most. However, the fact that the Hoops are within reach of automatic qualification for the Champions League should not be underestimated.

Must improve on recent qualifying attempts

Of course, it would help if the Hoops managed to reach the group stages of the Champions League. That hasn’t been done in the last two seasons.

That would undoubtedly help the co-efficient going forward. However, even if that does not happen, Celtic are more than capable of matching last season’s Europa League exploits, by once more winning the group and reaching the last 32 of the competition.

Indeed, Celtic can improve on that this season, and reach the last 16. Should that happen then the rewards of an automatic group stage berth in the Champions League could be next.

In other news, Celtic have been silent over an important fan issue