Celtic fans will probably not want to consider the possibility of the side losing over two legs to FK Sarajevo. The Bhoys have to navigate four qualifying rounds if they’re to make a return to the Champions League group stage this season, so defeat in the very first is unthinkable.
However, if that nightmare scenario was to materialise, we would at least have one bit of good news.
A fortnight’s holiday
If Neil Lennon’s side were to lose to the Bosnians then they would drop into the Europa League. This would normally be at the second round stage, however a quirk of the draw means that we would actually receive a bye into the third round.
This is basically down to an odd number of teams in the Europa League’s ‘Champions route’. It sounds very complicated but in reality it’s very simple for Lennon and his side:
Victory vs Sarajevo = into Champions League second qualifying round
Defeat vs Sarajevo = into the Europa League third qualifying round
Just like the Champions League, the Europa League has four qualifying rounds. This means that whatever happens against Sarajevo, Celtic will be just two knockout ties away from group stage football.
If we did lose to Sarajevo then the players would have a fortnight without a European qualifier. That’s pretty much unheard of at the start of the season.
Obviously, we’re hoping none of this materialises and Celtic are still playing Champions League football at the end of July. However, it’s worth keeping an eye on everything that’s going on. It all involves Celtic in one way or another.