Celtic will be assured a minimum of eight more European matches this season if they can overcome CFR Cluj at Celtic Park on Tuesday night.
Neil Lennon’s men will, of course, have all their eyes on the Champions League group stage against the Romanian champions. However, they may also know in the back of their minds what victory would mean for another European competition.
It’s barely been mentioned but victory over Dan Petrescu’s side would assure Lennon’s men qualification for the group stage of the Europa League, at the very least.
That would give the Hoops European football up until Christmas – for the ninth successive season.
Celtic have group stage pedigree
We’ve spent four of the last eight seasons in the Champions League group stage, with four more spent in the Europa League. The former is undoubtedly where the first-team will see themselves, although there is a feeling that Celtic are better suited to the latter.
Champions League humblings to the likes of Barcelona and PSG have done little for the credibility of the club in recent years. Yes, the finances will have taken a boost but the profile of Celtic in Europe has taken a battering?
The ideal scenario for us is to make it to the hallowed group stage of Europe’s top competition and then drop into the Europa League. That gives us the happy medium between financial gain and a realistic chance of competing.
We can take another step towards that against Cluj.