Celtic won't face PAOK in Champions League qualification

By Hamish Carton

July 23, 2019

Celtic won’t have to worry about facing PAOK in Champions League qualification this summer.

That’s after the Greek champions were paired with Dutch giants Ajax in Monday’s draw. PAOK will be big underdogs against last year’s semi-finalists but even if they win it won’t affect Celtic.

(Photo by Nicolas Economou/NurPhoto via Getty Images)

That’s because the draw for the final qualifying round is made before the third round tie. That means that PAOK and Ajax will be paired together for that draw, with the Greeks sharing their opponents’ seeding. Celtic are also seeded meaning that they can’t face either PAOK or Ajax.

The Greeks were previously potential opponents for Neil Lennon’s men in each of the final two rounds so avoiding them can be considered a real success.

(Photo by Mark Runnacles/Getty Images)

The same is likely to apply to Red Star Belgrade who were also daunting potential opponents. Celtic will avoid them in all qualification rounds in the likely event that Copenhagen see off Welsh champions TNS over the next fortnight.

Confused? Yeah, me too.

A PAOK win over Ajax would actually suit Celtic

All that really matters is that Celtic won’t be facing Greek opposition for the second successive season. Last year’s third round clash against AEK Athens was a real stinker of a draw and the Celtic squad will be pleased to avoid a repeat.

(Photo by MB Media/Getty Images)

Celtic could still face the likes of Slavia Prague and Young Boys in the final round of qualifying (if we make it). However, that fate could be avoided if the likes of Dinamo Zagreb or BATE Borisov fail to make it that far.

Basically, we want as many shocks as possible. Apart from ourselves of course.