Celtic's opponents Nomme Kalju may be a little disgruntled

By Hamish Carton

July 22, 2019

A bizarre quirk of the UEFA qualification setup was highlighted by Celtic and Nomme Kalju’s draw on Monday.

While most of the eyes were on both side’s potential Champions League opponents, their Europa League future was decided too.

(Photo by Harold Cunningham – UEFA/UEFA via Getty Images)

The winner of Celtic/Kalju will face Cluj/Maccabi Tel-Aviv in the Champions League, while the loser will face Shkendija or Dudelange in the Europa League.

While Celtic have never faced either the North Macedonian or Luxembourgian side, the same can’t be said for Nomme Kalju.

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Just last week the Estonians saw off Shkendija with a last gasp goal in the second leg. It meant they went through on away goals after drawing the tie 2-2 on aggregate.

With Celtic and Shkendija heavy favourites for their upcoming ties, there’s a very real possibility of Kalju and Shkendija going head to head again – just three weeks after their first tie.

That surely makes a bit of a mockery of European qualification.

(Photo by Harold Cunningham – UEFA/UEFA via Getty Images)

Celtic know how Nomme Kalju feel

Celtic have recent experience of facing a European side in two different competitions in one season. Just last year we faced Norwegian champions Rosenborg in both Champions League qualification and in the Europa League group stage.

Brendan Rodgers’ side also faced RBK the previous season, meaning we played them a total of six times in 16 months.

(OLE MARTIN WOLD/AFP/Getty Images)

Facing the same side so often over such a short period of time does turn into a bit of a joke. And it seems crazy that Kalju should have to play Shkendija again so soon after beating them.

Surely UEFA have to look at a better way of keeping apart teams who have already played each other.