Europa League task becomes clear for Celtic after Thursday night results

By Euan Davidson

November 5, 2021

If you’re wondering, yes: you did see Celtic win an away game in the Europa League last night.

In typically exciting fashion, Ange Postecoglou led Celtic to a win that has serious European ramifications for the Bhoys. It means that continental football is guaranteed beyond Christmas, in the Europa League or the Europa Conference League.

Results around the group, though, have things looking quite positive for Celtic. Last night, Bayer Leverkusen walloped a sorry Real Betis 4-0 [UEFA]. A double from Moussa Diaby and late strikes from Florian Wirtz and Nadiem Amiri put Der Werkself way beyond Betis.

It got worse for the Andalusians, too; star man Nabil Fekir was given a straight red [Football-Espana]. All in, a humbling night for Manuel Pellegerini’s side, who looked strong in the reverse tie two weeks ago, a 1-1 draw.

That result leaves Betis on 7 points, with Celtic on 6 [UEFA]. With Bayer Leverkusen to play away and Betis to best at home, there’s a real chance of qualification. Especially if Ferencvaros can shock the Andalusians in the next round of fixtures. A draw might be enough there.

With Leverkusen looking rampant after a dreary run of form, there’s certainly danger in the BayArena. However, Betis looked beatable in the Benito Villamarin, so there’s hope that a more competent defensive side in the form of Celtic could nab a positive result.

Ferencvaros 2-3 Celtic | LIVE Reaction

Ferencvaros 2-3 Celtic | LIVE Reaction

The Celtic agenda is clear in the Europa League

1 win from 2 might be enough.

It would put Celtic in a new situation. From this year, the group runners-up in the Europa League will face a play-off against Champions League teams who finished third in their group [UEFA].

That means teams from Europe’s top competition can’t just walk into the Europa League. It gives incentive for teams to finish first in the UEL groups. For Celtic, it could mean something of a glamour tie in order to progress to the last-16.

Photo by Laszlo Szirtesi/Getty Images

It’s exciting, however you look at it. Europa League progression would, of course, represent an excellent opportunity.

But so does the inaugural Conference League. While there are quality teams there, Celtic would automatically be one of the stronger outfits in the competition.

At the very least, a positive run in a new competition would garner some confidence and experience for this young group.

Second, though, is within our sights.

Can Celtic do it?

Read more: Stand-out Celtic performer Kyogo reacts to massive European win