Manchester United defeat confirms potential Celtic qualifying opponents

By John McGinley

May 26, 2021

Manchester United have lost the UEFA Europa League final tonight, meaning Celtic can face one of three teams in the Champions League Second Qualifying Round this summer.

A United victory would have meant they’d effectively qualified for next season’s Champions League groups twice, via a Europa League triumph and their English Premier League position.

PSV Eindhoven and Galatasaray could have been bumped into the next qualifying round of the league path automatically due to nation co-efficient ranking.

But Villarreal emerged victorious in tonight’s final after an epic penalty shoot-out.

It confirms that Celtic, as seeds, can face one of Rapid Vienna, Galatasaray or Midtjylland in the second qualifying round.

The draw will take place on June 16 from Nyon, Switzerland, with the tie to be played on 20/21 and 27/28 July.

If Celtic win they go through to the third qualifying round, where we’ll also be seeded and could face teams such as Spartak Moscow or Genk.

If it’s defeat, the Bhoys drop into the Europa League qualifying.

As we’ve explained before, Celtic will have three opportunities to stay in European competition this summer with the potential to also drop into the new Europa Conference League.

There’s not long to prepare, and the gauntlet will be difficult from the start, but it could still be an exciting summer of action for supporters under the new manager.

For now, it’ll be a trip to Denmark and Erik Sviatchenko, the heat of Turkey or our old European foes in Austria.

In other news, Celtic FC Women have taken a big step towards Champions League qualification tonight.