Celtic have dropped into the Europa League for another season after the devastating Champions League defeat to Cluj.
While the Romanians advance to take on Slavia Prague for a place at the big table of European football, we’ll be dining in the servants quarters. The Europa League is upon us again.
But only if we can see off either Swedish champions AIK Stockholm or Moldovans Sheriff. It looks more likely to be the former. They have a 2-1 lead after the first leg in Moldova and host Sheriff on Thursday at 6pm.
The Swedes boast a couple of well known players including Sebastian Larsson and Kolbeinn Sigþórsson.
What would the Europa League hold in store for Celtic?
If we can navigate through that we’ll almost certainly be seeded in the second of four pots. We could face the likes of Sevilla, Manchester United or AS Roma while a return for Kieran Tierney at Arsenal could also be on the cards.
We lived up to our reputation as second seeds in last season’s competition – finishing ahead of RB Leipzig and Rosenborg but behind Red Bull Salzburg. This year’s tournament feels particularly hard to stomach after the Cluj heartache. But Celtic will have to get their mind to it pretty rapidly.
The Europa League can offer terrific nights. Fans will look back on last season’s 2-1 win over Leipzig as a pretty memorable European occasion. However, you can’t really hide the realisation of it not being the Champions League.