Celtic will get their sixth Europa League group stage campaign underway this Thursday when they travel to France to take on Ligue 1 high-flyers Rennes.
The Brittany side will become just the second team to face the Hoops on multiple occasions in the groups of the competition – after Salzburg (in 2014 and 2018).
But despite not being as tough as its older brother the Champions League, the competition has still proven a challenge for the Hoops at times. Let’s take a look at some of the numbers behind our recent group stage appearances.
Celtic and the Europa League: the numbers
Thursday night’s clash will be Celtic’s 31st fixture in the group stage of the Europa League. We’ve won just seven of our previous 30 matches, with the five most recent of those coming by a single goal. We’ve drawn 11 group stage matches and lost 12 – but never by more than two goals.
We’ve netted 37 goals in those 30 matches, but conceded 45 – an average of 1.5 per match.
Perhaps the most important statistic – we’ve only come out of the group on two occasions, failing three times. That is a record that won’t fill Celtic fans with too much confidence.
But there is a feeling that the current Celtic side is much better equipped than the ones of the Deila and Mowbray eras who struggled badly in the competition. Last season’s tally of nine points was the highest we’ve ever achieved in the competition and it came in arguably our hardest group.
That will at least give us all a bit of cause for optimism as we get ready to get another campaign up and running in Rennes.