Some Celtic fans may have been scratching their heads on Thursday morning after Neil Lennon’s men got some positive news on the European front.
A report from the Daily Record suggested that PSG’s win over Atalanta, the previous evening, had assured Celtic of a pot three berth in this season’s Champions League group stage.
Of course, we do have the rather large hurdle of actually qualifying for the competition first, but it was good news to hear nonetheless.
It was later reported by the Scottish Sun that we also need Lyon not to win the 2019/2020 competition for pot three to be confirmed – but that’s surely a bit of a given.
However, the total hypocrisy of a third pot side having to play every single qualifier going won’t be lost on many Celtic fans.
The irony would be almost amusing, if it wasn’t so damn frustrating.
Celtic path to UEFA stardom is changing
Thankfully, the days of having to play four qualifiers to make it to the hallowed stages of the Champions League are soon to be gone.
As ESPN’s Dale Johnson reported on Twitter earlier this week, Scotland’s champions will only have to win two qualifiers next season.
This means the Scottish champions will now need to win only 2 qualifiers in 2021-22 to reach the group stage (this season it's 4).
Runners-up will need to win 3 qualifiers to reach the group stage.
— Dale Johnson (@DaleJohnsonESPN) August 11, 2020
That is a positive development but one that should have been forthcoming a long time ago.
This season’s qualifiers are far more condensed due to scheduling issues, but any normal season would have seen us play eight qualifying matches to make it to either group stage.
That has been the case in the past couple of seasons just to make the Europa League.
Champions League qualification is a long way off at present, and many would bet against it if given the choice.
But achieving it could have some far reaching benefits down the line.