Celtic’s next Champions League campaign takes on perhaps the greatest significance it ever has, and to be honest, it was already pretty significant to begin with.
Under the new Champions League coefficient rules that will come into play 18/19, Celtic stand to play not three but FOUR qualifying rounds to get into the group stages with Champions route places brought down to four. This is compounded by the fact that in the two latter qualifiers, assuming we get through the first two the club would likely be unseeded for the remaining qualifiers. This would leave Celtic open to some of the most difficult ties possible in order to gain entry to the group stage.
Without the boost up from Celtic’s previous Champions League run in 12/13 when the team qualified for the last 16 gaining 10 group stage points in the process our coefficient points are almost cut in half.
This is why Celtic’s performance in next years Champions League takes on a greater significance. Assuming we win the league, which is a pretty safe bet then we will have to play the three qualifiers as we’ve been used to and will most certainly be seeded in a three qualifiers if we get that far.
We must look to build on what we did last year and not just be happy to be there but compete to a level where it raises our coefficients to a place where our pathway to the Champions League is as attainable as possible after the new rules come into play.
A dismal run or failure to qualify next year could see Celtic and Scottish clubs in general drop off the Euro map altogether as the Champions League becomes more closed off and is the league of CHAMPIONS in name only with so many teams qualifying for the tournament by simply coming 2nd, 3rd and 4th in their domestic leagues.
It’s now of the utmost importance that Celtic start planning now for the next Euro campaign in order to hit the ground running from July onwards.