It’s only half time in the tie between Celtic and Qarabag. Celtic will take a slender lead to Azerbaijan next week in hope of making it to the play-off stage of the Champions League.
This is not simply another match for Celtic, this, like the last round is another pivotal step in their season even though it’s not really got going yet.
Qualification to the Champions League does not only ensure some of the biggest names heading back to a raucous and electric Celtic Park – it also ensures more investment in the squad.
The bounty that comes with starring in the Champions League is something that can’t be ignored and while some fans would like more re-enforcements in earlier the board are taking the more prudent approach.
If Celtic get past Quarabag then have success in the play-off would net €2m alone.
Celtic would then receive €12m for participating in the group stages. That would mean a guaranteed €14m before a ball has been kicked and under the new model every point gained would add €500,000 to the kitty, with a TV broadcast payout of well over €8m to be added to that.
Yes, Celtic have already signed Boyata, Janko and Ciftci but there are still positions to be filled in Ronny’s squad. While Celtic have been flirting with the idea of adding more players you wont see much else happening till the club knows its European fate.
You will also see more movement in the other direction once Celtic know how their season is going to pan out. With Champions League football comes hope of signing some talented players who can perhaps take us to the next level. There is also hope that European football will convince Virgil van Dijk to stay. On the other hand their are fringe players who Ronny will look to move on, refraining from doing so till he knows what he’s working with.
We all know what’s at stake next week and that’s why every Celtic fan the world over will be having palpitations before kick off. Knowing Celtic the way we do you can bet that if we get through we will do it the hard way.
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