Celts primed for Cork tie
Champions League KO would set up City clash
Celtic fans in Ireland have been handed a win-win scenario ahead of the Hoops’ Champions League showdown with Rosenborg.
Should they account for the Norwegian club in their Champions League second qualifying round, they will move a step closer to the money-spinning group stage, with Greek side AEK Athens lying in wait in the third qualifying round.
However, even if Celtic fail to get past Rosenborg, they will be parachuted into the Europa League for a third qualifying round clash against Cork City – which would represent quite the consolation for their legions of fans in Ireland. The ties would be played on August 9 and 16.
Such a scenario would lead to calls for the game to be moved from Turner’s Cross – where the capacity is 7,400 – to Thomond Park (26,200) or the Aviva Stadium (51,700).
It’s all ifs, buts and maybes at the moment, though. Brendan Rodgers’ men will take the field for the first leg of their tie with Rosenborg at Celtic Park tomorrow evening.
The Hoops coasted past Armenian outfit Alashkert 6-0 on aggregate in their first qualifier.
Should they see off Rosenborg and move into the third round of qualifying, the matches will take place on August 7/8, with the first leg provisionally set for Glasgow, and the second leg to be played on August 14.
Elsewhere in yesterday’s draw, Dundalk were drawn to face either Ajax or Sturm Graz in the third round of Europa League qualifiers – providing they get past AEK Larnaca.
The Lilywhites – who beat Levadia Tallinn 3-1 on aggregate in the previous round – host the Cypriot side at Oriel Park on Thursday, before travelling to the AEK Arena for the second leg a week later.
Dutch giants Ajax will take on Sturm Graz in the Champions League, with the losers of that game taking on the winners of the Dundalk tie.
Burnley are set to do battle with Aberdeen in the second qualifying round of the Europa League, while Rangers will play Osijek of Croatia.
Hibernian face Greek team Asteras Tripolis in round two. Should the Scottish side come through, they would meet either Molde or Albanian team Lac.
Northern Ireland club Crusaders have a second-round tie against Olimpija Ljubljana of Slovenia. If they progress, then either BATE Borisov or HJK Helsinki will be next up in the third round.