Champions League draw: Celtic to face Cliftonville

Celtic will host Cliftonville in the second leg. Picture: SNS
Celtic will host Cliftonville in the second leg. Picture: SNS
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CELTIC have been drawn to face Cliftonville in the Champions League second qualifying round.

• Celtic face Northern Irish champions Cliftonville

• Home tie at Parkhead scheduled for July 16/17, return leg due to be played on July 23/24

It is the first time the Parkhead side have faced a Northern Irish club in a competitive match.

The North Belfast side enjoyed their most successful season in the club’s history last year, winning the Irish League Cup over fierce rivals Crusaders and the League Championship by eight points.

They narrowly missed out on the domestic treble, losing the Irish Cup final to Glentoran in extra time.

Cliftonville were knocked out of Europe at the first hurdle last year, losing to Swedish outfit Kalmar, whilst Celtic enjoyed a more successful campaign, advancing to the group stages following victories over Helsinki and Helsingborgs, where they met Barcelona, Spartak Moscow and Benfica.

A number of impressive results, including victory over the Catalan giants at Parkhead, saw Celtic progress to the knockout stages, where they were beaten by Juventus.

Elsewhere in the draw, Welsh champions The New Saints (TNS) were drawn to play Polish cracks Legia Warsaw, whilst Sligo Rovers face Norwegian side Molde, who are managed by former Manchester United striker Ole Gunnar Solksjaer.

The home tie at Parkhead will be played on July 16/17, with the return leg scheduled for July 23/24.