Best and worst Champions League group stage draws for Celtic

Some fans will want the most desirable destinations, while players will look for glamorous sides they haven't faced before, but that's not what this article is about. This is about imagining both the kindest and the toughest possible draw purely from a results standpoint. Which group would give Celtic the best chance of reaching the knockout stages, and which one would have them toiling to reach the Europa League?

Celtic players celebrate after advancing past Astana. Picture: SNS

Assuming Liverpool see off Hoffenheim at Anfield tonight, these are the groups.

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Group of Death: Real Madrid, PSG, Tottenham Hotspur

James Forrest and Scott Brown have expressed interest in drawing the reigning Champions League winners from the past two years. Playing at the Bernabeu would certainly be a memorable life experience, but there’s not much hope of getting a result from the away trip, while the home tie may not be the most enjoyable of fixtures either.

The exact same can be said of the worst possible opponent in Pot 2 with PSG spending money like it’s going out of date. Given his antics the last time he played at Parkhead, it’s unlikely the players and Celtic support would like to see Neymar starring against them again.

As for Spurs, while Celtic may fancy their chances of getting a result at Wembley (like everyone does), it’s hard to see them getting anywhere near a side that has accumulated the most points in The World’s Greatest League (trademark) over the past two seasons.

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Group of Life: Spartak Moscow, Porto, Olympiacos

Spartak are back in the elite of Europe after a five-year absence. In fact, the last time they made the group stages of either the Champions League or Europa League they were beaten home and away by Neil Lennon’s Celtic. The current side will be looking to take advantage of any inexperience from their Russian opponents.

There is no kind draw from Pot 2, but with Barcelona, Atletico Madrid and Manchester United among the potential opponents, Porto represents Celtic’s best bet. The Portuguese side haven’t won their top flight in four years and sneaked through to the knockout stages last season from a relatively easy group consisting of Leicester City, Copenhagen and Club Brugge.

Celtic would be happy to avoid either English club in Pot 3 (Spurs and Liverpool) and the Italian sides (Roma and Napoli), so wouldn’t be too perturbed to get any of the remaining teams: Anderlecht, Basel, Besiktas or Olympiacos. Out of those, the Greeks should represent Celtic’s best chance of advancing. They just scraped through a fairly kind Europa League group last term and are notoriously poor away from home.