Which teams could Aberdeen, Celtic and Rangers next face in Europe?

Aberdeen and Rangers are both successfully through to the Europa League second qualifying round while Celtic have reached the same point in the Champions League. If all three teams advance to the next round, there are some tasty potential match-ups...
Celtic, Aberdeen and Rangers are all successfully through to the 2QRs of the Champions League and Europa LeagueCeltic, Aberdeen and Rangers are all successfully through to the 2QRs of the Champions League and Europa League
Celtic, Aberdeen and Rangers are all successfully through to the 2QRs of the Champions League and Europa League

If Celtic can see off Nomme Kalju of Estonia, they will reach the third qualifying round of the Champions League and could face...


PAOK won the 2018/19 Superleague Greece, finishing five points ahead of Olympiacos - despite having two points deducted. They went unbeaten for the entire league season, winning 26 and drawing four matches and scoring 66 goals while only conceding 14. It was just their third league win in history, although they have been runners-up on eight occasions, with half of those coming in the last ten years.

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PAOK also won the Greek Cup for the third consecutive year, beating AEK Athens 1-0 in the final. They qualified automatically for the 3QR by winning the Greek top flight.

Qarabag or Dundalk

Qarabag won their sixth consecutive league title last season, securing them entry to the Champions League 1QR.

Azerbaijan national team striker Mahir Emreli top-scored with 16, while former Hibs winger Abdellah Zoubir scored seven across the season. Faycal Rherras, who had spells with Hearts and Hibs, signed a two-year deal earlier this month.

Qarabag defeated FK Partizani of Albania in the first qualifying round, winning 2-0 on aggregate.

Irish side Dundalk held Latvian side Riga to a 0-0 aggregate draw before eliminating the Baltic team on penalties - former Celtic winger Michael Duffy is currently on the Oriel Park side's books. They entered the Champions League thanks to a ten-point margin of victory in the League of Ireland Premier Division.

Maribor or AIK

Celtic need no introduction to Maribor, having suffered defeat to the Slovenians in the 2014/15 Champions League play-off round under Ronny Deila. Goalscorer Marco Tavares, who netted against the Hoops in 2014/15, is still at the club and could return to haunt Celtic once more. Maribor finished top of the PrvaLiga - their 15th success overall.

AIK won their sixth Allsvenskan title last year, with head coach Rikard Norling winning the Manager of the Year award while Per Karlsson and Kristoffer Olsson were named Defender and Midfielder of the Year respectively. Celtic have never encountered the Stockholm-based side in Europe before.

Red Star Belgrade or HJK Helsinki

Celtic met 1991 European Cup-winners Red Star Belgrade in the same competition during the 1966/67 season, winning 6-2 on aggregate. They'll be hoping for a similar result if they are paired with the Serbian side. Red Star won their second consecutive Serbian SuperLiga title, and fifth overall, last season when they finished 12 points clear of Radnicki Nis, and 18 points ahead of fierce rivals Partizan. They lost just once during the whole season and embarked on a 31-game unbeaten streak.

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Celtic fans will probably hope they aren't paired with HJK of Helsinki, having played the Finnish capital club four times in the last 20 years. The Hoops have won three of their four games against HJK and last met them in the UEFA Champions League third qualifying round in 2012/13, winning 2-0 and 2-1 for an aggregate 4-1 victory.

Maccabi Tel Aviv or Cluj

Israeli opponents could be next on the cards for Celtic, with Maccabi Tel Aviv in the mix. The Hoops have faced Israeli opposition six times in Europe already, but are yet to face the Yellow Ones, who won their 22nd league title last term. Fans of a certain vintage will recognise Maccabi striker Nick Blackman from his spells at Motherwell and Aberdeen between 2010 and 2011. Of their 40 games in the Champions League, Maccabi have won 12, drawn nine and lost 19.

Cluj, by comparison, have played 25 games in the European Cup / Champions League, winning 11, drawing four and losing 12. They have never before faced Scottish opposition. They've recorded some impressive wins - 3-2 over Astana in the first qualifying round this term - but also got turned over 5-2 by Luxembourg side Dudelange in last year's Europa League.

They are managed by former Chelsea and Romania full-back Dan Petrescu.

Valletta or Ferencvaros

Maltese outfit Valletta have played 44 games in the Champions League or equivalent, winning eight, drawing six and losing 30. Their European debut wasa in the 1963/64 European Cup, but it took them until the 1994/95 UEFA Cup to record their first point, and the 1997/98 Champions League for their first win.

They have faced Scottish opposition just twice, playing Rangers in the 1983/84 European Cup Winners' Cup, losing 18-0 on aggregate and again in the European Cup in 1990/91, losing 10-0 on aggregate.

They will have to get past Hungarian side Ferencvaros to reach the next stage. The Budapest-based side's first ever European match, in the 1960/61 UEFA Cup Winners' Cup was against Rangers, with the Gers winning 5-4 on aggregate. The Hungarians also faced Hearts in a UEFA Cup group match in the 2004/05 season.

The draw will take place on Monday July 22 at 11am UK time. The first leg of these ties will take place on August 6/7 with the second leg a week later on August 13/14.

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Aberdeen face a tricky test against Georgian outfit Chikhura Sachkhere in the second qualifying round. Sachkhere have spent fewer than a decade in the Georgian top flight and have won the league title just once, in 2017. Rangers have a rematch against Progres Niederkorn, who infamously beat the Ibrox side in 2017 in a two-legged affair that culminated in then manager Pedro Caixinha shouting at Gers fans while standing in a bush.

Both clubs will be unseeded if they proceed to the third qualifying round, where some tough prospective opponents lie in wait.

Potential opponents for either club include Basel, PSV Eindhoven, Viktoria Plzen and Olympiacos, two of whom will drop down from the Champions League qualifiers, while among the seeded teams entering the competition at the 3QR stage are Sparta Prague, Braga, Feyenoord, Spartak Moscow, AEK Athens, Midtjylland and Rijeka, while Gent, Legia Warsaw, Eintracht Frankfurt, Espanyol, Malmo, Partizan Belgrade, Wolves, Torino, Strasbourg, Hapoel Be'er Sheva, Apollon Limassol, AZ Alkmaar, Zorya Luhansk, Arsenal Tula and Vitoria de Guimaraes could also be in the hat for the draw.

The draw will take place on Monday July 22 at 1pm UK time. The first leg of these ties will take place on August 8 with the second leg a week later on August 15.