What happens now to Celtic in Europe?

Defeat by Ferencvaros ends Parkhead side’s chances of playing in Champions League this season

Disappointment for Celtic's Ryan Christie, Olivier Ntcham and Scott Brown during the defeat by Ferencvaros.
Disappointment for Celtic's Ryan Christie, Olivier Ntcham and Scott Brown during the defeat by Ferencvaros.

Celtic were knocked out of the Champions League qualifiers at the second-round stage by Ferencvaros on Wednesday night.

The 2-1 defeat means they miss the chance to try to qualify for the group stage of Europe's elite competition and a potential £30 million windfall.

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It's the third year in a row that Celtic have failed to qualify but this is their earliest elimination from the Champions League in 15 years.

In 2005, in the early days of Gordon Strachan's reign, the Parkhead side suffered a shock defeat to Artmedia of Slovakia in the second qualifying round, losing the first leg 5-0.

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So what happens now to Neil Lennon's side?

Europa League consolation prize

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Celtic now drop into the third qualifying round of the Europa League, the draw for which takes place on Tuesday. It means four Scottish teams are now involved in the continent's second-tier club competition.

Aberdeen and Motherwell are in action tonight in the first qualifying round, playing NSI Runavik and Glentoran, respectively. Rangers enter at the second qualifying round stage, the draw for which is on Monday. Rangers will play on 17 September.

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With pressure on fixtures due to the long lay-off caused by the Covid-19 pandemic all qualifying rounds of the Europa League are single-leg affairs

Chance of a bye

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There is a chance that Celtic could receive a bye into the play-off round of the Europa League qualifiers.

Two of the 20 second qualifying round losers from the champions path of the Champions League will receive a bye into the play-off round.

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Group stage

If Celtic don't receive a bye, they will need to win two rounds of qualifying to reach the Europa League group stage. They have played at this stage of Europe in each of the past two seasons.

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Last year they enjoyed a fruitful campaign in what looked like a tough group. They finished top of Group E, ahead of Lazio, Rennes and Cluj. The notable achievement included home and away wins over Lazio. Celtic then lost in the round of 32 to Copenhagen.

In the previous season, Celtic finished second in Group B behind Red Bull Salzburg but ahead of RB Leipzig and Rosenborg. They were knocked out in the last 32 by Valencia.

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Key Europa League dates

01/09/2020: Third qualifying round draw

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18/09/2020: Play-off draw

24/09/2020 Third qualifying round matches

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01/10/2020 Play-off round matches

02/10/2020: Group stage draw (Athens)

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Group stage fixtures

22/10/2020 Matchday 1

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29/10/2020 Matchday 2

05/11/2020 Matchday 3

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26/11/2020 Matchday 4

03/12/2020 Matchday 5

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10/12/2020 Matchday 6

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Joy Yates

Editorial Director

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