Rangers, Celtic, Hibs and Aberdeen - key European dates, huge prize money, big name opponents and more

Scotland will have five European entrants next season potentially spread across three different tournaments.

What are the European places on offer?

Courtesy of Celtic and Rangers both performing relatively well in Europe in recent seasons, Scotland has gained an extra European spot with the top two in the Premiership entering the Champions League qualifiers, rather than just the league winners, as has been the case for a number of years.

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In recent seasons three Scottish sides have gone into the Europa League. In the 2021/22 campaign only the Scottish Cup winner will enter.

Scotland will have five entrants in Uefa's three competitions next season. Picture: SNS

The two remaining teams will go into the brand new Uefa Conference League.

What is the Conference League?

Not the most attractive of tournament titles, Uefa’s tertiary competition has been designed to appeal to clubs from lesser nations, giving them an increased chance of European success and a prolonged run in the tournament.

UEFA President Aleksander Ceferin said: "There will be more matches for more clubs, with more associations represented in the group stages. There was a widespread demand by all clubs to increase their chances of participating more regularly in European competition."

Who will be Scotland's representatives in each tournament?

Rangers and Celtic will compete for a spot in the lucrative Champions League group stages having won the Premiership and finished runners-up respectively.

Aberdeen will go into the Conference League.

It will depend on the outcome of the Scottish Cup final to decide the final two spaces.

So the Hampden Park showpiece is important?

Absolutely. There is more than legendary cup success on offer.

If Hibs defeat St Johnstone in Mount Florida they will go into the Europa League and whoever finishes fifth – either the Saints or Livingston – will take the final Conference League spot.

If Callum Davidson leads his men to double success it will be Saints who go into the Europa League and Hibs would join the Dons in the Conference League.

What makes victory even more enticing is that it ensures the cup winners will be in Europe until Christmas. They would enter the Europa League play-off round and even if they lost that tie they would be parachuted into the Conference League group stage.

At what stage will the other teams enter?

As league winners, Rangers will go into the third qualifying round of the Champions League, meaning they will need to progress through two ties to reach the group stage. Celtic will start in the second qualifying round.

In the Conference League, both representatives will begin from the second qualifying round meaning it will take three ties to get into the group stages.

When will teams be in action?

Celtic will be the first Scottish team to play a European qualifier. They begin their campaign on either July 20 or 21 with the second leg not until a week later.

Rangers don't enter until August 3 or 4, days after their first league match.

The Conference League entrants will get under way on July 22, while the Scottish Cup winners don’t play their first European match until August 19 at which point they could have played three or four domestic games.

What are the key draw dates?

Champions League second qualifying round – June 16

Champions League third qualifying round – July 19

Europa League play-off round – August 2

Conference League second qualifying round – June 16

What teams could Celtic and Rangers face in Champions League qualifying?

Celtic will enter the league path for the Champions League and will face one of the runners-up of the following five leagues: the Netherlands, Turkey, Austria, Denmark or Czech Republic. It will be determined on each team's rating. Celtic could face someone like Rapid Wien or Brondby.

Rangers’ seeding is still to be confirmed for the champions path of the third qualifying round, especially with the winners of the previous round to be decided.

What of the Conference League and Europa League?

Aberdeen are set to be seeded when they enter the third tournament and could face a host of teams yet to be determined. If Hibs were to play in the Conference League their seeding is still to be decided.

The Europa League entrant could face a big name with possible opponents dropping from both the champions and league path of the Champions League.

What about the group stages?

Well then, now you are talking!

Of course, Celtic and Rangers are in store for elite names. From Barcelona to Real Madrid, Inter Milan to Bayern Munich and Ajax to Manchester City.

Going by the latest standings from around Europe, the Europa League group stage could see Juventus, West Ham United, Lazio, Real Sociedad and Real Betis waiting with bigger names possibly to join.

There are potentially some huge names set to take part in the Uefa Conference League with the likes of Spurs, Roma, Villarreal and Borussia Monchengladbach primed to go into the tournament.

How much are the group stages worth?

Going on the figures released for the 2019-20 season, the prize money for reaching the group stages was €15,250,000. Each win brings in another €2,700,000 and a draw €900,000. Getting out of the group? Just the €9,500,000 for reaching the last-16. On top of that you can add revenue from broadcasting, sponsorship and ticketing.

The Europa League group stage would bring in game-changing money for either Hibs or St Johnstone. Group stage participation in 2019-20 was €2,920,000 with each win €570,000 and a draw €190,000. Topping the group is worth €1,000,000 and second is half of that.

It is yet clear how lucrative the Conference League could be.

Just out of curiosity, when and where are the finals?

Champions League – Krestovsky Stadium, St Petersburg, Russia. May 28, 2022.

Europa League – Ramón Sánchez Pizjuán, Seville, Spain. May 18, 2022.

Conference League – Arena Kombëtare, Tirana, Albania, May 25, 2022.

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