Who Celtic, Aberdeen, Rangers and Hibs could face in Europe

The final whistle at Hampden on Saturday signalled an historic double treble for Celtic but it also confirmed Scottish football's four European hopefuls for the 2018/19 campaign.
Rangers' Jason Cummings, right, and Hibs' Lewis Stevenson both helped their clubs qualify for Europe. Picture: Rob Casey/SNSRangers' Jason Cummings, right, and Hibs' Lewis Stevenson both helped their clubs qualify for Europe. Picture: Rob Casey/SNS
Rangers' Jason Cummings, right, and Hibs' Lewis Stevenson both helped their clubs qualify for Europe. Picture: Rob Casey/SNS

Celtic’s victory in the Scottish Cup final paved the way for fourth-placed Hibs to join Rangers and Aberdeen in the qualifying rounds of the Europa League, with the Parkhead side having already secured a Champions League qualifiers thanks to their seventh successive league title.

While there are still some clubs to be confirmed, a number of potential opponents for the Premiership quartet have already been confirmed. Here, we take a look at which teams the clubs could be paired with...


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Celtic are seeded in the Champions League first qualifying round, where they could face opposition such as F91 Dudelange of Luxembourg, Maltese side Valletta and Montenegrin team Sutjeska Niksic.

The longest journey Brendan Rodgers’ side could face is a near 5,000-mile round trip if they are paired with Armenian side Alashkert – who defeated St Johnstone in 2015 – while a 4,500-mile trip awaits if Celtic draw Georgian champions Torpedo Kutaisi.

Closer to home are potential ties against Belfast side Crusaders, or Cork City, where they could come up against Peter Cherrie – Clyde’s goalie when the Bully Wee famously defeated Celtic 2-1 in the 2005/06 Scottish Cup.

Other possible destinations for Celtic include the Baltics, where they could come up against Spartaks Jurmala of Latvia, Lithuanian side Suduva Marijampole or Estonian outfit Flora Tallinn; or Slovakia where they could meet Spartak Trnava. Rodgers’ side could also head north to face Faroese side Vikingur, managed by former Rangers and Scotland defender Maurice Ross, or Icelandic club Valur Reykjavik.

Should Celtic make it through to the next round, they could come up against familiar foes HJK Helsinki, Rosenborg or Hapoel Beer-Sheva.


Aberdeen enter the second qualifying round of the Europa League as an unseeded team. This increases the likelihood of drawing tough opposition but in the last four seasons, the Dons have seen off Groningen, Rijeka, Ventspils and Siroki Brijeg at the same stage.

This year, however, the Pittodrie side could land a tie against European heavyweights such as Besiktas, Sporting Braga, RB Leipzig or Sevilla, while Atalanta, AZ Alkmaar and Burnley are also among the seeded teams.

The Dons could face FC Ufa of Russia or last year’s opponents Apollon Limassol – both round trips of over 4,500 miles.

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While there are no “easy” ties, there are some less daunting opponents in the pot such as Dundalk, Slovan Bratislava and Vardar Skopje.

Derek McInnes could also see his side paired with Icelandic side FH, currently home to former Rangers duo Robbie Crawford and Steven Lennon, and former Motherwell goalkeeper Gunnar Nielsen.


Rangers and Hibs are both seeded in the first qualifying round of the Europa League, meaning they avoid the prospect of a 7,000-mile journey to take on Kazakhstan Premier League runners-up Kairat, but there is still the possibility of some gruelling journeys for both clubs, none more so than the 6,800-mile round trip and eight-hour flight if either team is drawn to play Armenian sides Banants or Pyunik, who are both based in the capital city, Yerevan.

Both sides will also be hoping to avoid Georgian pair Chikhura Sachkhere and Samtredia. Drawing either of the Erovnuli Liga sides would mean a round trip of more than 4,500 miles.

One name which sticks out is Progres Niederkorn, the Luxembourg outfit needing no introduction to Scottish football having defeated Rangers in last year’s tournament.

There are several potential opponents closer to home, with Northern Irish sides Coleraine, Cliftonville and Glenavon; League of Ireland Premier Division duo Derry City and Shamrock Rovers, and Bala Town and Connah’s Quay Nomads of Wales among the unseeded clubs.

Former Kilmarnock boss Kenny Shiels is in charge at Derry. The Candystripes have several Scottish connections in their ranks, including ex-Rangers and Livingston defender Darren Cole and former Aberdeen and Dundee midfielder Nicky Low.

Other potential opponents include Finnish clubs KuPs, who have former Hibs duo Otso Virtanen and Deivydas Matulevicius in their squad, and Lahti, where ex-Motherwell, Dundee United and Hibs striker Henri Anier currently plays. Also among the unseeded clubs are Slovakia’s DAC Dunajska Streda, Latvian sides FK Liepāja/Mogo and Riga FC; Montenegrin outfit Buducnost Podgorica; Balzan of Malta and Siroki Brijeg of Bosnia & Herzegovina.

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If Steven Gerrard and Neil Lennon can steer their clubs into the second qualifying round, both clubs would be unseeded, leaving them open to potential ties against Bordeaux, Maccabi Tel-Aviv or Vitesse Arnhem.