High Hopes In Europa League for Celtic


photo courtesy celticfc.net

Celtic‘s European dreams for the 2014-2015 didn’t get off the greatest of starts. Every team wants to hoist the trophy of the legendary Champions League, and if they are not able to make the Champions League, the next best thing would be the Europa League. After winning the Scottish League last season, Celtic had their eyes on hoisting Champions League silverware and bringing it back Scotland. However, that’s not what happened.

Not only were Celtic eliminated from the Champions League in qualifying once, they were eliminated twice, as hard as that sounds. In the third qualifying round, Celtic was pitted up against Legia Warsaw from Poland. In the first leg, they lost a tough game 4-1. They went on to lose the second game as well, being eliminated from the tournament. However, officials realized that Warsaw had played an illegal player, and gave Celtic an automatic 3-0 win which put Celtic through to the next round on away goals. In the next round, they were up against NK Maribor from Slovenia. They tied the first leg, 1-1, and then went on to lose the second leg 0-1, overall losing the round 1-2. So not only did Celtic get another chance in the tournament, but they saw themselves get eliminated for a second time in the following round, not how you want to start a season.

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  • Since Celtic was able to make it all the way to the final qualifying round, they were given entrance into the Euro League. In the tournament, there are groups of 4 that are drawn at random and every team plays every other team twice, once home and once away. After that the top two teams from each group move on to the knock out round. Right now, Celtic is sitting in first place in their group after 3 games. They opened up by tying Red Bull Salzburg from Austria and then were able to beat Dinamo Zagreb and Astra Giurgiu. Their chances to move on to the knock out stage are looking very good and they have a good chance to move deep into this tournament.

    In a way, not making it to the Champions League may be a hidden blessing in disguise for Celtic. If Celtic had won their qualifying game and made it to the Champions League, they may not have done well and people may start to question the talent level of both the team and the league as a whole. However, with Celtic being in the Europa League, Celtic have a much better chance of making a deep run in this tournament, and if they can make it around the quarter finals, it will shed some light on how good Celtic can be, and it will also show the world that the Scottish Premier League has more talent in it than people think.

    Right now with Celtic not on top of the Premiership, their Europa League successes are helping them gain some confidence for the remainder of the season. Let’s see if that confidence can be used by the team in the long run.