Celtic, Rangers, Hearts, Dundee Utd & Motherwell prepare for Euro adventures

Liam Donnelly and Nicky Clark
Motherwell and Dundee United were separated by two points at the end of last season
Venue: Fir Park, Motherwell Date: Thursday, 21 July Kick-off: 19:45 BST
Coverage: Follow on BBC Radio Scotland Extra & BBC Sounds and BBC Sport website & app

Rangers, Motherwell and Dundee United feature in Uefa draws on Monday as three of Scotland’s five European representatives this season discover what lies in wait.

Motherwell already know they have to get past Sligo Rovers first – they face the Irish side at Fir Park in Thursday’s Conference League second qualifying round first leg, with the return seven days later.

The draw for the third qualifying round, featuring Dundee United, and the Champions League third qualifying round, featuring Rangers, take place on Monday.

BBC Scotland rounds up the draws and dates affecting Scottish clubs.

Motherwell & Dundee Utd await draws

Motherwell, who finished fifth in the Scottish Premiership last season, are unseeded for the third-round draw which takes place at 13:00 BST on Monday.

Should they see off Sligo, the Steelmen will face a seeded opponent from one of the following four ties:

  • Rakow Czestochowa (POL) v Astana (KAZ)
  • Istanbul Basaksehir v Maccabi Netanya (ISR)
  • Valmiera (LVA) v Shkendija (MKD)
  • Sparta Praha (CZE) v Viking (NOR)

Jack Ross’ Dundee United are also unseeded and will meet the winner of one of these four ties:

  • Basel (SUI) v Crusaders (NIR)
  • Tuzla City (BIH) v AZ (NED)
  • Royal Antwerp (BEL) v Drita (KOS)
  • CSKA Sofia (BUL) v Makedonija (MKD)

The third qualifying round will be played over 4 and 11 August. The play-off round draw will take place on 1 August and those matches will be on 18 and 25 August.

Motherwell reached the Europa League third qualifying round in 2020-21, losing 3-0 to Israeli side Hapoel Beer Sheva in a one-off tie, while United, fourth in the Premiership last term, are returning to the European arena for the first time in 10 years.

Rangers’ next adventure begins

Europa League finalists and Scottish Cup winners Rangers sealed a Champions League qualifying berth by finishing as Premiership runners-up.

Rangers’ recent impressive European form means they are seeded in the third qualifying round, with the draw being held at 11:00 BST on Monday.

Also seeded are Benfica and PSV Eindhoven and Rangers will meet either Ligue 1 side Monaco, Austria’s Sturm Graz, Belgium’s Royale Union Saint-Gilloise or the winner of Midtjylland’s second qualifying round tie with AEK Larnaca. The Danes and Cypriots meet in the first leg of their tie on Tuesday.

Rangers’ first leg will be on 2 or 3 August, with the return on 9 August. The draw for the play-off round will be on 1 August, with those ties taking place over 16-17 and 23-24 August.

Should Giovanni van Bronckhorst’s team be unsuccessful in either the Champions League third qualifying round or play-off, they will go into the Europa League group stage for a fifth season in a row.

Hearts return to European arena

Heart of Midlothian players celebrate
Hearts finished third in the Premiership after winning promotion the previous campaign

Hearts are also guaranteed group-stage football until the end of 2022.

The Scottish Cup finalists, who finished third in the Premiership, will be drawn in the Europa League play-off round on 1 August and, as a seeded team, have avoided Austria Vienna and Belgium’s Gent.

The unseeded teams will be six sides beaten in the Champions League third qualifying round and seven winners from the Europa League third qualifying round. Czech outfit Slovacko and Serbian side Partizan Belgrade are among those in the latter category.

Defeat for Robbie Neilson’s team would result in entry to the Europa Conference League group stage.

Hearts last featured in continental competition in the 2016 Europa League qualifying rounds and have not been involved in a group stage since the 2004-05 Uefa Cup.

Celtic make Champions League return

The only Scottish representative without qualifiers or play-offs is Premiership winners Celtic, who will feature in the Champions League group stage.

Ange Postecoglou’s side, who also won the League Cup, are in the lowest pot of seeds – four – and their potential opponents from pot one include holders Real Madrid, English champions Manchester City and Rangers’ Europa League final conquerors Eintracht Frankfurt.

Barcelona, Chelsea and beaten Champions League finalists Liverpool are in pot two while pot three contains Borussia Dortmund and Inter Milan, along with a side that beat Celtic twice in last season’s Europa League, Bayer Leverkusen.

Celtic have been in the Europa League group stage over the past four seasons and last featured in the Champions League group stage in 2017.

The draw will take place on 25 August in Istanbul.

Group stage dates

With Scotland guaranteed at least three group-stage participants across the three competitions in the autumn, there will be busy midweeks in September, October and November.

The group stages will be completed in time for the Qatar World Cup (21 November-18 December).

The Champions League group-stage matchdays will be 6-7 and 13-14 September, 4-5, 11-12 and 25-26 October and 1-2 November.

The Europa and Conference League group games will be on 8 and 15 September, 6, 13 and 27 October and 3 November.

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