According to the bookies, Celtic are unlikely to make the Group Stages

GGW did warns its readers that the whole UEFA co-efficient system was gruesomely complicated and required an university degree level of understanding of mathematics to follow.  GGW is sorry to acknowledge that it made a mistake last week in calculating the relative coefficients of Sporting Braga and Unirea Urizceni. That mistake has been corrected and GGW can now definitely confirm that Sporting Braga are the 5th possible opponent for Celtic not Unirea. The Post with the mistake has  been removed and the GGW mathematicians involved  have been suitably chastised and warned as to their future conduct.

GGW can now reveal that Celtic’s opponents in the 3rd Qualifying Round draw will DEFINITELY be one of the following 5 clubs

1) Zenit St Petersburg who won the Russian Cup 2 weeks ago.  Rangers conquerors in the 2008 UEFA Cup Final have returned to top form after a long  post Final wobble

2) Ajax Amsterdam who had a scintillating second half of the season to finish second in Holland

3) Dynamo Kiev who narrowly lost the Ukranian League to 2009 UEFA Cup winners Shakhtor Donetz

4) Fenerbahce  who are formidable opponents in their Istanbul home, despite the recent lapse that cost them the Turkish League

5) Sporting Braga, who gave a Benfica a good run for their money in the Portuguese League playing attractive attacking football

Unirea who finished second in the Romanian League CANNOT meet Celtic  s both teams are unseeded. Given that Unirea beat Rangers 4-1 at Ibrox last season on the way to finishing above Rangers in the Group Stage they would not have been too despondent about another trip to Glasgow.

All of Zenit,  Ajax,  Dynamo Kiev and Fenerbahce would be favoured by the bookies to eliminate Celtic based on last season’s form.

Since seeded teams are not guaranteed a home second leg, the best option for Celtic would be to be drawn away against Braga in the first leg with the 2nd leg at Celtic Park.

The draw for this Third Qualifying Round takes place on 16th July 2010, with the legs on27/28 July and 3rd/4th August.

Defeat for Celtic in this 3rd Qualifying Round would still get them a definite seeded place in the Play-off Round for the Europa League Group Stages.

Victory would take them into the Playoff Round for the Champions League Group Stages.  Sevilla,  Spurs and Werder Bremen are all ranked higher than Celtic but the other two clubs from the Big 5 leagues,  Sampdoria and Auxerre,  are not.

So  for Celtic to get a seeded spot that would offer them the chance of a game against Auxerre, the only team in the Playoff Round they would be favoured to beat, they would need another 3 of the seeded teams from the 3rd Qualifying Round to have been been beaten, as well as the seeded team they will have eliminated themselves. Any reputable bookie would give very big odds against that set of circumstances happening so Celtic, even if they do get through,  will almost certainly face a team favoured to beat them.

So as far as the bookies are concerned Celtic will be playing in the Europa League next season.  The first great challenge for the new Manager will be to prove them wrong but GGW would strongly advise Celtic fans  not to burden him with any great expectation of success in this goal.

GGW will provide a full profile of Celtic’s opponents as soon as the 3rd Qualifying Round draw is made.