The draw for the UEFA Champions League play-off round was made on Friday late morning in Nyon, Switzerland and it saw Celtic drawn against Swedish champions Malmo.
Ronny Deila’s side booked their slot in the play-offs thanks to a 1-0 aggregate win over Azerbaijani champions FK Qarabag, while Malmo beat Salzburg 3-2 on aggregate.
The first leg tie is scheduled for August 18/19 with the return leg set for August 25/26.
Malmo’s Norwegian manager Age Hareide – who faced Celtic back in 2012 as manager of Helsingborgs losing 4-0 on aggregate – previously stated that his Malmo side were better than Celtic.
In an interview in May this year, Hareide told Expressen: “We are better than Celtic, we are better than Rosenborg. In Norway, Molde might come close to us, but nevertheless we are better. We are better than FC Copenhagen.”
Now he has the chance to put his words into practice.
Malmo reached the group stages of the UEFA Champions League last season, where they faced Atletico Madrid, Juventus and Olympiacos – winning just once out of their six group games. While Celtic were knocked out of the competition by NK Maribor – before reaching the knock out stages of the Europa League before being beaten 4-3 on aggregate by Inter Milan.
Hareide’s side beat Zalgiris Vilius 1-0 on aggregate in the second qualifying round and beat Red Bull Salzburg 3-2 on aggregate after losing 2-0 away in Austria in the first leg.
Former Celtic flop Jo Inge Berget plays for Malmo and he set up two of the three goals scored in the second round victory over the Austrians. He has scored seven goals in 15 games for the Swedish champions – who currently reside in sixth place in this season’s Allsvenskan – eight points behind league leaders IFK Goteborg.
Watch Malmo beat Salzburg 3-0 in the previous round’s second leg tie
Ronny Deila rejected a move to Malmo back in January 2014, just six months before he took the reins at Celtic.
If Celtic beat Malmo and progress to the group stages of the Champions League they are set to receive around €20m (£14m) before a ball has been kicked. Check out the breakdown and more information on the subject via the STV Sport website.
What are your thoughts on the draw? Can Celtic secure a win to progress to the group stages of the Champions League or will Malmo triumph?