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SCOTS’ EUROPA LEAGUE CHALLENGE

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SCOTLAND’S four Europa League contestants – Celtic, Rangers, Aberdeen and Motherwell – have discovered the teams who bar their path to a place in the group stages.

The draw for the play-off round of the competition’s group stage has been in Nyon today.

Here are the results and what faces the Scots as they attempt to remain in the tournament.

CELTIC

NEIL LENNON’S side must get past Riga in Latvia on Thursday with their opponents only finishing their abandoned third round qualifier with San Marino’s Tre Fiori this morning with a 1-0 win with a goal from Portuguese midfielder Pedrinho.

The Hoops avoided one of the two seeded teams in their section, Dinamo Brest, of Belarus, or the Croatians of Dinamo Zagreb.

Instead, they will face a journey to the Balkans to take on either Sarajevo, of Bosnia, or Montenegro’s Buducnost Podgorica.
The Parkhead men beat Sarajevo home and away last season for a 5-2 on aggregate in their Champions League qualifier.

RANGERS

STEVEN GERRARD’S outfit can take nothing for granted as they face a tough task in Holland on Thursday when they meet the dangerous Willem II.

But if they make it through, they will face an intriguing confrontation with Galatasaray or Hadjuk Split.

It could have been far worse for the Ibrox side who had a one-in-four chance of being drawn against Jose Mourinho’s Spurs side who welcomed back Gareth Bale on loan from Real Madrid earlier today.

The Turkish cracks can boast the likes of Alfredo Morelos’ Colombia team-mate Radamel Falcao.

ABERDEEN

THE Dons square up to the daunting prospect of Sporting Lisbon in an effort to make it into the play-offs.

The Portuguese giants are in the midst of a coronavirus outbreak which could cost them the services of coach Ruben Amorim for the tie.

But should they take that huge scalp they inherit Sporting’s seeded spot.

Return home with the win and they could be back at Pittodrie to face Austria’s LASK or Dunajska Streda, of Slovakia.

MOTHERWELL 

THE Lanarkshire side scraped past Coleraine 5-2 in a penalty shoot-out thanks to three saves from keeper Trevor Carson following the 2-2 draw in Northern Ireland.

They now face Israeli’s Hapoel Be’er Sheva in the third qualifying round. They played Celtic in Europe in season 2016/17 and only lost on a 5-4 aggregate.
But the rewards are there for the Fir Park outfit if they get through in the form of a home tie against Viktoria Plzeň, of the Czech Republic, or Danish outfit Sønderjyske.

The matches are played on a one-off basis on October 1.

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Editor

Acclaimed author Alex Gordon wrote the biography of Scotland international legend Denis Law, entitled 'King and Country'. He is a former columnist with World Soccer magazine and Scottish correspondent of respected European journal L'Equipe.

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