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NEW EURO BLOW FOR OLD FIRM

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SCOTLAND’S chances of getting an automatic Champions League place for season 2021/22 suffered a new blow last night.

They received a setback when Shakhtar Donetsk qualified for the Europa League last 32.

The result further enhances the coefficient table points gap between Ukraine in 11th place and the Scots in 12th with Celtic and Rangers due to play this evening with the Hoops taking on Lille at Parkhead while Steven Gerrard’s Ibrox men kick off in Poland against Lech Poznan at 5.55pm.

Shakhtar drew 0-0 with Inter Milan in the San Siro to dump the Serie A cracks into fourth while securing their place in Europe’s secondary competition.

Dynamo Kiev’s 1-0 win over the Hoops’ Champions League conquerors Ferencvaros also put them into the next stage of the Europa League which means the Ukrainian top flight now has two representatives to pick up points to Scotland’s one.

They overtook the Premiership in the standings last week after Shakhtar defeated Spanish giants Real Madrid.

Celtic have endured a wretched campaign in Group H of the competition with four losses against AC Milan (1-3 and 2-4) and Sparta Prague (1-4 and 1-4) while gaining a solitary point in the 2-2 draw in France with tonight’s opponents.

Gers are already through and have the opportunity to win the section against the Poles.

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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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