Celtic will face Israelis Hapoel Beer-Sheva in the Champions League playoff round later this month, with the first leg due to take place at Celtic Park.
Hapoel, carrying a Uefa coefficient of 4, eliminated Olympiakos, coefficient: 70, in the last round – a bigger shock than Dundalk’s win over BATE. They put on two backs-to-the-wall performances, drawing the first leg in Greece 0-0 before winning the return 1-0. In the earlier round they shot the Sheriff Tiraspol from Moldova, winning 3-2 in Israel before securing another 0-0 away.
The positives: the Israeli league hasn’t started yet, so Hapoel will be no further into their season’s preparations than Celtic. It also looks like the play on grass.
In recent seasons Celtic have found new and innovative ways to bow out at this stage but we know what’s required and will be strong favourites to progress.
Bring it on.