CELTIC have been drawn against Sparta Prague, old foes AC Milan and Lille in Europa League Group H after this afternoon’s ballot in Nyon, Switzerland.
It’s an intriguing section for Hoops boss Neil Lennon to try to negotiate and, of course, the encounter that sticks out is the one against the Serie A cracks.
The teams have clashed in European battle several times and, of course, it was against AC’s great rivals Inter that Jock Stein’s men conquered Europe with their 2-1 win in Lisbon on May 25 1967.
Coincidentally, the Parkhead side drew teams from Italy and France in last year’s Europa group draw when they were paired with Lazio and Rennes.
Scotland’s title kings will take it as a good omen they won three and drew one of those meetings. There was the historic 2-1 win in Rome – the Hoops’ first-ever victory on Italian soil in 13 attempts – which followed a 2-1 success in Glasgow.
Olivier Ntcham was the last-gasp goal hero away from home while Christopher Jullien took the headlines with a late header at Parkhead.
And Lille, who have been chasing Alfredo Morelos for most of the summer, will hope to fare better than their countrymen.
A penalty-kick from Ryan Christie got Celtic’s Europa Group up and winning in the 1-1 draw in France and the Scots sauntered to a 3-1 triumph in Glasgow with Lewis Morgan scoring one of his rare goals for the club before his switch to Inter Miami..
EUROPA LEAGUE DRAW IN FULL:
GROUP B: Arsenal, Rapid Vienna, Molde, Dundalk
GROUP C: Bayer Leverkusen, Slavia Prague, Hapoel Be’er-Sheva, Nice
GROUP D: Benfica, Standard Liege, Rangers, Lech Poznan
GROUP E: PSV Eindhoven, PAOK, Granada, Omonia
GROUP F: Napoli, Real Sociedad, AZ Alkmaar, NK Rijeka
GROUP G: Braga, Leicester, AEK Athens, Zorya Luhansk
GROUP H: CELTIC, Sparta Prague, AC Milan, Lille
GROUP I: Villareal, Qarabag, Maccabi Tel-Aviv, Sivasspor
GROUP J: Spurs, Ludogorets, LASK, Royal Antwerp
GROUP K: CSKA Moscow, Dinamo Zagreb, Feyenoord, Wolfsberg
GROUP L: Gent, Red Star Belgrade, Hoffenheim, Slovan Liberec
* The group stages get underway in the week of October 19, with six rounds of group games running through to mid-December.
Matchday 1: October 22
The Final will be held at the Stadion Energa Gdansk in Poland on May 26 next year.