With a little over two weeks until the league campaign is underway and, more importantly, five weeks until Champions League qualification starts, Celtic’s three games in France in the coming week take on an importance beyond results.
Many of the teams we could face in the early qualification rounds have been back playing football for a month and will be at peak fitness for the European qualifiers. Celtic normally face this fitness deficit in the qualifiers only against Scandinavian opposition but there is a high probability we will face teams five weeks ahead of Celtic in match fitness.
This autumn, European football will split into the haves and the have nots. Celtic could be a team in the Champions League, picking up talent at a price not seen for a decade, or we could lose more money than at any time in our history. Champions League qualification is up there alongside winning the league as the most important objective for the club, even this season, when 10 is on the horizon.