A big pitfall in the autumn fixtures is who you face after a demanding European game. Teams are more likely to drop points domestic away from home immediately after an away European game than in any other scenario.
A few years back, Celtic had the misfortune of four domestic away games after European fixtures, a wave of complaints perhaps ensured these fixtures are now evenly spread, as they are this time. Following our Champions League games, we have away trips to St Mirren, St Johnstone and Livingston, and we face Livingston, Hibs and Dundee United at home.
Livingston caused Celtic lots of problems last season, so facing them twice will cause some concern. In their corresponding fixtures, Newco have home and away games against Aberdeen, who are a perennial thorn in the Ibrox club’s soft underbelly. Points will be dropped by whoever is unprepared.
Celtic, Newco and Hearts – likely to be Scotland’s group stage competitors, are all kept apart after European games, to assist fixture scheduling problems. Motherwell and Dundee United may surprise everyone and qualify for the Conference League groups.
Between the league kick-off at home to Aberdeen on 31 July and facing Ross County on 12 November, when club football breaks for the World Cup, Celtic will play 16 games in the league, six in the Champions League and probably two in the League Cup.
24 games in 15 weeks sounds like a lot, but it will be our lightest load at the start of the season in many years. Others are likely to play 28 games in that time.