In 11 days we will know our potential opponents for the first and second Champions League qualification rounds. While earning the money available for Champions League qualification is the overriding priority, we also need Uefa coefficient points.
Should they progress, Celtic will be seeded for each of the four qualifying rounds, but they are in position to be bottom of the seed: five points below second bottom PSV Eindhoven, and four above unseeded APOEL Nicosia.
Our place in fourth spot in future years depends on who else qualifies and how successfully we replenish our stock of coefficient points. We earned eight points from our Champions League/Europa League endeavours last season, with a six point season due to drop off next year.
Eight points from one season is a baseline for teams who wish to be seeded in the champions route, but it is difficult to imagine even a modest improvement without a significant pick-up in performances. Chances of us winning two or more games in the group stage feel no more likely than the chances of us winning none, or of finishing bottom of the group stage – equal to our seeding.
The dirty wee secret of European football progress should be acknowledged. Teams from small nations find it nearly impossible to progress through the group stage every year, much like on the international stage when betting on the World Cup, but those who manage to get there more seasons than not, tend to have financially difficult season, where they fail to qualify for the Champions League, but earn a significant haul of points in the Europa League, making subsequent campaigns a little easier.
Despite the general invincibility of the team domestically, I suspect the current levels of achievement in Europe are not stable. We will have to improve, or there will be a season of retrenchment.