Celtic out of Champions League: What next for Celtic? Transfers, Europa League and squad problems explained

Celtic were eliminated from Champions League qualification for the fourth consecutive season on Wednesday night.
Ismaila Soro cuts a frustrated figure as Celtic lose to Midtjylland. Picture: SNSIsmaila Soro cuts a frustrated figure as Celtic lose to Midtjylland. Picture: SNS
Ismaila Soro cuts a frustrated figure as Celtic lose to Midtjylland. Picture: SNS

Celtic crashed out of the Champions League after going down 2-1 after extra-time to Danish side Midtjylland.

The result was enough to push Wednesday’s hosts into the third qualifying round at the expense of Ange Postecoglou’s side after the first leg at Celtic Park finished 1-1.

It was another bitter blow for the Celts, with a callow squad in need of strengthening.

What next in Europe for Celtic?

Celtic’s European campaign is not yet over, however, as they now drop into the third qualifying round for the Europa League, where they will face Czech side FK Jablonec.

The first leg will take place next Thursday (August 5) with the return match a week later. Celtic will find out this coming Monday (August 2) which side they’ll face in the play-off round if they advance.

If they are knocked out again, they still have the insurance of the Europa Conference League, which is in its inaugural season.

They would still have to defeat an opponent in the play-off round to make the group stages.

When do Celtic play next?

Celtic are back in action on Saturday when the Scottish Premier League starts.

They take on newly-promoted Hearts at Tynecastle with an 8pm kick-off.

How many new signings do Celtic need?

Postecoglou was asked the question direct in the aftermath of the defeat.

Celtic have been linked wth a number of players, including former England goalkeeper Joe Hart, and the Hoops manager admits he is desperate for more bodies.

“I couldn’t articulate a number,” he said. “To me, even getting one in at the moment is going to be an enormous help to us.

"We have had a really challenging pre-season. We haven’t had a core group of players together for various reasons.

"We’ve had internationals coming back late and other players have left the club. The ones we have signed haven’t been able to become part of the group yet.

"So for me I just have to chip away at it. If we can get one in and then two in then we’ll keep going until we get the squad that I think that we need.”

Will they have any new players in for Saturday’s game?

Nir Bitton dropped out through suspension for the trip to Denmark and Leigh Griffiths missed out with injury.

Celtic lined up with a back four with an average age of 21 but they did see James Forrest, who missed their pre-season training camp because of a self-isolation order, come off the bench.

Furthermore, two of Postecoglou’s summer signings were in quarantine.

“We are going to get some reinforcements,” he said. “Carl Starfelt is going to come in, Nir Bitton will be available, Kyogo Furuhashi will come in. Already we will be stronger in terms of depth and quality.

“Guys like James Forrest, that was his first full run and he will be better for it.

“I do believe we will get stronger and I do believe we will be in much better shape come the next European tie.

“More importantly, I want to make sure we start the league well on Saturday and that’s our focus right now.”