Tuesday 20 November 2018

Celtic face Armenian side Alashkert in Champions League qualifiers

Brendan Rodgers side will begin their European campaign on July 10 or 11.

Armenian side Alashkert will visit Celtic Park in the Champions League qualifiers (Jeff Holmes/PA)
Armenian side Alashkert will visit Celtic Park in the Champions League qualifiers (Jeff Holmes/PA)

By Gavin McCafferty, Press Association Sport

Celtic face a trip to Armenia to open their Champions League qualifying campaign.

Brendan Rodgers’ side were drawn against Alashkert in the first qualifying round as they seek to reach the group stages for a third consecutive year.

Alashkert, who knocked St Johnstone out of the Europa League three seasons ago, are due to play at home in the Armenian capital Yerevan in the first leg, although selections are subject to change.

Celtic begin the first of what they hope are four qualifying rounds on July 10-11 and will discover their potential second-round opponents later on Tuesday.

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Alashkert stunned St Johnstone in the Europa League in 2015 (Craig Watson/PA)

Northern Irish champions Crusaders were paired with Bulgarians Ludogorets, the highest-ranked team in the draw.

Ludogorets have twice reached the group stages in the past four seasons, playing Liverpool and Arsenal along the way.

The New Saints, who were seeded in the draw, will face Macedonian champions Shkendija.

Shkendija drew twice with Aberdeen in the Europa League three years ago, in their most recent European experience, with the Scots progressing on away goals.

Cork City were handed a tough encounter against Polish side Legia Warsaw, although they were given a boost when the losers of their tie were earmarked as automatic entrants to the third qualifying round of the Europa League.

The rest of the first-round losers will enter the second round of the Europa League qualifiers in a new champions path.

Press Association

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