Celtic braced for Braga showdown

CELTIC have been handed a testing tie against Portuguese league runners-up Sporting Braga in the third qualifying round of the Champions League.

The Glasgow giants, who finished second in last season’s Scottish Premier League, will play away in the first leg of the tie on July 27 or 28 with the return at Parkhead on August 3 or 4.

Victory would take Celtic through to join the likes of Tottenham, Sampdoria and Sevilla in the play-offs for a place in the group stages, which begin in September.

That play-off round is due to take place on August 17-18 and 24-25.

The first leg will be Celtic’s first competitive match of the new season, with their Scottish Premier League campaign not beginning until their trip to Inverness on August 14.

Meanwhile Roy Hodgson will launch his Liverpool career at Anfield after being handed an early home game in Europa League qualifying.

The Reds were yesterday drawn against the Rabotnicki of Macedonia or Armenian side FC Mika in the third qualifying round.

The first leg of the tie will take place on Merseyside on July 29 with the return taking place the following week.

Hodgson said: “We know we will get two tough games and it is up to us to get as much information as we can in the limited period of time we have. That is what we will do.”

Elsewhere in the draw, Hibernians were drawn away against Videoton of Hungary or Slovenia’s NK Maribor, who drew 1-1 in their first leg.


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