For St Johnstone supporters desperate to find out who their double-winning heroes will face in the Europa League third qualifying round, the wait is almost over. The draw takes place on Monday, July 19 at noon.
The Saintees’ Scottish Cup triumph over Hibs ensured they will take part in continental competition for the sixth time in the last nine years — a staggering achievement in itself.
Can this remarkable, history-making outfit go one step further and reach the group stages? Or perhaps a run in the new Europa Conference League lies ahead. This is everything you need to know about the 2021/22 continental campaign.
When will St Johnstone’s campaign start?
Callum Davidson’s men enter the Europa League in the third qualifying round, joining the ‘Main Path’ along with fellow seeded clubs Jablonec and Anorthosis Famagusta.
The ties will take place on August 5 and 12.
And who could they draw?
It is down to just four potential opponents.
St Johnstone will face one of two defeated sides from the Champions League second qualifying round ‘League Path’.
The losers of either Galatasaray (TUR) versus PSV Eindhoven (NED) or Sparta Prague (CZE) against Rapid Wien (AUT) will visit McDiarmid Park.
Who’s next for the Saintees if they progress?
Next up would be the playoff round. The draw takes place on August before the games on August 19 and 26.
St Johnstone would enter the ‘Priority 4’ pot and would definitely face a side from the ‘Priority 1’ pot. Those teams are AZ Alkmaar (NED), Fenerbahce (TUR), Zorya Luhansk (UKR), Royal Antwerp (BEL), Sturm Graz (AUT) and Randers (DEN).
However, those potential foes will be altered depending who they are paired with in the third qualifying round due to clubs from the same nations being prohibited from facing each other.
For example, if the Saints draw PSV/Galatasaray, they would be unable to draw either AZ Alkmaar or Fenerbahce in the playoff round due to the possibility of an all-Dutch or all-Turkish showdown.
Should the Perth Saints progress through the playoff round, they would be in the promised land of the Europa League group stage.
However, even if they were knocked out at this stage, they would drop into the Europa Conference League group phase and would be guaranteed continental football until Christmas — and a windfall of around £3 million.
What if they are knocked out in the Europa League third qualifying round?
There is still a safety net for the Saintees if they fall at their first hurdle.
St Johnstone would drop into the playoff round of the Europa Conference League, joining 33 other clubs.
The 34 sides will be divided into smaller groups prior to the draw taking place.
Teams assured of their place in this stage in include Jose Mourinho’s Roma (ITA), Tottenham Hotspur (ENG) and Villarreal (ESP).
If St Johnstone navigate this tie, they will qualify for the first ever Europa Conference League group stage. Should they lose, their European adventure is over.