Celtic to face Sarajevo in Champions League opener

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Celtic will take on Sarajevo in their opening Champions League qualifier (Peter Byrne/PA)

Celtic will open their Champions League qualifying campaign against Bosnian side Sarajevo.

Neil Lennon’s side will take on a side managed by former Hearts striker Husref Musemic in the first qualifying round as they seek to reach the group stages for a third time in four years.

The treble-treble winners are due to play at home in the first leg on July 9-10, although selections are subject to change.

The Hoops missed out on a place in last year’s group stage after being dumped out at the third qualifying round by Greek champions AEK Athens, although the team did progress to the last 32 of the Europa League under former boss Brendan Rodgers.

And UEFA have handed the Scottish champions the added safety net of a bye to the third qualifying round of the Europa League should they fail to get past Sarajevo.

Normally teams beaten in the opening Champions League qualifier would enter the lesser competition at the second round, but the loser of Celtic’s clash with the Bosnians will be spared action until the next round due to an odd number of teams entering the Europa League’s champions’ path.

Meanwhile, Northern Ireland champions Linfield will face Rosenborg of Norway in their opening Champions League qualifier, Ireland’s Dundalk have been drawn to face Latvians Riga and The New Saints of Wales will face the winners of the preliminary round.

Kosovans Feronikeli take on Lincoln Red Imps of Gibraltar, while San Marino’s Tre Penne meet FC Santa Coloma on June 25, with the two victors progressing to a play-off three days later that will decide who enters the competition proper.

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