This midweek the Europa League 2021/22 group stage final draw was completed. The result might not be seemingly good for two Scottish best teams, Glasgow Rangers and Celtic are seeded in the tough groups. They are likely to have a challenging campaigns this season considering their difficult prospective opponents at the preliminary round.
Steven Gerrard's side, who was expected to make their return to UEFA Champions League this season, failed already in the third qualifying round after being knocked out by Malmoe FF. They have to go down and play in this second tier continental competition again. This time, James Tavernier and Co are competing against Olympique Lyon, the Czech Sparta Prague and Denmark Champion, Brondby for two places on the top of group A. Gers' campaign should be easy on the paper but considering their unimpressive results lately, including the loss to Malmoe and the domestic fixture put them in doubt. Unless Steven Gerrard can bounce back from their disappointing start, Rangers would not be able to go no further than the early knock out stage.
Meanwhile, Celtic is even grouped in a tougher one. The Bhoys' contenders in group G are The 1988 champions Bayer Leverkusen, Hungary champion Ferencvaros and the Spanish side, Real Betis. Celtic's form lately, on the other hand, seems to give the slight hope towards Angel Postecoglu's campaign in the continent. The arrival of Japanese international forward, Kyogo Furuhashi seems to be able to lift up the fans' expectation to improve their campaign in Europa League.
Here is the list of all groups in Europa League this season:
Group A: Olympique Lyonnais, Rangers, Sparta Prague, Brondby
Group B: AS Monaco, PSV Eindhoven, Real Sociedad, Sturm Graz
Group C: Napoli, Leicester City, Spartak Moscow, Legia Warsaw
Group D: Olympiakos Piraeus, Eintracht Frankfurt, Fenerbahce, Royal Antwerp
Group E: Lazio, Lokomotiv Moscow, Olympique de Marseille, Galatasaray
Group F: Braga, Red Star Belgrade, Ludogorets, Midtjylland
Group G: Bayer Leverkusen, Celtic, Real Betis, Ferencvaros
Group H: Dinamo Zagreb, Genk, West Ham United, Rapid Vienna
These Glasgow duo are Scotland's number one hope for their pride and glory in European competitions. Both sides have won one continental trophy so far. Rangers clinched it in UEFA Cup Winners Cup 1972 after beating Dynamo Moscow 3-2 in Camp Nou, while Celtic even won a more competitive one, UEFA Champions League 1967, after thumping Inter Milan 2-1 in Lisbon final.
In Europa League history or under the old name, UEFA Cup and Cup Winners Cup, these duo have reached finals on several other occasions. Gers did it in 1961,1967 and the most recent one 2008. They were beaten by Fiorentina, Bayern Munich and Zenit St.Petersburg respectively. Celtic only managed to progress to the final once, in 2003. Back then Henrik Larsson and Co suffered a 2-3 loss from Jose Mourinho's FC Porto.
Matchday one is scheduled on the 16th of September and the final will be held in Estadio Ramon Sanchez Pizjuan on May 18. It might be a bit far fetched to hope for Old Firm derby in the final, but it did happen, it would be a wonderful season for Scottish football and the city of Glasgow.