Scotland’s champions will face a brutal EIGHT games in EIGHT weeks if they want to join Europe’s big guns next season.
Record Sport can reveal the limb-numbing itinerary which awaits the winners of Scotland’s Premiership in the Champions League qualification rounds in season 2018-19.
Celtic are red-hot favourites to clinch their seventh title on the spin and Brendan Rodgers’ men already knew they’d be facing an extra qualifying round next term – taking it up to four – after a new format was approved by UEFA, guaranteeing group places to the four highest-ranked domestic leagues of Spain, Germany, England and Italy.
But, with the World Cup next summer affecting club schedules, UEFA are ready to cram in the qualifiers.
Russia 2018 will end on July 15 and that has led to a later start to the club competitions.
The preliminary round for the Champions League qualifying starts on June 26, but this will only involve teams from Gibraltar, Andorra, San Marino and Kosovo.
This is also the same week where the Europa League qualifiers will start for the Scottish contingent.
Having won the last six titles, Celtic are overwhelming favourites to be the Scottish representatives in the main tournament and that club will enter the fray on July 10-11.
From there, there is no scheduled break or gap week with potential August international-match dates binned.
Second legs will be played on July 17-18 before the second qualifying…