SPOILER alert. Celtic will never again win the European Cup.

UEFA in its evil wisdom has done it's worst to ensure clubs from certain countries still can make an awful lot of money from just being in the competition, as long as they know picking up silverware is for those financially backed by Arabs and Americans. Not for them.

In Champions League terms, Scotland’s best team and biggest club at this moment in time, is akin to the professional tour golfer who stands on the first tee of The Open knowing that just making the cut and finishing within 15 shots of the winner is going to be his biggest pay day of the year.

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When you thrown in a couple of top ten finishes here and there over a season, said player can swing their way across a good part of the globe well un the radar and earn a seriously decent living. Just getting that card is the key. A good result here and there, even if the leaderboard is not troubled by their name, and a bang-average player can retire with a few million in the bank.

If they want to feel the excitement of a back stretch with a win possible, all they need to do is go down a few levels where their skill, temperament and experience tends to be too much for the rest, no matter how much the opposition has improved.

Celtic’s record of two group stages in the Champions League, once finishing third, and a second place in their Europa League group last season is an excellent return over the last three years. There was more pain than pleasure once the real stuff began, but when something like £60m – it’s probably been more – is coming in then a couple of thrashings are shrugged off easily enough.

Especially when back home, on the domestic tour so to speak, nine trophies out of nine were won.

When the Brendan Rodgers (with a bit of Neil Lennon) era is analysed years from now, that Celtic stayed ahead of the rest and never lost a cup tie while competing in Europe, and more than once given the runaround, will be rightly seen as one of the great achievements by this group.

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Celtic had to be in Europe. They also had to win at home. They did both while selling their best players.

But that was then, and this is now.

Let’s play devil’s advocate. Celtic reach the Champions League this season (and next) which is of couse where players want to be, and certainly the directors, but the extra games, unavoidable injuries, key players missing out, means that nine and ten in a row don’t happen.

Lennon’s squad will this season, in theory, take on a stronger Rangers, Aberdeen and Hibernian, while Hearts and Kilmarnock are more difficult to gauge, which with more games – and that means more problems – and that would see Celtic drop points, giving any of the teams mentioned a chance to mount a challenge – which Rangers did for a period last season.

And Lennon will probably be without Kieran Tierney who is Celtic’s best player.

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Would the supporters accept a mediocre return in Europe, or even downright failure to get through the qualifiers, if it means as little risk as possible would be taken to ensure history is made?

My guess is they would. It’s why I believe this season, and then next if nine in a row is clinched, domestic football is far, far more important for Celtic than anything they can do in even the Champions League.

It’s not as if they need the money. There is £40m in the bank, the sale of Tierney and Olivier Ntcham could double that tally, which is a thought, season tickets are all sold as are every VIP seat and box according to the club website.

Celtic could afford, in every sense of the word, two seasons of European failure if the became ten in a row record holders. What a strange situation for Lennon to deal with.

Essentially, he has been asked to lead the club to football history by playing better football with, at the moment, a less talented squad, while trying to give Johnny Foreigner a bloody nose as well.

Something will have to give and that something is Europe.

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Celtic fly to Bosnia today and will surely get past FK Sarajevo and then it’s either Estonia’s Nõmme Kalju or Shkëndija of Macedonia.

Sure, defeat at any stage over the next four rounds would hurt but, for once, if there was no European football at all, there would a lot of supporters who this time would be forgiving.

Personally, I believe Celtic should always be aiming to get as far in Europe as possible. A kind draw may see them in the Champions League group stage again but being honest, the Europa League is where this team belong, which isn't a criticism.

Every season, like the journeyman golfer, Celtic take part in one of the two European competitions. Their last great run came in 2004, a UEFA Cup quarter-final, but the team have failed to win a knock-out tie after Christmas since then.

Lennon is a more pragmatic coach than Rodgers. He has a proven record of getting wins and draws from games his predecessor did poorly in.

Ach, if nothing else it will be a fun watch.

If Rangers look as if they can win the league, would Lennon find himself in the Pythonesque situation of considering resting players for the Bernabeu because Dingwall on the Sunday is a far bigger game.

Ah, but the problem with that is that Todd Hamilton, a nobody how only got his tour card at the age of 38, won The Open in 2004.