THE hard work starts now. After negotiating the preliminary qualifying rounds of the European qualifers, Celtic and Rangers' Europa League group stage campaigns will begin on Thursday evening.

Celtic travel to Brittany to face French Cup holders Stade Rennais this week, while Rangers host Feyenoord in their Group G opener. Both of Scotland's European representatives will be focusing on what they can do on the pitch to find a way through to the knockout stages but off the park, the Europa League has the potential to be highly lucrative for each club's bank balance.

Rangers have already made around £3.3 million in prize money alone from their European run so far this season, while Celtic have banked around £3.7 million.

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In the group stages, clubs are awarded €570,000 (around £505,000) by UEFA for each win they record and a further €190,000 (around £168,000) for each draw.

On top of that, group winners are given €1 million (£887,000) for topping their section while runners-up will receive €500,000 (£444,000) for qualifying for the knockout stages.

So, how much can Celtic and Rangers realistically expect to make? Obviously, we can't say for sure as this is dependant on performances, but we can look at how each side fared in last year's competition to give us an idea of what fans can expect.

Last season, Rangers recorded one win and three draws in the group stages: if Gerrard could repeat that feat this time around, the Ibrox club would be awarded just over £1 million for their results. If Rangers were to achieve the same results this time around - and fail to qualify from their group - that would bring the total prize money that the club accrued from this year's Europa League to around £4.3 million.

Celtic, meanwhile, picked up three wins and three defeats in their six group stage fixtures. If Neil Lennon's side did the same again this year, then Celtic would bank just over £1.5 million. Additionally, if the Scottish champions were to finish as runner-up again, that would bring the total group stage prize money just shy of £2 million. Celtic have already raised around £3.7 million from this year's European qualifiers, so the grand total would be the best part of £5.7 million in prize money alone.

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Should Celtic or Rangers make it to the last 32, they would receive upwards of £1 million for each knockout round they successfully manage to negotiate.

Of course, there are further revenues that are not accounted for here. These figures are prize money alone and do not include the matchday or TV revenue.