Aberdeen, Celtic, Inverness & St Johnstone's Euro opponents

By Brian McLauchlinBBC Scotland
Astra Giurgiu
Astra Giurgiu faced Celtic last season and will take on Inverness in the Europa League

Four Scottish clubs enter European competition in July with Aberdeen and St Johnstone first up in the first qualifying round of the Europa League.

Scottish Cup winners Inverness Caledonian Thistle enter in the next qualifying round, by which time Celtic will have started their Champions League second qualifying round tie.

Here, BBC Scotland profiles the European teams Scottish clubs will be facing next month.

Aberdeen's opponents Shkendija

Country: Macedonia

Formed: 1979

Honours: Macedonian First League champions (2010-11), Macedonian Super Cup winners (2011), Macedonian Second League champions (1995-96, 1999-2000, 2009-10)

Stadium capacity: 15,000

Shkendija qualified for the Europa League after finishing third in last season's Macedonian First League.

Aberdeen in training
Aberdeen are back in training ahead of their Europa League qualifiers

The club had a difficult beginning and in 1982 were disbanded by the then Yugoslavian government as they felt the strong Albanian influence within the club was a threat to a nationalist revival.

They were re-formed in 1992 and have continually progressed through the ranks to the top tier.

Last season's top scorer was Croatian striker Bojan Vrucina with 18 goals.

St Johnstone's opponents Alashkert

Country: Armenia

Formed: 1990 (disbanded on two occasions and returned to Armenian league football in 2011)

Stadium capacity: 6,850

Alashkert qualified for the Europa League by finishing fourth in last season's Armenian Premier League.

The first leg between Alashkert and St Johnstone will be played at the Vazgen Sargsyan Republican Stadium, which is the home of the Armenia national team with a capacity of 14,403.

Vazgen Sargsyan Republican Stadium
Armenia's national stadium will host Alashkert v St Johnstone

This will be the first venture into European football for Alashkert and the vast majority of their squad are home-grown players with a couple of exceptions being defender Sekou Mamadou Fofana from Mali and Darko Vučić, a midfielder from Montenegro.

The club is owned by local businessman Bagrat Navoyan but have had difficulty in attracting fans with crowds of only a few hundred attending games last term.

Celtic's opponents Stjarnan

Country: Iceland

Formed: 1960

Honours: Urvalsdeild champions (2014), Iceland Super Cup winners (2015)

Stadium capacity: 1,000

Last season was Stjarnan's first European campaign and proved to be relatively successful with wins over Bangor City (8-0 on aggregate), Motherwell (5-4 agg) and Lech Poznan (1-0 agg) in the Europa League.

Stjarnan captain Michael Praest
Captain Michael Praest helped Stjarnan overcome Motherwell last season

They eventually they went out to Italian giants Inter Milan, losing 3-0 at home and 6-0 away.

The club gained worldwide fame when their elaborate goal celebrations, including highly choreographed depictions of landing a fish, diving, a human toilet and a human bicycle were publicised online and on television.

Goalkeeper Gunner Neilsen, 28, will be familiar to Scottish fans having spent two seasons at Motherwell.

Defending their 2014 title win, Stjarnan currently sit sixth in their league with 12 points from nine games played.

Inverness CT's opponents Astra Giurgiu

Country: Romania

Formed: 1921

Stadium capacity: 8,500

Honours: Liga 2 champions (1997-98), Cupa Romaniei winners (2013-14), Supercupa Romaniei (2014)

Astra qualified for the Europa League by finishing third in Liga 1. This is their third successive season in the Europa League.

Astra Giurgiu midfielder Takayuki Seto
Japanese midfielder Takayuki Seto is a regular in the Astra side

Last season they made the group stages for the first time and finished in fourth place behind winners Red Bull Salzburg with Celtic and Dinamo Zagreb filling second and third positions. They did take a notable scalp in the qualifying stages by knocking out Lyon on away goals.

The club is based in the town of Giurgiu in the south of Romania, close to the border with Bulgaria.

Whilst the squad is dominated by home-grown talent they also have three Brazilians, two from Ivory Coast, a Japanese player and a Zambian in their ranks.

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